Power play: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e plug-in hybrid crossover revealed

September 9, 2019

Electrified crossovers are luxury-car brass rings now. Not only do they have the size, shape, and tall ride height that many consumers ask for, but also they have the kind of efficiency that green buyers appreciate. (Eds note: And coveted HOV lane access stickers require.)

The problem with many of those brass rings? Many of today's electric powertrains don't reach that far in all-electric range.

On Sunday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 2020 GLC350e plug-in hybrid crossover, complete with a bigger battery and presumably a much longer electric-only driving range. In the recent past, the GLC350e was one of the only plug-in hybrid luxury crossovers for shoppers to consider, but not anymore.The 2020 Lincoln Corsair, 2020 BMW X3e, and 2020 Volvo XC60 T8 are all compact luxury crossovers that can run on electricity alone.

Mercedes-Benz didn't say how much the 2020 GLC350e would cost when it goes on sale in the first half of 2020 nor did they say how far the crossover will travel on a full charge, according to the EPA's test.

The 2020 GLC350e gets the same refreshed exterior as the rest of the GLC range for 2020. New headlights, bumpers, grille, and taillights headline the changes to the exterior, but the main attraction for 2020 is Mercedes' 10.3-inch touchscreen and infotainment system. That new infotainment system responds to natural voice commands ("Hey Mercedes") and can be connected to the internet to deliver search results to drivers ("Hey Mercedes, where can I go to lunch?").

What's inside the 2020 GLC350e matters more, according to Mercedes. Last year's 8.7-kwh lithium-ion battery was scrapped and replaced this year with a 13.5-kwh unit. Although EPA estimates for electric range aren't yet available, the bigger battery will surely travel farther than last year's battery that was rated for about 9 miles. A larger onboard charger means the GLC350e charges quicker, too. Mercedes says that when connected to a Level 2 charger, which is typical for many homes and charging stations, the GLC350e charges from zero to 80 percent in just over 2 hours.

The batteries are connected to a 121-horsepower electric motor, which is teamed to a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 208 hp. The net output of both is 315 hp—same as last year—but overall torque is up to a neck-straining 516 pound-feet, which is more than many full-size pickups. This year's GLC350e upgrades to a 9-speed automatic transmission from a 7-speed, which should boost efficiency further.

Mercedes didn't detail much else about the new GLC350e, but we expect to know more when the crossover is unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show this week. For more from the show, head over to Motor Authority's dedicated hub.

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