Sometimes one model year makes quite the difference; and such is the case for the Mercedes-Benz GLC350e plug-in hybrid. The 2020 version of this model will get refreshed styling, the luxury automaker’s latest cabin interface, and its new, third-generation plug-in hybrid hardware. 

With more torque, more smoothness, and more battery, the GLC350e should boast both perkier real-world performance and improved all-electric driving range. 

The current/outgoing version of the GLC350e, with its 8.7-kwh battery pack, has an official EPA range of just 9 all-electric miles, and it lacks the real-world electric range to cover even modest commutes.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC350e 4Matic EQ Power, as it’s called for the U.S., gets a larger 13.5-kwh battery pack this time around. It hasn't yet been rated by the EPA.

Mercedes-Benz GLC350e

Mercedes-Benz GLC350e

An electric A/C compressor and electric (resistive) heater should help boost electric range and allow the GLC to pre-condition as well as run the climate systems without using the engine. And a new onboard charger more than doubles the charging capacity for the GLC plug-in—from 3.6 kw to 7.4 kw.

The hybrid system should be a lot smoother thanks to the introduction of a new setup, with torque converter and an integrated lockup clutch used as the startup means here, with an additional clutch between the IC engine and electric motor. 

As before the hybrid system is mated to a 208-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-4, but this system is designed around the automaker’s 9-speed automatic rather than the 7-speed. Electric motor power is up slightly, to 121 hp, and the resulting total system output is the same 315 hp as the outgoing model, but torque is up to an astonishing 516 pound-feet, up from 413 lb-ft. That nudges 0-60 mph acceleration up slightly, to 5.6 seconds. 

The refreshed lineup taps into the brand’s new MBUX interface system, which has a cleaner touchscreen-based interface and enables drivers to say “Hey Mercedes” to access a range of natural-language functions. 

Mercedes-Benz says that by the end of this year it will have more than 10 plug-in hybrid models available globally. It’s also due to start delivering the similarly sized, fully electric EQC crossover in the U.S. next year; and elsewhere it’s testing the F-Cell, a plug-in hybrid, also based on the GLC, that combines a small battery with hydrogen fuel cell power. 

The new GLC350e will reach the U.S. market in the first half of 2020.