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HEY MERCEDES. THE MERCEDES-BENZ GLC 350e 4MATIC Review.

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HEY MERCEDES. THE MERCEDES-BENZ GLC 350e 4MATIC REVIEW.

With those two words, you can do almost everything short of starting the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC, put it into gear and drive off. This function is just a hint at what lies along the road ahead.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

The GLC 350e is the latest version of the GLC (C as in C-Class) Compact Sport Utility Vehicle. Available in four and five-door models, our five-door hatchback offers seating for five and a fair amount of cargo in the rear, too. Loaded with the latest technology, it is one of Mercedes-Benz’s few PHEVs. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an 85 kW electric motor, it replaced the former GLK model in 2015.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

At first glance, the Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e looks like a run-of-the-mill GLC SUV. It’s under the skin where the real magic is taking place. Starting as a base GLC, Mercedes adds new safety features, intelligent adaptability and a newly refined engine. It seemingly sets the GLC as a rolling testbed for future technologies.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

Back in the Real World, using the Mercedes’ Sensual Purity design ethos, the 350e is noted by its English Bulldog stance. It’s one that hunkers down on 19-inch wheels placed outward with noted aggression. Softer than other contemporary designs, the 350e Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) SUV has an elegant look that seemingly has just the right amount of bling around it.

From the grille with its chrome wings to the LED head- and daylight running lights, the look of the GLC imposes a “get out of my way, lest you wish to be sucked up” vibe. A large under-grille radiator allows extra cooling to make its way to the intercooler, and other aerodynamic enhancements help the GLC to cheat the wind. A slight power dome hood provides cover for what lies underneath, leading to a smartly-designed array of smart cuts and sculpts leading down the sides of the body.

NEW INNOVATIONS ABOUND

In addition to features that Mercedes-Benz owners have become accustomed to, are a couple of revisions which, like racing, help to improve the breed.

  • MBUX system: The merging of the standard touchscreen with optional augmented video for navigation, standard intelligent voice control by calling the “Hey Mercedes” prompt, bring the other latest tech innovations.
  • Drive System: The next-gen four-cylinder gasoline engine combines with an electric motor-generator. The result is increased power output with lower fuel consumption. That’s a win-win any way you look at it, in our book.
  • Advanced assistance systems: Active Distance Assist Distronic and active steering assist help drivers in keeping a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them, as well as within their lane. Using GPS locating technology, the speed can be adjusted ahead of curves or junctions. Active Brake Assist can help to minimize the occurrence of collisions by braking if the driver fails to see oncoming traffic. And that’s just for starters.

Described by M-B as possessing refined materials, precision artistry and flowing shapes, the GLC’s interior is a new look that now includes natural grain walnut, as seen in our example.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

It’s one of the “grainiest” examples of wood trim we have seen in any vehicle. The multi-function steering wheel controls everything from the Distronic Active Distance Assist to the instrument cluster and multimedia system complete with acoustic feedback that a function was activated correctly.

Besides, there are inputs available through the center console-mounted touchpad, which allows you to trace letters on the surface to find a particular name or street. The one function that blew us away was the “Hey Mercedes” function, which worked in a fashion similar to Siri or Alexa on your smartphone. Saying “Hey Mercedes, take me to Costco,” wakes the navigation system, and directs you to the big box store in search of the World’s largest toilet paper multipack.

REFINEMENTS INSIDE

Our Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e was as good as it gets, inside, too. That included a pair of heated and ventilated front bucket seats with adjustable thigh support.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

 

 

But beyond the usual that we know and love in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, including things like a stellar Burmester Surround Sound System, a power liftgate, a panorama sunroof and more, are innovative features like the Intelligent Hybrid Navigation and Multimedia Package.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

Using an active navigation route plan, the system decides proper gear selection, planning the proper mix of battery and gasoline power to deliver you in the most efficient manner possible. That includes a mode that lets the gasoline engine run longer, charging the battery further, before transferring over to electric-only driving power, as in a neighborhood or other low speed-limited areas.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

Under the hood, is the Hybrid 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder turbo engine mates to an 85 kW electric motor. Combined, the pair produces 315 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque. The couple is mated to the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system using the 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

The GLC 350e is equipped with Dynamic Select switch on the center console, which offers settings ranging from Comfort, ECO, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, where a driver can customize steering, suspension and powertrain settings.

And if that’s not enough, the 350e also includes a haptic accelerator pedal, that offers “feedback” when you push it too hard. That means if you decide to lay too much of your size 11 on the pedal, it will gently push back, urging you to use a softer touch on the skinny pedal. Behavior modification, indeed!

If there were one thing that we found lacking from the GLC 350e, it would have to be its battery range. Sure, there are more charging stations popping up every day and as long as you have fuel in the tank, you should be good, but plan your trips wisely, as the GLC 350e possesses enough battery power to carry you approximately 9.1-miles.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC

The Mercedes-Benz GLC 350e 4MATIC PHEV is a high-tech version of the GLC sports ute that has been around for several years, but this model is different. Looking ahead at where M-B technology is heading, gives us a glimpse into the future. Judging by its brightness, you’ll have to wear shades. (With apologies to Timbuk 3. Who you ask? Check the Google Machine!)

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