Mercedes-Benz says this model is the sports car option among a plethora of mid-size SUVs. Does James Fossdyke agree?
What is it?
It’s the stylish, sporty version of the new GLC 4×4, and it’s here to take on the BMW X4. If Mercedes is to be believed, this is the sports car among the mid-size SUVs. Underneath, it’s almost identical to the GLC, although some suspension tweaks have been brought in to make it more of a driver’s car. All in all, it’s a recipe that comes together surprisingly well.
What’s under the bonnet?
At launch, the only available engines are both 2.1-litre diesels. You can go for the 168bhp 220d, but arguably the best compromise of performance and efficiency is the 201bhp 250d. Later this year the smooth, powerful 3.0-litre 350d will join the stable, and a plug-in hybrid is expected in around two years’ time.
What’s the spec like?
From the driving seat, the GLC Coupe is practically indistinguishable from its SUV-bodied sister, sharing a classy cabin design and relatively generous equipment levels. A basic GLC 220d Sport Coupe costs £40,580, and that comes with satellite navigation, 18-inch alloys and a reversing camera, but the really desirable cars will come in AMG Line trim.
Starting at just over £42,000, that offers some sporty external touches, full Artico man-made leather and extra goodies such as the sports steering wheel and black rooflining
The only real problem, then, is that the Coupe costs £3,000 more than the equivalent GLC SUV, and that’s quite a premium to ask when all you really gain is some sporty suspension and a rakish tailgate.
What’s it like to drive?
It’s testament to Mercedes’ engineering that the GLC doesn’t quite drive like a normal SUV. Sure, it can’t compete with the C-Class through the bends, but it’s more than a match for the likes of the Range Rover Evoque and that’ll be enough for most customers. It’s comfy, too, ironing out potholes well and offering decent refinement despite the gruff 2.1-litre diesel under the bonnet. The nine-speed gearbox is something of a triumph too, providing seamless shifts and impressive economy for a car of this size and weight.
What do the press think?
Autocar said that the ‘cheaper, more practical and hardly ugly GLC remains the better buy’, while Auto Express commented that ‘although it certainly isn’t cheap, we expect it to deal a knockout blow to the BMW X4 when it arrives in the UK.’
What do we think?
The SUV market just keeps on growing, and this Coupe variant is only going to extend the appeal of the GLC range. It looks good, the handling is more composed than most 4x4s and it’s more practical than buyers might be expecting.