For around 2,000 euros more, Mercedes offers the SUV-coupe version of the GLC, which comes with the Avantgarde Interior and Exterior package standard. Mercedes GLC 300 e 4Matic Plug-In Hybrid with 313 PS in test.
After testing the new top PHEV version of the Mercedes GLC 400 e 4Matic with 381 ps in the new GLC in April, we have now got to grips with the entry-level PHEV version in the new generation GLC Coupe. But PHEV entry level is a misnomer because you can’t call a model that delivers over 300 PS and accelerates from 0 to 62 mph (0-100 kph) in just 6.7 seconds an entry-level variant.
Mercedes has expanded the range of PHEV versions to offer the lowest-emission models possible. As with the GLC, the GLC Coupe can be configured with three PHEV systems: the GLC 300 e 4 Matic, the GLC 400 e 4Matic, and the GLC 300 de 4Matic (a combination of diesel and electric).
Powerful entry-level PHEV
The GLE 300 e 4Matic’s powertrain is similar to that of the GLC 400 e 4Matic: the 2-liter turbo engine with 204 PS instead of 252 PS is mated to a 136 PS electric motor located between the ICE engine and the 9-speed automatic transmission, resulting in a total of 313 PS and 550 Nm instead of 381 PS and 650 Nm in the GLC 400 e 4Matic. But the performance differences aren’t spectacular, and only those who want top-end performance will find it worth paying an extra 3,500 euro for the 400 e 4Matic upgrade.
More important for these PHEV models are efficiency and electric range, and in this case, all PHEV versions of the GLC Coupe come with the new larger battery, with a net capacity of 23.4 kWh (31.2 kWh gross), giving the GLC 300 e 4Matic a record WLTP electric range of 130 km. And the promises are not far from reality, as with the battery charged to 84%, the range was 94 km (see photo). You don’t have to worry about the high battery capacity because Mercedes offers optional (595 euro) DC fast charging, which allows charging battery in only 30 minutes. It’s one of the few manufacturers to offer this option, which allows the battery to be charged at public charging stations just like a pure electric model, and not only at home overnight.
Unlike the GLC, the GLC Coupe comes standard with the Avantgarde Exterior and Interior Line, which features a sports suspension. That’s why the GLC Coupe has a firmer suspension that generates even less roll in corners. The reverse is that the GLC Coupe feels more uncomfortable than the GLC when going over short bumps or channel covers. The good news is that you can order the comfort suspension at no cost.
However, PHEV versions come standard with air suspension on the rear axle with automatic ground clearance adjustment due to the large weight of the battery pressing on the rear axle. The optional Technology package with all-wheel air suspension and 4.5-degree steering angle all-wheel steering (3320 euro) is available, but for a better compromise between comfort and road holding, the simple free option for comfort suspension is the best solution.
The GLC 300 e 4Matic starts in Hybrid mode, and if there is enough energy in the battery, it will drive in electric mode if the accelerator is not push hard and up to 140 km/h. In Sport mode, the battery charges gently while driving, and if you want to conserve battery energy, you have B mode. There’s also an Off-road mode, that favours electric driving if there’s enough energy in the battery. The driver also has four power levels recovery settings, adjustable from the paddles behind the steering wheel, with the most energetic setting recovering up to 100 kW.
Spacious in the back
Mercedes has achieved a better compromise between design and interior height in the rear compared to the previous generation. The roof slopes more smoothly to the rear and continues with a more sloping rear window, whereas in the old model, the roof extended further back, and the rear window was smaller and closer to vertical. So from the profile, the GLC Coupe looks like a traditional coupe, with a pleasing line.
To solve the rear headroom problem, Mercedes has cut two recesses in the roof, and as long as only two people sit in the back, headroom is generous, even if you’re over six feet (1.8 meters) tall. As with the GLC, the PHEV version’s trunk volume is smaller because the battery is placed under the trunk floor, above the rear deck. It’s just 390 litres compared to 545 litres, but the boot shape is regular, with no step from the old generation. Compared to the E-Class, there’s still not enough space under the boot floor to store cables, but Mercedes offers two stylish cable bags.
A SUV-coupe with sleek lines, impressive electric range, and good dynamics despite being 415kg heavier than the GLC 200 4Matic. The 2,000 euro difference is justified not only by the coupe shape, but also by the Avantgarde line offered as standard. For a better compromise, it’s worth choosing the comfort suspension instead of the sport suspension, which is standard with the Avantgarde Line.