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[Behind the Wheel] Mercedes-Benz aims to bolster SUV lineup with facelift GLC

Mercedes-Benz’s new GLC 300 4matic Coupe (Mercedes-Benz Korea)
Mercedes-Benz’s new GLC 300 4matic Coupe (Mercedes-Benz Korea)

Mercedes-Benz has consistently commanded the top position in the South Korean imported vehicles market.

Last year alone, it sold 78,133 units, led by its flagship sedan series E-Class. Compared to sedans, the German luxury automaker’s sport utility vehicles had taken a back seat.

To expand its clout in the promising SUV sector, the automaker began bolstering its SUV lineup early this year, bringing back a facelifted version of the GLC compact SUV after four years.

The GLC is one of Mercedes-Benz’s bestselling SUVs. A total of 24,260 units have been sold since the model was introduced here in 2016.

The Korea Herald had a chance to test drive the new GLC 300 4matic Coupe on a 130-kilometer route from Gangnam in Seoul to Gapyeong in Gyeonggi Province on Jan. 22

The interior of the compact SUV has dramatically changed, with the introduction of a 12.3-inch digital dashboard and a 10.25-inch touch screen in the center of the first row. The digital dashboard has three different design layouts, and a driver can select ambience light from 64 color options.

Despite the bigger screen and enhanced graphic quality, the navigation system was difficult to use. This reporter personally found it difficult to read the map while driving, as the routes appeared visually less intuitive.

On the other hand, the voice recognition function MBUX, which activates when a driver says, “Hey, Mercedes,” was useful while driving. Without clicking a single button, a driver can control the temperature inside the car and check the weather outside via voice commands.

Such voice recognition technology was developed by Mercedes-Benz Korea’s local research and development team, according to the carmaker. 

Mercedes-Benz’s new GLC 300 4matic Coupe (Mercedes-Benz Korea)
Mercedes-Benz’s new GLC 300 4matic Coupe (Mercedes-Benz Korea)

While driving on the highway, the car picked up speed immediately and smoothly, running on a four-cylinder turbo charger gasoline engine and nine-speed automatic transmission, which exerts up to 258 horsepower and maximum torque of 37.7 kilogram meters.

Although the acceleration and brake pedals were both responsive, it felt a bit jiggly on the bumpy road due to the height of the vehicle’s body.

Despite high driving performance, the driving assist function was disappointing. The model used for the test drive was the standard model only equipped with lane keeping assist. A beeping sound was emitted when this reporter drove outside the lane, but the function did not bring the car back into the lane.

According to the carmaker, the full driving assistance package is only available in the premium model, to give customers more options depending on their preference.

The price of the standard version of the new GLC 300 4matic begins from 72.2 million won ($61,036) and the coupe version from 76.5 million won. The premium model costs about 7 million won more.

By Kim Da-sol (

The Korea Herald ratings

Design: 3 stars
Fuel economy: 3 stars
Safety: 3 stars
Price: 3 stars

Overall: 12 stars