Test drive: Mercedes GLC 400 e, Smarter with Plug-in (2023)

Test drive: Mercedes GLC 400 e, Smarter with Plug-in (2023)

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the highly anticipated second-generation GLC, and to cater to the growing demand for eco-friendly vehicles, the entire lineup now includes plug-in hybrid options. With a total of three powertrain variants – two petrol and one diesel – the GLC is set to impress with its advanced electronic controls and captivating design. Let’s explore the remarkable features and upgrades that make the new Mercedes GLC a standout choice in the SUV segment.

Exterior Design: The new GLC embraces a refreshed exterior design that exudes sophistication and sportiness. As the flagship model of the plug-in hybrid range, the GLC 400 e is exclusively available in the dynamic AMG Line trim. This variant showcases body-colored accents instead of chrome on the bumpers and offers sportier wheel options, starting from 19 inches. A striking feature is the AMG Line radiator grille, adorned with miniature versions of the iconic Mercedes Star, creating a captivating visual impression.

While the GLC retains its recognizable identity, its updated lines present a logical evolution from its predecessor. Notable changes include a gentle upward slope of the beltline, highlighting its modern appeal, and sleek light blocks that establish a clear connection to the C-Class lineage. The new generation of GLC measures 4.72 meters in length, which is almost 6 centimeters longer than its predecessor. A minor increase of 1.5 centimeters has been allocated to the wheelbase, now resting on the new MRA2 platform with a total length of 2,888 millimeters. The overall height remains consistent at 1.64 meters, maintaining the vehicle’s balanced proportions.

Interior Features: Stepping inside the GLC, it becomes evident that the cabin draws inspiration from the acclaimed C-Class. The centerpiece is the central 11.9-inch touchscreen, seamlessly integrating controls for the cutting-edge MBUX infotainment and climate systems. This intuitive interface can be effortlessly operated using highly successful voice control, ensuring drivers can stay focused on the road ahead. The touchscreen is complemented by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster that can be enhanced further with an optional head-up display, providing drivers with vital information at a glance.

Despite minimal changes in the wheelbase of the new generation GLC, the interior is a testament to Mercedes’ commitment to luxury and refinement. The spaciousness and attention to detail create an inviting ambiance for occupants. However, it is worth noting that the trunk space is slightly compromised due to the large battery of the GLC 400 e. With a capacity of 470 liters when the rear seat is upright and 1,520 liters when the backrest is folded down, it offers approximately 150 liters less than its combustion engine counterparts. While this compromise is understandable, some improvements could be made to enhance the practicality of the storage area.

With the introduction of the second-generation GLC, Mercedes-Benz showcases its commitment to sustainable mobility. The incorporation of plug-in hybrid powertrains across the entire GLC lineup demonstrates the brand’s dedication to meet evolving customer demands. The stylish exterior design, combined with the luxurious and technologically advanced interior, positions the new GLC as a remarkable contender in the SUV segment. Although the trunk space might leave some desiring more, the overall package of the Mercedes GLC is poised to captivate discerning drivers who prioritize efficiency without compromising on style and performance.

Mercedes GLC 400 e (2023) interior

The GLC 400e, a highly sought-after power hybrid plugin, is now in the spotlight. Boasting an identical combustion engine, electric motor, and battery as its counterpart, the GLC 300e, it sets itself apart with a slightly reduced power output from its petrol engine, specifically at 252 horsepower.

Paired with the impressive 100 kW (136 hp) electric motor, the combined system power reaches an outstanding 381 horsepower. As a result, this dynamic powerhouse achieves a remarkable sprint to 100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 237 km/h. However, when relying solely on electric power, the maximum speed is electronically limited to 140 km/h.

The GLC 400e offers a remarkable capability of fully electric driving. This is made possible by its substantial battery capacity of 31.2 kWh, translating to an estimated electric driving range of 118 to 130 kilometers according to the WLTP standard.

Although these figures are currently theoretical, it is worth noting, especially for the attentive accountants, that the average fuel consumption ranges from 0.5 to 0.6 liters per 100 kilometers, with an average CO2 emission level of 12 to 15 grams per kilometer. Charging the vehicle through the standard three-phase charging system at 11 kW is possible, while the optional 60 kW fast charging feature further enhances charging convenience.

