Mercedes-Benz updates its strong-selling GLC three years after the midsize CUV joined its lineup as a successor model to the earlier GLK.
Set to make its public debut at next week’s Geneva auto show prior to a planned introduction to the North American market later this year, the facelifted GLC gets subtle exterior styling tweaks including reshaped bumpers, an altered grille and revised LED headlamps and taillamps as well as new alloy wheels ranging from 17 to 19 ins. in diameter.
It also comes with a new AMG Line styling package boasting a unique diamond pattern grille insert, altered front bumper, rectangular chromed tailpipes and the choice of either standard 19- or optional 20-in. wheels.
Inside, the ’19 GLC retains the same familiar dashboard design as today’s model but incorporates new trim elements and several updated functions as part of the adoption of Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX user interface system.
Included is a new multifunction steering wheel in one of two designs, both featuring small touchpad controllers. Additionally, there is a new 12.3-in. (31-cm) digital instrument display and the choice of either a standard 7.0-in. (18-cm) or optional 10.3-in. (26-cm) separate infotainment display, the latter now featuring touch control.
The rotary controller between the front seats has been replaced by a larger touch control pad, while voice and gesture control now also come as an option. For the first time, there also is a standard keyless entry and start function and optional smartphone charging pad.
Once again, the AMG Line adds a dash of sportiness to the interior, with sport seats and other AMG design flourishes.
As part of an extended range of driver-assistance systems, the new GLC can be ordered with Mercedes-Benz’s Active Distance Assist Distronic, which monitors speed and adjusts it via automatic braking ahead of bends or junctions.
Accompanying the exterior, interior and equipment upgrades is a new range of longitudinally mounted engines.
But while Mercedes-Benz confirms European markets will receive new mild-hybrid gasoline units and a new-generation diesel engine, the U.S.-market-facelifted GLC comes with an updated (codename M274) turbocharged 2.0L gasoline 4-cyl. developing 14 hp more than before at 255 hp, along with 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) of torque. The M274 engine incorporates improvements over the M264 engine it replaces.
The new engine is mated to a standard 9-speed torque-converter-equipped automatic gearbox and a newly developed 4Matic all-wheel-drive system claimed to offer added off-road ability. The driver can choose between five driving modes as part of a GLC’s new Dynamic Select system, including Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. An optional Off-Road Engineering package brings additional Off-road and Off-road+ modes.
With the midlife update, the GLC also receives Mercedes-Benz’s Dynamic Body Control suspension with adjustable dampers for the first time. It can be combined with a sport steering system for more direct characteristics.
Also new to the GLC is optional Trailer Monitoring Assist. It supports the driver with maneuvering in reverse using sensors in the ball head and a magnetic ring to measure the angle between the vehicle and trailer in combination with a 360-degree camera capable of providing a bird’s-eye perspective and zoom functions on the infotainment display.
Other engines are planned to be added to the facelifted GLC lineup later this year, including a reworked version of the existing GLC43 4Matic’s turbocharged gasoline V-6 with an added 23 hp at 385 hp but the same 383 lb.-ft. (519 Nm) of torque.
The standard-wheelbase GLC is produced at Mercedes-Benz’s Bremen plant in Germany and in long-wheelbase guise at the company’s joint-venture factory operated with Chinese automaker BAIC in Beijing.