Mercedes GLC Coupe

Only a little compromised by its one fell swoop

MICHAEL STAHL

FIRST OVERSEAS DRIVE

OH, how we laughed when, not so many years ago, BMW launched the X6, a Frankenwagon “crossover” of sports sedan, fastback coupe and sedan, fastback coupe and off-road SUV. “Who the hell would buy such a thing?” we wondered aloud, as it went on to sell in droves.

Today, the only crossover that makes the news is Caitlyn Jenner.

Mercedes-Benz, which came late to the SUV-coupe bandwagon with the GLE (previously ML) Coupe, is adding a similarly slopey-styled coupe to the smaller, sister GLC SUV.

First up, regardless of engine, all Oz-bound GLC Coupes will feature all-wheel drive, 9G-tronic auto, Dynamic Body Control suspension, 20-inch wheels, AMG Line exterior and interior styling, ‘diamond’ grille and 360-degree camera, all in an effort to distinguish the Coupe as the more sporting alternative.

At the December introduction in Oz, the range will comprise the 125kW/400Nm 220d diesel at $77,100, the 150kW/500Nm 250d diesel at $82,100, the 155kW/350Nm 250 petrol four (tested here) at $80,100 and the GLC43 AMG, price TBC.

The GLC Coupe prices represent a sizeable step of around $12,000 over their respective GLC SUV sisters. Yet the Coupe certainly looks different enough, being 76mm longer and 37mm lower, while sharing the same 2873mm wheelbase as the GLC wagon.

That translates to a comfortable and coupe-cosseting cockpit up front, with supportive, deeply sculpted seats. The rear bench visually suggests a sculpted twoseater style and offers plenty of knee and foot room; passengers shorter than 178cm won’t have issues once seated, but they’ll likely bang their heads while getting in and out. That sloping roof, high tailgate and thick pillars all conspire to rob visibility.

The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four makes the near-1.8 tonne 250 Coupe feel surprisingly agile, helped by the nine-speed auto that masks the engine’s quickly tapering top end. Another pleasant surprise is the steering, which is beautifully pointy and a standard suspension whose Dynamic Select brain-box extends all the way to Sport and Sport+ settings.

In our favoured Sport setting, the GLC250 Coupe cornered firm and flat, yet still rode with more than adequate comfort. While the suspension’s firmness and the throttle responsiveness changes noticeably across the range of settings, I couldn’t pick much difference in steering feel. It was perky and pointy all over.

All of which suggests that those who opt for the GLC Coupe over its stock SUV sister can justifiably do so on the basis of a better, more rewarding drive. le he nges h ver bly ore

PLUS & MINUS

Engine wheezy at high rpm; compromised headroom and vision Exterior styling; sharp dynamics; decent performance; comfort Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Mercedes-Benz GLC250 Coupe 1991cc 4cyl, dohc, 16v, turbo 155kW @ 5500rpm 350Nm @ 1200-4000rpm 9-speed automatic 1710kg 7.3sec (claimed) 7.3L/100km (EU) $80,100 December

Take your tablet

Coupe interior gets its own special style, intended to convey an intimate, fourseater feel. The separate, 7.0-inch tablet-type screen allows a finer, more flowing instrument panel. GLC Coupe interior designer Frederik Knothe crushes my hunch that this is about getting us ready for BYO tablets: “You already don’t really need to plug in your own device, because everything can be downloaded from the cloud,” he points out. y g