When Mercedes-Benz debuted the fifth-generation W206 C-Class sedan in 2021, we knew the second-generation GLC compact crossover would not be far behind. The 2023 GLC is now one step closing to gracing the dealership showroom as Mercedes-Benz recently conducted its final winter testing of the vehicle in Arjeplog, Sweden.
The GLC pre-production prototype (pictured here) has driven over 11 million miles in four years of development work across the globe, including locations in Dubai, China, Finland, Italy, and the United States.
Dancing Over Snow
The icy and snowy region of the Swedish Lapland has a quadruple growth in population every year from January to April, and it has nothing to do with birth rates. Arjeplog has more lakes and wildlife (particularly moose and reindeer) than people and is the perfect nesting spot for testing vehicles from the world’s top auto brands. The vast, frozen lakes combined with gusty winds and temperatures below negative 30 degrees allow automakers to validate the reliability of any new vehicle in the most extreme weather conditions.
For Mercedes-Benz, torture-testing the new GLC is part of the automaker’s “last maturity level check.” The testing cycle includes perilous hill climbs of up to 20 percent gradient and driving through a series of custom-made test tracks and skid pads to assess traction and grip over loose or slippery terrain.
Mercedes has sold more than 2.5 million variants of the GLC (and its GLK predecessor) since 2008. In addition, the GLC is Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling vehicle to date, and the automaker is leaving no stone unturned in developing the all-new, third-gen GLC. On-site engineers at Arjeplog scrutinize details of the final tests while working in conjunction with various other departments inside the company. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz engineers also test prototypes produced in China alongside German-made counterparts to ensure the GLC passes strict quality standards.
New Technology Features
Every new Mercedes-Benz has cutting-edge technology, and the incoming 2023 GLC crossover is no different. The GLC is home to Mercedes-Benz’s second-generation MBUX infotainment system, similar to the new C-Class and S-Class. It features an 11.9-inch central display with an adaptive voice assistant, an augmented reality navigation system, and a 12.3-inch digital driver display. Furthermore, the GLC has a new three-spoke steering wheel with touch controls for features like navigation, entertainment, cruise control, and phone.
Optional is a “transparent hood” that works with a 360-degree camera. The system can show the ground under the vehicle’s front while displaying virtual driving lanes based on the steering angle. We’re also looking forward to the GLC’s Digital Light headlamps with three LEDs and 1.3 million micromirrors to project a 2.6 million pixel resolution of light on the road.
Those uber-cool headlights can also project guidelines or warning symbols on the road. But then again, we’re hoping the Digital Light’s beam is not too bright to conform with the federal government’s approval of fitting adaptive beam headlights to modern cars.
Next-Gen Driving Assistance Package
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC is, unsurprisingly, loaded to the brim with advanced safety features. An updated Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC system automatically maintains a preset distance from vehicles in front. It can even respond to stationary cars on the road at speeds up to 60 mph. On the other hand, Active Steering Assist helps keep the GLC in its lane while traveling up to 130 mph, while Traffic Sign Assistant and Intelligent Parking provide further support for the driver.
The all-new Mercedes GLC rides on an MRA platform derived from the latest-gen C-Class sedan. Mercedes-Benz has been continually developing and adapting the MRA architecture to cope with the heavier body of a midsize SUV and a hybrid powertrain.
The incoming GLC has a turbocharged 2.0-liter M254 four-cylinder engine pumping out up to 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. Combined with a 48-volt starter-alternator resting nicely between the engine and gearbox, Mercedes claims the electric motor generates 23 horsepower and 147 lb-ft. of torque.
2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC: Coming Very Soon
Pricing information, trim variants, and other specifics remain forthcoming, but we expect the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC to officially debut in mid-2022. The first US deliveries will arrive early next year, with base prices around $45,000 for rear-wheel drive variants and $47,000 for all-wheel drive versions. There’s also a GLC Coupe on the horizon if you prefer a GLC crossover with a fastback roof design.
Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.