Class shines through

En­ter the Mercedes take on the sports util­ity coupe genre

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

BMW coined the phrase sports util­ity coupe and Mercedes is now weigh­ing in with its ver­sion, the GLC Coupe.

Avail­able ini­tially with three 2.0-litre turbo en­gine op­tions, the GLC Coupe has the per­for­mance bent to ri­val BMW’s X4.

Very few brash, high-rid­ing SUVs are en­dowed with this level of road­hold­ing and it should get even bet­ter when the more pow­er­ful Mercedes-AMG GLC43 ar­rives late this year.

For now the petrol GLC250 at $80,100 does more than enough to im­press, de­spite its $11,000 pre­mium over the com­pa­ra­ble GLC wagon.

The coupe body counts for some of the added cost but largely the ex­tra stan­dard gear pushes up the price.

Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia spokesman Jerry Sta­moulis says the GLC Coupe has been spec­i­fied as a sports ve­hi­cle rather than an SUV.

“Coupe buy­ers tend to want more fea­tures and we’ve equipped the GLC Coupe with that in mind,” he says.

The in­te­rior pre­sen­ta­tion and qual­ity help to lift the GLC Coupe over its ri­vals and es­tab­lish it as a lux­u­ri­ous SUV. The at­ten­tion to de­tail on the switchgear and stitch­ing is sin­gu­larly im­pres­sive.

De­fault gear in­cludes an AMG body kit with re­vised front and rear spoil­ers, cruise con­trol, dig­i­tal au­dio, sat­nav, tinted rear win­dows, power tail­gate, 360-de­gree cam­era, blind spot alert and semi­au­to­mated park­ing.

Prices start at $77,100 for the 220d, the base diesel with 125kW/400Nm and claimed fuel econ­omy of 5.8L/100km. The 250d, at $82,100, has the same of­fi­cial diesel use but pro­duces 150kW/500Nm.

The petrol 250 is good for 155kW/350Nm and claims 7.4L/100km.

There are no slouches, with re­spec­tive 0-100km/h times of 8.3, 7.6 and 7.3 sec­onds.

In 250 spec, there are leather trim, adap­tive sus­pen­sion, key­less en­try/start and the lat­est driv­ing as­sis­tance soft­ware, from ac­tive blind-spot and lane-keep­ing as­sist to adap­tive cruise con­trol with high­way steer­ing and rear cross-traf­fic alert.

The cur­va­ceous roof does won­ders for the GLC’s look but, as is com­mon with all cars with this pro­file, rear vi­sion is poor and rear head­room is re­duced to the point where taller adults will be brush­ing the roofliner if they’re up against the head­rest.

In con­trast rear legroom is good even with the driver’s seat ac­com­mo­dat­ing 180cm-plus bod­ies. The boot will take 500L but is wide rather than deep.

ON THE ROAD

The GLC Coupe looks good, goes well and han­dles bet­ter than most SUVs this size.

Push hard and you can feel the weight set­tle over the front wheels on en­ter­ing a cor­ner, then the body starts to lean into the turn. Com­mon sense then dic­tates the driver back off in con­sid­er­a­tion of the high-rid­ing mass be­fore the ve­hi­cle starts to get vague.

Un­til the GLC Coupe takes on our test route, it is hard to gauge whether it’s a dy­namic match for the X4 but ini­tial im­pres­sions sug­gest there won’t be much be­tween them.

Most own­ers won’t want to push the car to its lim­its and at any­thing be­low fran­tic pace the Coupe is an ag­ile and poised per­former.

The steer­ing is pre­cise and you can feel the adap­tive dampers chang­ing while tog­gling through the modes over a se­ries of speed humps. Air springs are an op­tion, steel springs are stan­dard.

For mine, the sus­pen­sion works best in the sports set­ting, where it’s marginally harsher on the ini­tial hit but quells mi­nor sec­ondary bounces bet­ter than the comfort set­ting.

The en­gines are paired with Benz’s nine-speed auto and the com­bi­na­tion of mul­ti­ple cogs and turbo en­gines with am­ple torque means there’s lit­tle de­lay be­fore the power ar­rives, no mat­ter the sit­u­a­tion.

A brief stint on gravel showed the all-wheel drive is up to a coun­try road run, if not tack­ling muddy tracks.

VER­DICT

Any­thing spun off the C-Class plat­form tends to shine and the GLC Coupe is no ex­cep­tion.

As a stylish SUV, it may be a niche ve­hi­cle but it is a wellex­e­cuted ex­am­ple of repack­ag­ing a proven for­mula.

At this price though, I’d be tempted to take the wagon.

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