Mercedes GLC 300 Coupe Interior is Modern Masterpiece

The overall design of the interior is spectacular, materials are top notch, screens are big, and the Mercedes AI voice assistant and AI-enabled navigation are cutting edge.

Drew Winter, Contributing Editor

May 31, 2024

3 Min Read
Satin aluminum trim, interesting pattern and texture, huge high-res screen strong points of GLC 300 Coupe.

Should luxury brands stick with the traditional formula for vehicle interiors, or move to the sleek, futuristic designs used in today’s electric vehicles?

The worry about changing interior aesthetics too fast is a nagging question in automotive design circles, but Mercedes has done an excellent job of bringing the best of both worlds to the cabin of the new GLC 300 4MATIC Coupe.

The user experience starts as you approach and enter the car: a puddle lamp with a giant Mercedes star lights up under your feet and a sill plate illuminates when you open the door.

Once inside, the interior delivers a first-impression home run. Like a traditional luxury vehicle, our fully loaded $67,430 version of the GLC (base price is $57,000) featured interior materials that are a feast for the eyes, but this feast emphasizes nouvelle cuisine. The materials are enhanced with mesmerizing finishes and textures that create a fresh technical look that makes old-school wood trim obsolete.

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Striking aluminum pieces with a metal weave pattern define the instrument panel and center console, and even the air vents and Burmester speaker grilles are handsome satin-finished design features.

Mercedes says it’s a cockpit for the digital age and a harmonious celebration of high-tech and high-touch design, and we certainly agree with that take.

The seats have a spare, minimalistic design that gives a futuristic ambience to the entire cabin. The eye-catching front headrests would be at home in an EV – or a space capsule – but look very sturdy and are highly supportive. They are covered with smooth AMG black leather – part of an optional $1,620 AMG package – and accented with subtle white stitching.

A big, 11.9-in. (30-cm) portrait-style touchscreen dominates the center console. It’s tilted toward the driver to improve accessibility and key buttons are placed within the driver’s field of view. It was one of the best displays in this competition in terms of resolution and clarity, says judge Christie Schweinsberg.

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The displays also earned kudos for making Mercedes’ native navigation system a great alternative to the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto options. Instead of flat maps, it provides detailed 3D maps where buildings and landmarks can be easily found.

Judges also praised the augmented reality navigation feature that connects navigation with the real world. Part of the Mercedes user experience (MBUX) package, the system uses a grouping of sensors and cameras to create a view of the road on the central touchscreen and head-up display that integrates virtual road signs, arrows and directions into overlays on the windshield and live footage on the display.

In one example of its usefulness, a judge easily found an address on a poorly lit street because the screen depicted glowing addresses floating in front of each house.

Sums up judge Dave Zoia of the GLC 300 Coupe’s winning attributes: “The AI-enabled navigation is cutting edge, as is the Mercedes AI voice assistant, plus the overall design of the interior is spectacular, with top-notch materials and big screens.”

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About the Author(s)

Drew Winter

Contributing Editor, WardsAuto

Drew Winter is a former longtime editor and analyst for Wards. He writes about a wide range of topics including emerging cockpit technology, new materials and supply chain business strategies. He also serves as a judge in both the Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems awards and the Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX awards and as a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards.

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