SUB­STANCE

Bolder de­sign and sportier han­dling high­light Mercedes-benz’s lat­est SUV coupé

Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE - MERCEDES-BENZ GLC250 COUPÉ 4MATIC PRICE: ETA: BY: WE ARE HERE

IT is a bit like watch­ing a ten­nis match, isn’t it? With car man­u­fac­tur­ers ei­ther see­ing a need to fill ev­ery pos­si­ble niche, or re­spond­ing to a new com­peti­tor, our heads are con­tin­u­ally swiv­el­ling left and right to keep up with the game.

This par­tic­u­lar match saw BMW first serve up the X6 and X4 – those swoopy coupé ver­sions of the X5 and X3 – to which Mercedes-benz some­what be­lat­edly re­turned with the GLE Coupé and now its smaller brother, the GLC Coupé. With the X6, and to a lesser ex­tent the X4, prov­ing strong sell­ers for BMW, Mercedes-benz is con­fi­dently pitch­ing for a slice of the mar­ket – a move surely based on the pos­i­tive sales re­cep­tion the GLC has re­ceived in­ter­na­tion­ally as well as here in South Africa. Al­though Mercedes-benz SA doesn’t re­lease sales fig­ures for in­di­vid­ual mod­els, based on the num­ber of GLCS on the road, we sus­pect it’s sell­ing very well in­deed. And that, of course, bodes well for the Coupé ver­sion.

The new model is markedly dif­fer­ent to the stan­dard GLC, and I’m not merely talk­ing about its roof line. Yes, its pro­file is new, but the Coupé is also longer, wider and, cu­ri­ously, higher, and cuts a dis­tinc­tive dash.

Un­derneath, how­ever, it is all GLC, al­beit some­what tweaked. The Coupé gets sport sus­pen­sion as stan­dard, to­gether with a steer­ing sys­tem cal­i­brated to be sharper and more di­rect. In ad­di­tion to the stan­dard Dy­namic Se­lect adap­tive sys­tem with its five modes (eco, com­fort, sport, sport+ and in­di­vid­ual), there are two fur­ther sus­pen­sion op­tions: Dy­namic Body Con­trol, which uses steel springs linked to adap­tive dampers; and Air Body Con­trol that fea­tures air sus­pen­sion. At higher speeds, an Air Body Con­trol-equipped GLC Coupé au­to­mat­i­cally low­ers by 15 mm, while the driver can also lift the car at slow speeds. We’ll

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