Mercedes GLC 400 e (2023) boat

Driving behavior

Charging becomes imperative for the GLC 400 e, incidentally. When approached diligently – as we meticulously tested during our trial week – and coupled with astute driving techniques, the majority of your journeys can be accomplished using electric power, thus resulting in reduced fuel consumption. With an outstanding average consumption of merely 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers, we achieved a remarkable feat considering this 2.4-ton SUV runs on gasoline.

However, the weight of 2.4 tons compromises the paramount comfort that the GLC prioritizes. Despite the inclusion of standard air suspension on the rear axle in plug-in hybrids, it struggles to conceal the consequences of the considerable mass pressing down on the road. Has a reduced battery size, resulting in less weight, made a difference? Certainly, though it comes at the expense of a diminished driving range.

Mercedes GLC 400 e (2023) dynamic, front view


Mercedes is set to introduce a fully-fledged AMG variant of its latest GLC model, but concurrently, the GLC 400 e and the GLC 300 in its AMG Line configuration (diesel hybrid) claim the top spots in terms of pricing. The GLC 400 e will require a substantial investment of 84,095 euros. It’s worth noting that the GLC 400 e is exclusively offered in the AMG Line version. On the other hand, if you’re seeking a less potent yet more commercially-oriented option, the GLC 300 e in its standard Line Business trim can be obtained for a reduced price, approximately 9,000 euros lower.

Taking a glance at the competition, the BMW X3 emerges as a viable alternative. It solely comes as a plug-in hybrid under the xDrive30e denomination, accounting for its comparably modest power output and subsequently, its attractive price point of 67,650 euros. Audi’s offering, the Q5 TFSI e, comes with an even lower price tag of 64,240 euros, while the Volvo XC60 T6 AWD Recharge stands at an intermediate position with a cost of 65,950 euros.

Mercedes GLC 400 e (2023) powerful, rear view


The Mercedes GLC 400 e emerges as a captivating plug-in hybrid, seamlessly intertwining an enticing financial proposition with an extensive electric range, resulting in commendably low fuel consumption. The German automaker employs a clever strategy, employing a generous battery pack that does impact trunk capacity and driving comfort. Nevertheless, the second-generation GLC builds upon its predecessor’s success, showcasing a logical evolution that leaves no room for shortcomings; rather, it delivers an exemplary driving experience.

The allure of the Mercedes GLC 400 e lies in its ability to harmoniously blend sustainable efficiency with impeccable performance. By ingeniously incorporating a substantial battery, Mercedes maximizes the potential for electric operation, significantly reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. This ingenious approach positions the GLC 400 e at the forefront of environmentally conscious mobility solutions, without compromising on the brand’s renowned luxury and driving dynamics.

The GLC’s second generation effortlessly embodies Mercedes’ commitment to continuous improvement, seamlessly refining the winning formula established by its predecessor. The evolutionary design language strikes a harmonious balance between contemporary elegance and timeless appeal. Every line and curve contribute to its aerodynamic prowess, simultaneously enhancing efficiency and delivering a captivating visual statement.

Inside the cabin, an oasis of sophistication awaits. Luxurious materials and meticulous craftsmanship envelop the occupants, showcasing Mercedes’ unwavering dedication to creating a sublime driving environment. Cutting-edge technology seamlessly integrates into the interior, providing an intuitive user experience and ensuring connectivity and convenience are effortlessly accessible.

While the installation of a sizeable battery in the GLC 400 e necessitates some compromise in terms of trunk space and driving comfort, these trade-offs are overshadowed by the benefits of extended electric range and reduced fuel consumption. This calculated sacrifice showcases Mercedes’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of sustainable mobility, offering drivers an opportunity to contribute to a greener future without compromising on the pleasures of driving a premium vehicle.


  • Engine: 2.0 four-cylinder turbo petrol + electric motor
  • Power: 381 hp
  • Torque: 650 Nm
  • Transmission: 9-speed automatic, 4×4
  • 0-100 km/h: 5.6 sec
  • Top speed: 237 km/h
  • Trunk volume: 470 – 1,520 l
  • Battery capacity: 31.2 kWh
  • Electric driving range: 118 – 130 km (WLTP)
  • Consumption: 4.5 l/100 km (measured)
  • CO2 emissions: 12 – 15 g/km (WLTP)
  • Catalog price: €84,095