Wednesday 13 July 2016
Mercedes’ answer to the BMW X4 is finally here, so we grabbed the keys to find out what’s what.
This is Mercedes’ newest addition to its SUV line-up, and its second attempt at a coupe SUV. Sitting below the GLE Coupe in the range, the GLC Coupe is essentially a GLC with a sleeker, sportier body atop the SUV chassis.
But to dismiss this as a GLC for the fashion-conscious is to undersell this car somewhat, because the Coupe is also bestowed with more direct steering and a sportier suspension set-up that aims, in Mercedes’ words, to make this “the sports car among the mid-size SUVs”.
Under the bonnet you’ll find one of Mercedes’ now-ageing 2.1-litre diesel engines, but these will eventually be joined by a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, a twin-turbo V6 petrol and a plug-in hybrid. Sadly, though, the latter won’t be
with us until 2018.
For all Mercedes’ claims of dynamism, it’s difficult to get around the wanton stylishness of the GLC Coupe. The standard C-Class Coupe is a gorgeous machine, and there’s more than a hint of that sleek aesthetic about the GLC.
Somehow, though, it doesn’t sit all that well on the raised GLC chassis. It’s a muscular image, but there’s a little too much metalwork on the sides and the bumpers are a mite too deep to call it truly beautiful.
Yet as soon as you sit inside it, you know you’re in something a little bit more special than your common or garden SUV. The cabin is stock C-Class, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Even though the materials and build quality aren’t up to the standards set by Audi and BMW, there’s a sense of style and occasion that little else in this price range can match.
The cost of all the GLC Coupe’s stylishness, though, is practicality. There’s plenty of room in the front, and access to the rear seats is good thanks to the sensibly sized back doors, but taller rear-seat passengers will find that
headroom is at a premium.
Fortunately, the boot is capacious enough for items such as suitcases and golf clubs, but the boot floor seems to be quite a way up and hoisting heavier objects in and out may be a bit of a faff.
The GLC Coupe’s key strength lies on the tarmac. Sports suspension, which is optional on the normal GLC, comes as standard on the Coupe, while the track has been widened and the coupe body has lowered the centre of gravity.
As a result, the GLC Coupe’s road manners are very solid, especially considering the kerb weight of 1.8 tonnes. It isn’t what you’d call sporty, and it probably couldn’t even keep pace with the Porsche Macan, but it’s a match for the likes of the BMW X4 and Range Rover Evoque.
It isn’t just the handling that impresses, either. Even with its sporting pretensions, the GLC Coupe offers a smooth, comfortable ride, and despite the ageing engines it’s still quite refined. That’s helped by the excellent
nine-speed automatic gearbox, though, which does a great job of keeping the revs down and shifts seamlessly between ratios.
Prices start from £40,580, which buys you the 220d Sport model. That’s £3,000 more expensive than the equivalent GLC SUV, but there isn’t a lot of extra kit. In fact, apart from the suspension, steering and the bodywork, it’s absolutely identical to the SUV.
Even so, there’s plenty of standard equipment. The nine-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with 18-inch alloys, parking sensors and satellite navigation.
Upgrading to the £42,090 AMG Line, though, will earn you full Artico man-made leather, black headlining and myriad aesthetic tweaks both inside and out.
At present, the price structure is relatively flat thanks to the limited engine range, but once the V6 diesel-powered 350d arrives at the end of the year the prices will likely reach up towards the £50,000 mark.
The GLC Coupe is aimed squarely at stylish young professionals who want to join the SUV revolution without sacrificing the looks and handling of a coupe. It’s a pleasant surprise to find that it’s relatively practical, though, so some young families may be tempted.
Model: Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 250d 4MATIC AMG Line
Engine: 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel producing 201bhp and 369lb/ft
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic driving all four wheels
Performance: Top speed 138mph, 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds
Economy: 56.5mpg combined
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