Mercedes-Benz finds new niche with stylish coupe-like SUVs
08:09 09 January 2017
Mercedes-Benz has now launched a sleeker Coupe version of its GLC sport utility vehicle – stylish, sure-footed and sportier to drive. Motoring editor Andy Russell checks it out.
In a world of pick-and-mix car design, who would have thought coupe-styled sport utility vehicles would have created a sweet combination that has proved temptingly tasty.
Mercedes-Benz has now gone head to head with BMW’s X6 and X4 with the GLE Coupe which has now been joined by the newly-launched, smaller GLC Coupe which is longer and lower than the chunkier SUV, on which is it based, for a sleeker, more dynamic look.
I’ve struggled to see the appeal of the bigger coupe SUVs, which seem ungainly for a would-be sporty model, but the more compact GLC Coupe makes much more sense for those looking for standout styling in the SUV sector.
Despite its more sporty aspirations, diesels will dominate with 170 and 204hp versions of the 2.1-litre four-cylinder unit and a 258hp, 3.0-litre V6 alongside a 367hp, 3.0-litre, biturbo petrol V6.
Unfortunately with its C-Class roots, the GLC still gets the tried-and-tested four-cylinder engine rather than the new 2.0-litre unit from the E-Class, but, mated only to a slick new nine-speed automatic, it makes decent progress but gets gruff worked hard, not that you really need to with the strong mid-range punch.
The GLC Coupe gets quicker steering and standard sports suspension, with steel springs, tuned for a more dynamic drive is standard and it can also be had with adjustable damping as an option. Or you could go the whole hog and opt for £1,495 air suspension. Fitted to the test car, it covered all based, turning the GLC Coupe from luxury cruiser wafting along motorways to a more entertaining, sporty drive on twisty road by stiffening and lowering the suspension by 15mm.
The boot is slightly smaller than the GLC SUV but, at 500 litres, is still a useful size for luggage and there is some storage beneath the high floor. Drop the 40/20/40 rear seats backs and load volume rises to 1,400 litres. That sloping tailgate limits ultimate versatility but owners will be more interested in styling that stacking in large loads.
The cabin is roomy enough to carry up to five adults with adquate legroom in the back for six-footers and more headroom that you’d expect with that sloping roofline.
Available in Sport and AMG Line trims, all models come with satellite navigation, parking assist, keyless ignition, reversing camera, LED headlights, heated front seats and electric tailgate as standard. AMG Line gets bigger 19in wheels and sportier styling with the AMG bodykit. Even so, most owners will be tailoring their models with the styling, equipment and driver assistance packages.
Mercedes really is finding its niche with models like the GLC Coupe. The added excitement comes at a price but many people will pay it for the standout style and sense of exclusivity.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Price: Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d 4Matic AMG Line Coupe £43,695 (range £41,030 to £50,960)
Engine: 2,143cc, 204hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel mated to nine-speed automatic
Performance: 0-62mph 7.6 seconds; top speed 138mph
MPG: Urban 49.6; extra urban 60.1; combined 56.5
CO2 emissions: 143g/km
Warranty: Three years, unlimited mileage
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,732mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,096mm; H 1,602mm