THE Mercedes-Benz GLC ‘four-door coupe’ SUV is about to join the BMW X4 in the fight for fashion-focused compact SUV buyers.
Revealed at an exclusive media function the night before the 2016 New York International Auto Show, the GLC follows a trend established by the bigger Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and wagon in prioritising sporty looks and driving at the cost of practicality and price.
The GLC Coupe – first shown in concept form at the 2015 Shanghai motor show – is built on the same Mercedes-Benz C-Class derived platform as the GLC wagon. Both GLC body styles sit on a 2870mm wheelbase, but Benz’s designers have worked to give the four-door Coupe a longer, lower side profile. Benz says the Coupe’s 4.73m body is 80mm longer, and the 1.6m roofline is 40mm lower – partly due to a lower, sportier suspension tune. As a result of this pursuit of the swoopy coupe silhouette, occupants can expect less headroom inside, and less luggage space.
The GLC coupe is slated to arrive in Australia around December 2016, and although four diesel and four petrol drivetrains (shared with GLC wagon) are planned globally, Australia is expected to cherry-pick a small selection to befit the GLC Coupe’s modest sales potential.
Initially, the GLC Coupe will be available with either a 155kW 2.0-litre petrol (GLC250) or 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine, the latter in 125kW tune in the GLC220d and stronger 150kW tune in the GLC250d.
Mercedes-Benz Australia has not announced pricing as yet, though insiders admitted to Wheels that Coupe models are likely to be priced above their more practical, less sporty GLC wagon equivalents (currently $67,900 for the GLC250, and $69,900 for the GLC250d).
Later, Mercedes Benz Australia is likely to add a more potent 180kW version of the 2.0-litre turbo petrol to a GLC300, and possibly add a more powerful diesel variant.
A range-topping GLC43 with a 270kW twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 is also on the cards, and we wouldn’t rule out a GLC63 AMG either, with the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 used in a number of other Mercedes sedans, wagons and sports cars.
All GLC Coupe models will be fitted with Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive, and come standard with sports suspension, including Benz’s Dynamic Select drivetrain customisation system. Adjustable dampers will be optional on entry-level models.
At the car’s New York unveiling, Mercedes designer Robert Lesnik was not backwards in promoting what he and Mercedes-Benz saw as the GLC Coupe’s visual appeal.
“This car will be a true member of our dream car family,” he said. “It has unparalleled dynamics and is highly capable off-road … It is cosy and sporty and has a powerful stance.”
He also effused extensively about the GLC Coupe’s design language.
“Sensual purity is the name of the design philosophy. The whole car is very round, full of tension. We do not do pronounced edges; we design surfaces between those edges. It is important that every surface is full and sensual.”