Class shines through
Enter the Mercedes take on the sports utility coupe genre
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.
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.