Tested: This 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Is as Quick as a Mustang

We test Mercedes’ updated-for-2020 small luxury SUV

Strange, but true: A 255-hp Mercedes small luxury SUV could match a 310-hp Mustang muscle car in a drag race. OK, speed isn't the top priority of 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 buyers, but clearly this 2017 SUV of the Year still has tricks up its automotive sleeve. In fact, the updated-for-2020 GLC 300 smokes all but one of its competitors to 60 mph in MotorTrend testing. That's cool, but can the GLC keep up with the class in more important luxury SUV metrics?

The GLC may look the same as it always has, but Mercedes' best-selling model enters 2020 with minor visual updates, standard LED headlights, a 10.3-inch infotainment screen on every model, and 14 more horsepower. We never felt the pre-update GLC needed more power, but the new 2020 model feels responsive even when you're not testing its 5.4-second 0-60 time. As we noted in our First Drive, that's not just true from a stop but with midrange power, too. The 2020 GLC 300 is the latest in a growing list of base-engine cars that makes leaping to a more powerful model harder to justify. The GLC 43 and GLC 63 may entice some, but the GLC 300 will satisfy most leadfooted drivers even if it doesn't sound all that appealing.

And that brings us to one of the 2020 GLC 300's performance issues. Every now and then, the Mercedes would emit an unrefined grumbling noise during acceleration at low speeds. Just like the turbo-fours of a few competitors, the GLC 300's engine can be a little clattery at idle, as well—at one point, my husband asked if the Mercedes was a diesel.

Hard to argue with that swift acceleration, however, or its superb panic-braking test results. Braking from 60 mph in just 110 feet, the 2020 GLC 300 stops short of its competition—and we mean that in the best possible way. Associate road test editor Erick Ayapana noted that the GLC had good brake feel and decent bite from its summer tires.

Those tires helped provide a competitive figure-eight time of 26.4 seconds at 0.64 g (average), too. Unique to MotorTrend, the figure-eight course measures limit cornering, braking, and acceleration plus the transitions in between. After road test editor Chris Walton tore around the course, he complimented how stable and trustworthy the GLC was under braking but said he could have used more feedback from the steering. Those impressions hold true on the street, but those seeking a more luxurious experience may appreciate the subtle sense of isolation it provides.

On the track, Walton said the GLC's AWD system does a great job of putting the power to the pavement as you're exiting a turn. When driven on a closed course with the right steering input, he found that this luxury SUV can be coaxed into a "crazy controlled four-wheel drift."


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Automotive Magazine: Tested: This 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Is as Quick as a Mustang
Tested: This 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Is as Quick as a Mustang
We test Mercedes’ updated-for-2020 small luxury SUV
Automotive Magazine
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