2022 Mercedes GLC could use only four-cylinder electrified powertrains [Update]

The Mercedes GLC mid-size SUV that replaced the GLK in June 2015 is waiting for its full-model change. The second-generation 2022 Mercedes GLC should premiere in the first half of next year, and in this story, we take a look at what we know about the crossover-SUV sibling of the latest C-Class.

2022 Mercedes GLC powertrain

Daimler has started distancing itself from six- and eight-cylinder engines in mid-size models to prepare for an all-electric future. Customers desiring performance will have to go for hybrid powertrains during this transition. The all-new Mercedes C-Class (W206/S206), including the forthcoming Mercedes-AMG C-Class, is an exclusively four-cylinder-engined car. The company employs electrification with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies to achieve higher performance and meet new emission targets.

Mercedes should offer the next-gen Mercedes GLC (codename: Mercedes X254) exclusively with 2.0-liter gasoline and diesel engines. Basic and mid-tier configurations could feature mild-hybrid technology with an ISG that provides as much as 20 hp using energy stored inside an additional battery pack.

Electrified engines of the 2022 GLC should come from the new C-Class. The mild-hybrid variants will likely include the following 2.0-liter engine options:

Aspect2022 Mercedes GLC 3002022 Mercedes GLC300 4MATIC2022 Mercedes GLC220d 4MATIC2022 Mercedes GLC300d 4MATIC
Transmission9-speed auto9-speed auto9-speed auto9-speed auto
Engine Power258 PS258 PS200 PS265 PS
Engine Torque400 Nm400 Nm440 Nm550 Nm
Electric Power20 PS20 PS20 PS20 PS
Electric Torque200 Nm200 Nm200 Nm200 Nm
Expected specifications of the 2022 Mercedes GLC.

2022 Mercedes GLC Plug-in Hybrid

Higher up the variant ladder, the 2022 GLC would presumably employ the same gasoline and diesel plug-in hybrid powertrains of the new C-Class. As Mercedes takes a staggered approach for the rollout of variants, we expect to see the GLC PHEV reaching showrooms a few months after the launch.

Daimler has stopped developing new plug-in hybrid systems, and while it’s not going to stop selling PHEVs anytime soon, it will use only existing powertrains in the future PHEVs. Markus Schafer told Handelsblatt at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) that the company has “no further new developments planned” regarding plug-in hybrid tech and has made all the relevant investments it was going to make. So, the future GLC PHEV would get existing powertrains, most likely those from the latest C-Class PHEV. Schafer is the BoM member responsible for R&D at Daimler and also the Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Mercedes plug-in hybrid specs
The 2022 Mercedes GLC plug-in hybrid will likely hire the gasoline and diesel powertrains of the new C-Class plug-in hybrid. Image Source: Daimler

The list price of the PHEV is higher than the mild hybrid, but the incentives would lower the difference. In Germany, for instance, the GLC 300 e and GLC 300 de PHEVs get a EUR 5,625 environmental bonus, with EUR 1,875 coming from the company and EUR 3,750 contributed by the federal government. BAFA (Federal Office of Economics and Export Control) announced this type of incentive structure for PHEVs priced over EUR 40,000 (net) in June 2021.

The gasoline plug-in hybrid’s base would be the 2.0-liter variant of the M 254 four-cylinder mill, teamed up with an electric motor that generates 95 kW (127 hp) and 440 Nm (325 Lb.-Ft.). A 25.4 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack providing a zero-emission range of 100 km (62 miles) in WLTP, and possibly around 50 miles as per EPA, would feed the motor electricity. 11 kW (three-phased) on-board charger would be standard and allow three-phase charging at a Wallbox with 11 kW AC power (three-phase). Support for a 55 kW DC charger that allows fully charging up the battery pack in around 30 minutes could be an optional feature.

Guided by the hardware on the incoming C-Class, Mercedes would install a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission in the next-gen GLC PHEV as standard. The power electronics would be integrated into the transmission housing, which would reduce the installation space.

