Mercedes GLC350e Plug-In Gets Bigger Battery, More Range

New tech and new looks, too.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC-class has recently been updated, so it makes sense that all its variants would get freshened, too. Beyond the basic SUV and coupe versions, the AMG variants of both body styles have come in for a freshening, and now comes the new version of the pluggable one, the GLC350e.

Like the rest of the lineup, the 2020 GLC plug-in hybrid gets slightly reworked front and rear fascias, updated insides, and sees the adoption of Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment system—complete with "Hey, Mercedes" digital-assistant functionality—but the most important changes occur under its shapely skin.

The battery pack, for example, has been enlarged from 8.7 kWh to 13.5 kWh. The old GLC plug-in replenished its batteries via a 3.6-kW onboard charger, but the new version features a 7.4-kW unit that can fully restock the pack with electrons in just under eight hours using a standard 120-volt Level 1/household plug. It can also recharge the pack to 80 percent in just over two hours when using a Level 2 240-volt source. (Regenerative braking is also aboard to help feed the pack.) All-electric range is touted as much improved, but the old model was rated for only 10 miles of gas-free transport before needing a recharge, or for the internal-combustion engine to kick in. Figure something like 25-30-ish miles of electric range when the EPA gets around to rating this one.

About that gas engine. It's a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder good for 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It's augmented by a stronger electric motor now rated for 121 horsepower and 325 lb-ft; together, the system is capable of stumping up 315 horsepower and 516 lb-ft, and that output is routed to the pavement via 4Matic all-wheel drive as standard. The zero-to-60-mph sprint is claimed to take 5.6 seconds, about half a tick quicker than before. The powertrain now incorporates a nine-speed automatic in place of the previous version's seven-speeder.

Additional changes include a new steering wheel with capacitive buttons to control larger interior cluster and center-stack screens, standard LED head- and taillamps, and the latest Mercedes driver-assist technologies, including Active Lane-Change Assist. Pricing has yet to be announced for the GLC350e, but it will be positioned above the regular lineup and below the GLC43s when it arrives at dealerships in the first half of 2020.