£41,030 - £53,955 Price range
33 - 56 MPG
Motoring journalists might like to ponder the point of SUV-based coupes, but the fact is people want to buy them and therefore car builders must sell them.
This then is the new Mercedes GLC Coupe that will target the BMW X4 – a car that has, until now, enjoyed a monopoly of the class. The fun-to-drive Porsche Macan and classy Range Rover Evoque lack coupe body styles, but are also worth considering.
It’s the use of shared platforms that allows manufacturers to produce these niche models, so it follows that the GLC Coupe is based on the C-Class saloon and shares many of the GLC SUV’s body panels, though a sweeping roofline makes it look sportier.
However, it also makes it less practical – so there’s less rear headroom, the back bench has been dropped in favour of two individual rear seats, and the boot is also 50 litres smaller than the GLC’s.
The engines offered will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Mercedes range. For now you can choose from two 2.1-litre diesels fitted to the 220d and 250d. They’ll soon be joined by the smooth and powerful six-cylinder 350d and the performance-orientated GLC43.
To tie in with coupe buyers’ sporty aspirations, the GLC sits 42mm lower than the regular car, comes as standard with the company’s stiffer sports suspension and also gets quicker steering.
Standard equipment includes Garmin sat-nav, autonomous parking, a man-made leather interior, keyless start and powerful LED headlights.
Mercedes interiors have taken a significant turn for the better in recent years, with both the C and E-Class successfully mimicking the inners of the range-topping S-Class.
As with those three, the GLC Coupe gets a minimalist design that’s high on expensive-feeling materials and low on conventional buttons that cause clutter. The car’s metal circular air vents feel expensive as does (ironically) the artificial Artico leather and there are plenty of classy trim choices – our favourite being the non-varnished bare wood option.
The infotainment system is also great to look at with crisp graphics and a high-definition rearview camera that makes the display in rivals look slightly foggy.
Operating the infotainment system isn’t such a joy, however. The mix of a touch control and rotary dial can be confusing to use – particularly when on the move – and the menus aren’t as logically laid out as they are in a BMW X4. Sadly, Apple CarPlay isn’t available.
Mercedes GLC Coupe passenger space
The GLC Coupe’s slopping roofline hasn’t harmed rear passenger space too badly. Taller adults may brush their hair on the roof occasionally, but aside from that it’s not all that bad, with loads of shoulder and elbow room (it only has two seats, though), and plenty of legroom. Up front you may as well be in the regular GLC – there’s loads of head and legroom, plus plenty of adjustment to get comfy behind the steering wheel.
Mercedes GLC Coupe boot space
The sporty profile also harms boot space, but a 500-litre capacity should do for most families and, with the rear seats folded down, you can expect the Coupe to have a van-like load bay. Getting stuff in will be more of an issue, though, thanks to the boot’s high load lip.
How the GLC Coupe drives depends very much on how you specify it – primarily whether you stick with the standard steel springs or go for the £1,495 air suspension.
Left as it comes, the Mercedes has a less-than perfect ride that doesn’t really suit the rest of the car’s comfy feel. It still handles reasonably well, though. All models come with torque vectoring that can trim your line coming into corners and help catapult you out the other side. Sharper steering makes it keener to turn in too.
However, we would forget the sporty pretences altogether by specifying the air suspension. It gives the GLC Coupe a magic-carpet ride that floats over lumps and uneven surfaces in a way that’s worthy of a luxurious saloon. Going for the air suspension does mean sacrificing a little precision – you never feel truly connected to the road but, in a car like this, it’s a price that’s well worth paying.
Particularly when all models come with Mercedes’ excellent nine-speed gearbox. It changes gears almost imperceptibly and in top gear the engine barely needs to pass tick over. Sportier gear changes can be had by selecting Sport in the drive select system, which also adds weight to the steering, sharpens the throttle and (when fitted with air suspension) stiffens up the ride.
While few GLC Coupes will ever venture off road, four-wheel drive comes as standard meaning the it’ll be capable on slippery surfaces and ideally suited to towing.
While the latest Mercedes E-Class gets an all-new 2.0-litre diesel, the GLC Coupe soldiers on with the dated 2.1-litre version in two states of tune. In time buyers will also be able to choose from the 3.0-litre diesel fitted to the 350d and the thirsty twin-turbocharged petrol fitted to the GLC43.
Mercedes GLC Coupe diesel engines
The 250d is expected to be the best-selling engine and that doesn’t come as a big surprise as it blends 201hp and performance of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds, with fuel economy of 56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 131g/km for road tax of £130. Go for the 220d and running costs remain the same, but power drops to 168hp and the 0-62mph time goes up to 8.3 seconds. Whichever model you go for, though, the 2.1-litre diesel is noisier than the new 2.0-litre and can sound gruff under hard acceleration in a way that isn’t befitting of a plus-£30,000 Mercedes.
Mercedes is keen you make an expensive visit to the options list and offers the GLC with just two trim levels to encourage you to do just that.
Mercedes GLC Coupe Sport
Maybe we’re being a little harsh, because you’re unlikely to find the Mercedes under equipped even if you do stick to a basic Sport model. It comes with Garmin sat-nav, park assist, man-made leather upholstery, keyless start, a reversing camera, LED head lights; heated front seats, an electrically operated tail gate, plus automatic dimming mirrors.
Mercedes GLC Coupe AMG Line
AMG Line trim basically equates to a styling pack that includes a body kit, 19-inch alloy wheels and a diamond-style grille. Inside, there’s an AMG flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, brushed steel sports pedals and a black roof lining.
Mercedes GLC Coupe options
As mentioned, there are a number of packages you can use to boost the standard specification of your GLC including the Premium Pack and the Premium Pack Plus. Costing £1,495 the former includes ambient lighting, a sliding glass sunroof, keyless-go snd electric memory front seats.
The £2,795 Premium Plus package gets you the COMAND Online infotainment system, which swaps the standard seven-inch display for a natty looking 8.4-inch version with a higher resolution. Also included is a powerful 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system that comes complete with expensive-looking laser-cut speaker housings.
So the Mercedes GLC Coupe takes everything we love about the standard GLC – a high-quality, refined interior; a comfortable ride and affordable running costs – then adds a sportier body and sharper handling.
As a result it is bound to be popular with families who need the practicality of an SUV, but aren’t willing to accept the stodgy looks that are inherent of the breed. An element of exclusivity is bound to be another lure and one that should be cemented by the £3,000 premium Mercedes will charge you against the regular car.