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2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300e 4MATIC Plug-in Hybrid Review Singapore

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a mid to full size luxury SUV from Mercedes-Benz. In this latest generation GLC, the car is available in Singapore as a hybrid only. The base version is a 48v mild hybrid, while the GLC300e 4Matic is a plug in hybrid PHEV with an electric only mode mode range of more than 100km. Both cars are equipped with an all wheel drive system, and are paired to a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbocharged internal combustion engine. The GLC has a cargo space of 620 litres.

An Evolution from its Predecessor

The original X253 GLC was extremely popular in Singapore, providing users with a car that very proficiently combined the appeal of a modern SUV with the luxury status of a Mercedes-Benz. It brought to the table a plush and comfortable ride, adequate space for a family of 4, as well as a respectable and desirable badge. Six years and a facelift apart, the new GLC feels like it caters to the same demographic, but in a slightly more grown up manner.

For starters, the new GLC is only available in Singapore as a mild hybrid or a plug in hybrid, a bold move that forces its existing consumer pool to "grow with the times" and to get with the programme. In its own way, the new GLC almost feels like a conduit that Mercedes-Benz have employed to usher some of its traditional, petrol loving customer base into the new era of hybridisation and electrification - and what better choice than to use one of its best selling models locally to lead the transition. Aside from a fully hybridised lineup, the new GLC is also larger, filled with more technology, and possesses a more subtle beauty than its predecessor.

Class Leading Electric-Only Range

Plug-in Hybrids aren't new to the automotive world, and they are definitely not new to the Mercedes-Benz lineup - but what used to feel like an afterthought model now feels like a prominent and central one to the brand. It's a good thing then that the new GLC Plug-in Hybrid boasts a class leading hybrid setup, derived from a 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbocharged engine that is paired with a 31.2 kWh battery pack, allowing it to travel approximately 129km on electric power alone - a class leading figure that is truly impressive.

Aside from providing users the option of running the car on electric power alone, the plug-in hybrid system also utilises the battery to aid acceleration, driving the GLC from 0-100km/h in an extremely brisk 6.7 seconds - impressive for a car that weights more than 2.3 tonnes. While the speed of this "civilian" SUV is rather impressive, drivers who desire a more engaging drive should be aware that due to the way the hybrid system kicks in the engine at certain points of acceleration, the driving dynamic isn't a particularly authentic feeling one, and can potentially feel a little bit disconnected to the driver. In a way, the car feels quite similar to a Lexus NX.

The Best of Both Worlds?

This is more of a question than a statement, as the GLC Plug-in Hybrid presents a rather interesting use case to consumers. On the one hand, having a sizeable battery with 129km of electric-only range means that particularly in Singapore, consumers could potentially have the option of using electric power only for their daily work commute, and charging their cars up overnight using an AC slow charger at home. However, on longer journeys and road trips where charging might cause a little bit of a hindrance, the car works just fine on petrol power alone.

On the flip side, unlike a self charging hybrid, a plug-in hybrid requires you to actually charge the car in order to maintain the efficiency of the vehicle. Otherwise, it's just a very heavy petrol powered SUV on the days where there is no charge remaining in the battery pack. It's definitely something to think about before purchasing a plug-in hybrid, as it could really represent the best of both worlds, or become a white elephant. Luckily for all of us over-thinkers out there, the GLC is also available as a mild hybrid, which isn't quite as efficient, but it is quicker due to reduced weight, and offers users the flexibility of not ever having to charge the car.

Who will it Appeal to?

Truthfully, the market for the GLC is pretty much the same as its always been - upper middle class families who desire a luxury SUV with the right blend of comfort, status, and more importantly, status, will no doubt find the GLC an ever appealing option. The real question is whether the Plug-in Hybrid version or the Mild Hybrid version will better suit your lifestyle patterns and needs.


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