Cars/ First-drive/ An Evolutionary Machine | Mercedes GLC 2023 | First Drive Review

An Evolutionary Machine | Mercedes GLC 2023 | First Drive Review

A demand so high Mercedes had to put a stop to selling this car. A car which was exceptional in almost everything. A potential so strong it shook the market right away.


Effortless Powertrain, Comfort, Sophisticated design


Steering could be more precise


We were in Hampi to get our hands on the New GLC 2023, a place with a lot of history and heritage, just like how the brand does. Anywhere I looked, I could see the monuments and stone structures, leaving me amazed and wondering about the history, and again just like that, anywhere I looked inside the car, I could see several upgrades. 

While driving around the historic city, the car just felt so easy to drive. The powertrain makes it a smooth drive; it comes in 2 variants. I was driving the GLC 300 4MATIC petrol variant, while you also get the GLC 220d 4MATIC diesel variant. Churning out 258hp and 197hp, producing 400 Nm and 440 Nm of torque, respectively, in both variants. The car also gets a boost of 200 Nm with 45kW of power, more than the outgoing GLC. Both variants come with the 48V Integrated Starter Generator Technology (ISG), which gives out more +17kW power. Even after the 31% increase in power in the GLC 300, Mercedes has improved the fuel efficiency effectively by 15%, brought it up to 14.7km/l, and reduced the CO2 emissions by 15%.

You also get four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sports and Individual. Making individual mode my favourite as I can personalise it according to my driving style and preferences. I didn't expect certain car upgrades, and they surprised me! The 9G TRONIC gearbox, seen in the AMG lineup, usually now comes as standard in the GLC and knowing how reliable and fast it makes the GLC package for the customers much more enjoyable. The power buildup of the car is solid for a Mid-size SUV, and I love that as you won't feel like you are driving an SUV, but at the same time, all passengers are sitting comfortably in a perfect balance. The mild-hybrid setup makes the throttle response fast yet easy-going, keeping in mind that it's an SUV meant for families; this will add excitement to the package. 

Although you do not get the air suspensions, comparing it to its predecessor, whether driving at high speeds, taking sharp turns, or simply driving on Indian roads, the car sticks to the ground perfectly. The steering isn't as athletic as I would have liked, but it is decently precise, complementing the purpose of the car, but it feels very light to manoeuvre through the traffic. Mercedes took in the inputs about the outgoing GLC and made the changes for this one. You won't feel the car moving too much around the curves or driving on the highways. 

When I talk about comfortable driving, you will also find a lot of electronic adjustments for the steering wheel and the seat, making it possible for anyone and everyone to drive it according to the seating positions and once we find the perfect position, you will surely enjoy the sheer driving experience of this car. The steering wheel also has paddle shifters, which gets my approval for the vehicle right there. What I do not like is the touch-sensitive screen on the steering wheel; it distracts me and forces me to constantly keep an eye out so that I do not accidentally touch anything and activate some feature or setting. 

The GLC 2023 also has two engaging and exciting features: The transparent bonnet and the off-road engineering package. Personally, I like both of them as it makes the driver feel way more involved while driving. The transparent bonnet is an effective live video feed of what's below the car, especially when you have gone on an off-road adventure. You can also see the exact tyre position view up to the speed of 8km/hr. The off-road package gives the car an additional ground clearance of 20mm, and all the information is displayed on the centre display and instrument cluster. It also comes with downhill Speed Regulation. I would undoubtedly be one to use both these features while I need to go on a break between my race season. 

TopGear Magazine July 2024