2022 Mercedes GLC X254 side profile spy shot
The 2022 Mercedes GLC PHEV could have an EV range (EPA) of around 50 miles. Image Source: youtube.com/walkoARTvideos

YouTube channel walkoARTvideos captured the spy picture you see above in Germany in July 2021, and it most likely shows the 2022 Mercedes GLC plug-in hybrid. Cars with a hybrid or an electric powertrain in Germany get a special “e-license plate” with the letter E instead of a final digit.

In November 2021, walkoARTvideos spotted another test mule of the 2022 GLC (video below), and this prototype likely uses a plug-in hybrid powertrain. We can’t spot a charging socket flap, but the letter “E” at the end of the license plate suggests that we are looking at a rechargeable electric vehicle.

According to the Berlin government’s website, a requirement for an externally chargeable hybrid electric vehicle to get an E license plate is to have an EV mode range of at least 40 km (25 miles). Given that the current GLC PHEV can travel up to 51 km or 32 miles (WLTP) in EV mode, it is safe to assume that the 2022 GLC PHEV would well exceed the minimum requirement.

Video Source: YouTube/walkoARTvideos

Environmental activists have criticized PHEVs for causing harm to the environment rather than saving it. They claim that customers primarily drive them on fossil fuel, making their carbon dioxide emissions higher than a regular ICE vehicle, as they are heavier because of the extra weight of their traction battery pack.

With an EV mode range of around 100 km or 62 miles, Daimler wants to make PHEVs usable as an EV. Ola Kallenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, has told Automotive News Europe that the criticisms about PHEVs are on the basis of data of the first-gen PHEVs featuring smaller batteries and thus shorter EV range. Now, with larger batteries that store more energy per charge, customers can drive them as an EV regularly, and some even use the EV mode for their work commute for an entire week.

2022 Mercedes GLC design & features

On the design front, while today’s GLC is drastically different from the GLK, the next-gen is more of an evolutionary departure. That said, all the body panels are new, and judging from spy shots, it appears to have a longer wheelbase and lower stance for clear differentiation from the Mercedes GLB.

TopElectricSUV.com reader Fran Rosa Moreno shared spy pictures showing a 2022 Mercedes GLC with sleek production headlights that are more angular. They slant upwards like on the Mercedes EQS but aren’t as narrow at the outer ends. The taillights of the prototype are not final units, but new spy pictures that emerged in mid-August show prototypes with production-oriented units. The new images reveal that a daytime running light strip forms the upper edge of the headlights.

2022 Mercedes GLC X254 rear three quarters spy shot
Expect no great strides in the design of the 2022 Mercedes GLC (code: Mercedes X254). Image: TopElectricSUV.com reader Fran Rosa Moreno

The 2022 GLC gets mirrors on the A-pillars instead of on the doors. The shoulder area has more definition and the character line is clearly visible. At the rear, the next-gen GLC may feature similar to the triangular tail lights of the all-new S-Class W223/V223/Z223.

About 12 months after the 2022 GLC breaks cover, expect the 2023 Mercedes GLC Coupe to debut as the sporty alternative to the mid-size luxury SUV. Prototypes haven’t appeared on the roads, but the aesthetic and technical relationship between the standard SUV and the athletic SUV-coupe versions should be the same as that of the current generation. Like now, the coupe version may feature a sportier rear light design.

Digital Light & second-gen MBUX

No doubt, the new GLC would download features developed for the W206 C-Class. A main exterior feature should be Digital Light headlamps with three extremely powerful LEDs in each of them. 1.3 million micro-mirrors refract and direct the light in each Digital Light headlamp, and thus, the total resolution is more than 2.6 million pixels. These headlamps should be a premium option over standard LED headlamps. Customers specifying them may get an additional option of projection functions that casts guidelines or warning symbols of the road ahead.

