I’ve reviewed my fair share of battery-electric vehicles for T3 and while I truly love what they represent, there’s no denying that right now, at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, plug-in hybrids are more appealing to most people. They offer the best of both worlds: in town they run in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the range of the combustion engine.
Now, Mercedes is one of the market leaders when it comes to pure electric vehicles, with a range of class-leading EV models. I’ve driven many of them, from the EQS to the EQE and EQB and think they’re all fantastic vehicles, but the German brand is also investing heavily in hybrid cars.
The latest hybrid model, the Mercedes GLC 300 e, is now on its third generation and promises more power, more range, and more fun. I recently had the chance to get behind the wheel of the new hybrid GLC - here are my initial thoughts…
The biggest changes to the GLC are under the bonnet. There are a number of innovations in the powertrain and gearbox that have improved the power output, torque and efficiency.
It means the 2.0-litre petrol engine can generate 211 hp and 350 Nm, with an additional 122 hp available from the electric motor. That’s good for a 0-62 mph time of 6.8 seconds.
In terms of efficiency, the 13.5 kWh battery helps the GLC achieve 117.7 combined mpg and emissions of just 59 g/km of CO2. It has an all-electric range of up to 30 miles, which is perfect for shorter journeys.
To make the vehicle more efficient overall, the intelligent, route-based operating strategy activates the electric driving mode where it is most appropriate for the route. For example, it takes into account navigation data, topography, speed limits and the traffic conditions for the entire journey.
I was seriously impressed with how refined the hybrid GLC felt while driving around, and even found it difficult to distinguish when the petrol motor kicked in.
The high level of refinement is carried inside, the model offers typical Mercedes levels of comfort and functionality. The interior has been updated to appear more modern, minimal, and spacious. It feels like a highly versatile premium SUV, but that's what you'd expect, as the GLC 300 e starts at £49,687.
At the heart of the GLC's cabin is the intuitive Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system. It's one of the most advanced out there and fairly intuitive. It now features a large portrait display, which is clear and easy to use while driving.
In terms of exterior design, very little has changed to the untrained eye. That’s no bad thing though, as the distinctive mix of off-road and sporty looks just seems to work. One change is that the GLC now has LED High Performance headlamps as standard. Their contours have become smaller and flatter, making the torch-like outline of the daytime driving lights even more prominent, and the typical Mercedes-Benz light signature even more recognisable.
Overall, the GLC 300 e is an excellent update and has become one of the most capable and versatile luxury SUVs out there.