The SUV-meets-coupe niche begins to make sense
- Purposeful stance
- Sporty handling
- Roomy, quality cabin
- Restricted engine range
- High boot lip and floor
Representing a continued fascination for the fusion of different bodystyles, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe combines the high-rise purposefulness of an SUV with an aggressively sloping roofline that visually smacks of rear-seat space compromise.
Thankfully, there’s almost as much room in the back of the Coupe as there is in the regular, more perpendicular Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV.
There are few direct rivals for the Mercedes to battle against – its primary opponent is the BMW X4, itself a coupe version of the X3, while the Range Rover Evoque Coupe is compromised by its three-door layout, making the five-door closer in spirit to this GLC. Plus, there’s the Lexus NX, although like the Evoque, its styling blurs the boundaries between traditional SUV and this new style of coupe.
Sporty, family-friendly coupe
Buyers with children or grandkids tend to shun regular two- and three-door coupes due to their inherent lack of practicality – alternatives such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe remain ‘personal cars’, the rear seats of which will barely be used.
Crossovers and SUVs continue to grow in popularity, but as with more conventional cars, not everyone wants to drive something with a boxy estate silhouette, hence these rakish coupes which are set to become a growth area for a number of manufacturers. Of course, in reality, it’s less of a coupe and more of a hatchback.
Because it's focused on families being the primary purchasers of SUVs, the GLC Coupe remains a largely sensible proposition, with five doors and just about enough rear headroom for a six-foot tall adult.
Raise the large electric tailgate for greater evidence of how the coupe-ing process has limited the GLC’s practicality. On paper, it only loses out to the tune of 50 litres of boot space to its SUV sibling, but the Coupe’s loading lip and boot floor are very high in comparison. The floor lifts to reveal a deep well, almost as large as the carpeted area above, and is lockable for greater security.
Diesel efficiency dominates the engine range
Most Britons buy diesel-engined Mercedes cars and the GLC Coupe reflects this, with only one petrol-powered derivative – the punchier Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 – set to be sold in the UK.
Initially the range will consist of two derivatives, both with the aging 2.1-litre diesel installed: the GLC 220 d packs 170hp while the GLC 250 d has 204hp available.
Both are equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission and direct power to all four wheels via Mercedes’ 4Matic system.
In spite of the power differences, both have a claimed fuel consumption of 56.5mpg, with CO2 emissions as low as 131g/km, just 2g/km higher than the GLC SUV.
Joining the AMG GLC 43 later in 2016 is a higher-powered 3.0-litre V6 diesel GLC 350 d producing 258hp. We’ve driven this version too and found it didn’t deliver significantly more real-world performance than the 250 d but felt more refined.
There will also be a plug-in hybrid GLC 350 e joining the range during 2018, but this will mechanically differ from the version already sold in various left-hand drive markets.
Familiar high-quality interior
If you’ve spent time inside any of the C-Class family lately, the Mercedes GLC Coupe’s cabin won’t feel remotely disorienting.
That’s no bad thing as the dashboard is one of the most stylish – and well-built – in the SUV segment, with a variety of colour and applique options depending upon the trim level chosen.
Two levels of specification are available from launch: Sport and AMG Line, the latter expected to make up more than half of sales despite being more expensive.
While both trims are well-appointed, in traditional Mercedes style there’s a raft of optional equipment to tailor the GLC Coupe to your tastes – we would recommend the air suspension system being top of your list of extra-cost kit.