Mercedes virtual instrument cluster, second-gen MBUX
Like on the new C-Class (pictured), the 2022 Mercedes GLC should come with a virtual instrument cluster and touchscreen in the center console as standard. Display sizes & the features would vary as per the configuration. Image: Daimler

The new GLC could become the brand’s first SUV to feature the second-gen MBUX with a fingerprint scanner and a more interactive voice assistant activated by the command “Hey Mercedes.” MBUX Smart Home function will also be included in the new-generation MBUX, allowing the driver to keep a check on and control smart home devices installed at the residence.

A fully digital instrument cluster should come as standard, although the display and features could vary, with lower configurations getting a 9.5-inch and higher configurations using an 11.9-inch size display. The same goes for a touchscreen in the center console, a smaller – but still sizeable – 9.5-inch portrait display for the lower configurations, and an 11.9-inch portrait display for the higher configurations.

Source: Youtube/WalkoARTvideos

A spy video from YouTube channel walkoARTvideos has already revealed its fully digital instrument cluster. The GLC has had a fully digital instrument cluster since Daimler introduced the F-Cell variant in 2017, and the ICE variant received it with the mid-cycle refresh in 2019 as an option. It is expected as a standard feature in the new generation, albeit with the size and functions varying as per the variant.

New spy shots from Motor1 reveal more of the next-gen GLC’s interior. They offer a close look at the fully digital instrument cluster, and uncover the future SUV’s central screen. As in the C-Class, the touchscreen with a portrait orientation appears to float above the center console. The designers could tilt it slightly towards the driver for easier view. The portrait orientation would make operating the navigation functions easier. Its size should allow packaging plenty of functions and related options together, reducing the inputs required for accessing the features.

2022 Mercedes GLC interior spy shot
The 2022 Mercedes GLC could arrive as the first Mercedes SUV with second-gen MBUX (MBUX 2.0). Image Source: YouTube/walkoARTvideos


A slew of improvements that take care of occupants’ well-being can also be expected in the 2022 GLC. This aspect would include the availability of features like Air-Balance Package and Energizing Coach. Air-Balance Package provides the preferred fragrance in the cabin for a refreshed feeling. Energizing Coach suggests a suitable fitness or wellness program based on the vehicle and trip data and the information about sleep quality and stress level from a paired wearable device like a smartwatch. The plug-in hybrid variants may benefit from an additional “Power Nap” program, with falling asleep, sleeping, and waking phases that can help the driver recharge himself/herself when making a stop for service or battery recharge.

Rear-axle steering & air suspension

For the first time, customers could order the Mercedes GLC with rear-axle steering, an optional feature that reduces the turning circle. The driver would need fewer turns of the steering wheel for a full lock when performing a U-turn or parking. At highway speeds, the rear-axle steering would steer the wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, leading to improved handling stability and safety.

Air suspension should be standard in the plug-in hybrid variants, which are expected to be loaded to the brim. However, these electrified variants could suffer from the typical drawback of lower cargo space because of the battery pack location.

Improved surround sensors would offer faster and more intuitive parking system operations on the incoming GLC. A new trailer maneuvering assistant could be optional, one that can handle freely selectable cornering maneuvers up to 90 degrees. Convenience features should include the Easy-Pack tailgate for the remote-operated open/close function of the tailgate with a button on the key fob or the switch in the driver’s door or the tailgate’s release handle.

2022 Mercedes GLC X254 front three quarters
Air suspension will likely be standard in the 2022 GLC plug-in hybrid. Image Source: Fran Rosa Moreno

Built-in Apple Music

The MBUX infotainment system of the 2022 GLC will have Apple Music online music streaming service built into it. With an Apple Music subscription, customers can access more than 75 million songs directly from the infotainment system using its own data connection. Simple voice command with the “Hey Mercedes” prompt would allow the driver to conveniently request songs, playlists, albums, or radio stations from Apple Music.

The built-in Apple Music integration is first available in the C-Class, S-Class, and EQS models, which leads us to believe that the new GLC would acquire it. Available music streaming services in the 2022 GLC’s MBUX infotainment system should include Spotify, Amazon Music, and TIDAL.

