Sprint Review: 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC300d 4Matic

Mercedes and AMG may be fettling with the latest tri-turbo electric hyper-drive for their new performance models but we at NamWheels just stumbled upon a hidden hot rod: it’s called the GLC 300d.

You should know: The recipe doesn’t sound very spicy. Take the latest update of Merc’s middle-child SUV, the GLC, plonk in the evergreen 2-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel and turn the volume up to 11. Oh, and for the love of humanity, don’t forget to plaster the whole thing in those obligatory pretend-AMG bits.

Thanks to its high levels of refinement and a default “Comfort” drive setting, this grey GLC300d certainly didn’t feel like a rapid racer at first. The drive-train matches pedal and steering feel by being smooth and predictable… until you plant your right foot and/or set the response mode to its more exciting side.

More info: Mercedes claims 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds and our best effort resulted in 6.63 – which is what hot hatches did a few years ago; or V8 saloons managed in the early 2000’s. A single brake test from 100km/h was just as impressive at just 2.54 seconds and 36.44 meters. Both of those are superb results!

What else? Apologies for diving straight into the power aspect of things, but that was our resounding impression. The car itself is well styled with modern aggression over traditional Mercedes touches, while the interior is spacious and comfortable but crammed with new-age gadgets necessitating a steep learning curve.  

And let’s not forget the turbo-diesel’s raison d’etre, because a sensibly-driven GLC300d can average 5.5L/100km from its generous 62L tank. This works out to a theoretical range of 1,125km, so any long-distance experts can aim for most border posts before having to stop at another 50ppm pump. 

Why you shouldn’t: Mercedes-Benz likes to charge extra for its tastier treats, plus they tend to force you into expensive package options, on top of a base price around the 1.43 million mark. All our testers also noted that its 4Matic (intelligent all-wheel drive) system may be popular in the snowy northern hemisphere but seems superfluous in 4×2 Fortuner country.

Why you should: The new Mercedes-Benz GLC 300d 4Matic is the pinnacle of modern design, safety, efficiency, comfort and technology; driven by 215kW of diesel grunt. This even trumps its bigger GLE 300d brother, thus making it a hidden performance model in Mercedes’ non-AMG stable.


Engine:1,993cc i-4 Turbo-diesel
Transmission:9-speed DCT, AWD
Max. Power:215kW @ 4,200rpm
Max. Torque:550Nm @ 1,800rpm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 5.5L/100km
0-100km/h:6.63 seconds (claimed 6.3)
Top Speed:Claimed 243km/h
List Price:From R965,437

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