The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e is a compact luxury SUV that became the automaker’s second plug-in-hybrid crossover – after the GLE-Class – and one of many more electrified models on the way. It first appeared as a 2018 model. The GLC350e is a Plug-in Electric Hybrid (PHEV) that accommodates up to five occupants. It is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine with an 85 kW electric motor. The GLC 350e’s combined horsepower is rated at 320, and the combined torque measures 413 lb-ft of torque. Performance-oriented versions of the GLC-Class are a step above this model. There’s the AMG GLC43 with a 362-hp, twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 and AMG GLC63 with a 469-hp, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Towing capacity is 3,900 ponds when properly equipped.
The hybrid system’s motive force is geared through a 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and paddle shifters to either the rear wheels or Mercedes’ 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system.
The latest iteration GLC350e displays the image of a coupe like body style that leads off with a bold, expressive front end featuring a horizontal two bar grille anchored by a large, circular three-pointed star logo and flanked by “cat’s-eye” headlamps. The roofline slopes gracefully rearward over the rear doors, and angles down over the short rear-end. Both front and rear overhangs are abbreviated and emphasize the GLC350e’s low, aerodynamic stance. Competitors in the in the compact SUV class include Audi’s Q5, BMW’s X3, the Lexus NX and the Porsche Macan.
Pricing starts at $50,650, which represents nearly an $8,000 premium over a comparable GLC300 4MATIC, but the blow can be softened with a federal tax credit of almost $4,500, and even more by some regional and local credits. The EPA combined mileage estimates for fuel economy is 56 MPGe with a combined range of roughly 350 miles. Gasoline only yields 25 MPG. The electric only range is up to 9 miles. Charging time is 1.9 hours on a Level 2 240V home charger.
The “e” could be construed as being for “extra” horsepower and torque over the GLC 300. This GLC350e surrenders 5.5 cubic feet of luggage space, drops 4.2 gallons of fuel capacity, and eliminates two gears from the GLC300’s nine-speed automatic. However, what it loses in practicality, it makes up in performance.
Driving this new Mercedes-Benz PHEV is both pleasant and rewarding. Mercedes estimates that the GLC350e is 0.2 seconds quicker fro 0-60 mph than the GLC300 4MATIC. Using only the electric motor, the GLC350e generates 251 lb-ft of torque and is capable of a top speed of 87-mph.
The ride quality rates high on the comfort scale, and the interior ambiance is top notch, with intuitive controls. Safety equipment, connectivity and infotainment are representative of what one expects from a Mercedes.
Experimenting with the four driving modes results in altering the mix of the powertrain’s electric and gas/electric driving. The standard Hybrid mode is self explanatory. E-Mode supplies power exclusively by the electric motor. The remaining two modes, E-Save and Charge, keep only the gas engine running allowing the driver to conserve battery power for later use, while the Charge mode replenishes the battery while under way. Other adjustable settings include: Individual, Sport +, Sport, Comfort and Eco.
“Haptic accelerator pedal”?
The “haptic accelerator pedal” applies counter-pressure to the driver’s foot. It’s similar to Infiniti’s “eco pedal”, encouraging softer acceleration. In the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e, the pedal resists downward motion to the specific point where the vehicle can maintain electric operation. Pushing harder, the gas engine fires up for added power. Via two pulsing sensations, the pedal also indicates when one can ease off the throttle to save fuel while maintaining an existing speed. The Regenerative braking rate changes depending on the vehicle ahead, using the GLC’s forward-looking radar to alter the engine braking.
This Hybrid Mercedes accelerates quickly (unless you happen to be in E-Save mode) and the instant torque of the electric assist eliminates any turbo lag. On the other hand, the extra weight is a factor, and the GLC350e is not as athletic and responsive as its gas sibling.
Does the GLC350e 4MATIC make economic sense? It’s expensive, and presents an alluring style, and affords one membership into the “Green Machine Club”. The big consideration is how much are you willing to pay for that status?
My test 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e 4MATIC came with an Obsidian Black metallic exterior finish and sported an interior executed in a combination of Silk Beige and Black leather, with natural grain Black Ash wood trim elements, a Porcelain headliner and aluminum door trim accents. The base price was set at $50,6500, while the addition of optional equipment and value added packages as well as the Destination and Delivery charge elevated the final count and amount to $68,145. Optional fare was both extensive and impressive.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e Plug-in Hybrid
|Price as Tested:
|Engine:||2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 w/ 85 kW electric motor|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Front engine, 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||Combined system output: 320 hp
Electric only: 114 hp
|Torque:||Combined system output: 413 lb-ft
Electric only: 251 lb-ft
|Transmission:||7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic|
|Suspension:||Front and Rear: Multilink (selective damping)|
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs|
|Tires:||Continental CrossContact LX Sport 235/55 R19 101H (Mud & Snow rated)|
|Fuel capacity:||13.2 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||59 Combined MPGe / 25 Combined mpg (gasoline only)|
|Width:||82.5 inches (w/ mirrors)|
|Turning Circle:||38.7 feet|
|Curb Weight:||4,564 pounds|