New Safety systems

A myriad of active and passive safety features would be available in the 2022 Mercedes GLC, with new, upgraded, and carried-over technologies to make it the safest C-Class-based SUV. One of the highlights would be the Pre-Safe Impulse Side, which forms a sort of virtual crumple zone in the event of an accident. The driver or front passenger has moved away from danger before the crash when the system detects an imminent side collision. There are air chambers in the side bolsters of the front seat backrests, and they inflate within the blink of an eye when required.

Besides seeing to it that the vehicle stays in lane at speeds up to 210 km/h (130 mph), improved Active Steering Assist would recognize an additional lane with the 360-degree camera and form an emergency corridor. It would offer enhanced performance on country roads and lane centering on highways.

2022 Mercedes GLC release date

Daimler may schedule deliveries of the next-gen Mercedes GLC in the U.S. in the Sept-Nov period of 2022. A report from AutoZeitung.de filed earlier this year said that sales in Europe would also begin in the fall of 2022. Also, consider that the auto industry is reeling from a shortage of semiconductors that is hampering production schedules and new product launches.

In Europe, according to a report from motor.es, order books for the next-gen GLC will open in May 2022. Production of the current-gen GLC will end a few months earlier. Given that the next-gen GLC plug-in hybrid variants are under development alongside the mild-hybrid variants, Daimler should launch them in the market shortly after. A mbpassion.de report suggests that the current-gen GLC is no longer available to order in Germany. Only the GLC Coupe is available, and only as a PHEV.

From the next generation, the GLC will roll out of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant in addition to the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant. This production site is currently responsible for the E-Class, S-Class, and EQS. Bremen will probably get a head-start, while Sindelfingen, as per a report from JESMB, should start production at the end of 2022. The Beijing plant would continue building the GLC, with local adaptations, for the Chinese market. A more recent report from JESMB suggests that the next-gen GLC would remain on sale for about seven years, from 2022 through 2029.

Mercedes GLC sales in the U.S. started recovering this year following the slump in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but was soon met with parts shortage that affected production. While in H1 2020 the sales dropped 33.5% year-over-year to 22,560 units (H1 2019: 33,906 units), in H1 2021, they increased 33.6% year-over-year to 30,149 units. Globally, in Q2 2021, the GLC was the brand’s best-selling car. In Q3 2021, the GLC recorded a sale of 7,982 units in the U.S., 30.2% lower than in Q3 2020 (11,428 units). Globally, the Mercedes GLC continued being the best-selling Mercedes-Benz car.

2023 Mercedes-AMG GLC hybrid

The next-gen Mercedes GLC line-up will include performance-oriented AMG variants. Motor1’s spy photographers have spotted an all-new Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 undergoing testing. In addition to the usual dose of AMG goodness like an exclusive (Panamerica) grille, lowered ride height, beefier brakes, sportier wheels, and more aerodynamic bumpers, the GLC 63 AMG will likely boast an electric power boost function in the next generation.

The next-gen GLC 63 AMG should get the same M139 2.0-liter engine-based plug-in hybrid system as the new C 63 AMG. There would be three different electrical assistances for the engine: an electrified turbocharger, an ISG, and a traction motor. The engine should produce 443 hp and the traction motor 201 hp, and the net power should be more than 600 hp. According to the second JESMB report, this variant could arrive in the first markets a year after the regular variants, perhaps in the summer of 2023.

New Mercedes GLC FAQs

What is the 2022 Mercedes GLC release date?

The new GLC is expected to premiere in the first half of next year, and go on sale in the U.S. in late-2022.

What will be the 2022 Mercedes GLC alternatives?

The usual suspects – BMW X3, Audi Q5, 2022 Volvo XC60 & 2022 Lexus NX.

What will be the base 2023 Mercedes GLC price?

The new Mercedes GLC should start just under $45,000.

Featured Image Source: TopElectricSUV.com reader Fran Rosa Moreno