We have already driven the GLE Coupé and that car’s been launched in India too. Now we are all set for the smaller coupé SUV from Mercedes-Benz – the GLC Coupé. And I am in North Italy’s Aosta valley to test the car. There are a lot of these coupé SUV’s that are set to make an appearance very soon, and not just from the premium brigade but also from the mass brands. Mercedes-Benz and BMW have the lead over everyone else with Land Rover and Audi scrambling to catch up. The GLC Coupé already has one direct rival in Europe – the BMW X4 – a car we are not going to be getting in India anytime soon. But the GLC Coupé will come, so that’s something to look forward to.
The car I’ve got with me is the GLC 300 4Matic Coupé (it’s the petrol variant, and is the one to be launched in India). Now, I have to say, this is the most proportionate coupé SUV that I can think of and it is really nice to look at, especially at the rear (yes, I am saying that!).
The roof comes down nice and gentle, it’s a short stubby boot and yet it’s not too tall. The rear incorporates what’s becoming a hallmark of all coupés from Mercedes-Benz – and that’s the signature tail light treatment, that looks really sharp. I don’t love the exaggerated chrome strip on the boot lid though, and think it’s a little overdone. It stands 1602 mm high and 4732mm long. That means it is 42 mm lower and 80 mm longer than the regular GLC. The fact that the car sits lower than the GLC is intentionally done by both the stylists and the engineers, because the lower height also gives the car a sportier dynamic.
Start driving the GLC Coupé and the first thing that grabs you, is how different the experience is as compared to when you drive the GLE and then the GLE Coupé. In this car you feel like you are sitting a lot lower, so it feels sporty in its profile right from the word go. And that is creditable. The location was perfect to test the agility of this car as I got elevation changes, plenty of tight corners and some mean hair pin bends to put it through the paces. And the car does impress.
Push it a little bit hard and it holds on, it’s very precise in everything it does. So I suppose it is very German in that sense! But the steering feels a little dead as it’s got a little bit of a weighty feel to it. And that isn’t a lot of fun now, is it? I would have expected a little more feedback especially in Sport Plus mode. Otherwise it does everything you want it to – it moves on nicely through corners and in Sport Plus mode, you get the longer gearing which allows you that extra sporty nudge.
It also sounds pretty good I have to say. The engine has an energetic note and gets you excited with its high-pitched growl. The 2 litre engine is ample and efficient, and the generous torque kicks in nice and low. The 9-speed auto is now becoming standard across the new Mercedes-Benz range. The standard 4matic all-wheel system transfers all that torque to the four wheels efficiently and quickly. It is too early to guess whether or not the Air Body Control air suspension will come to India. I did try that when I drove the 250d (one of the diesel variants on the GLC Coupé) but I have to say the standard Dynamic control is actually pretty good and could work just fine in India.
Mercedes-Benz says this car is a lot more dynamic than the regular GLC which means that it’s not just one or two parameters that have been tinkered with. In every aspect, the engineers have tried to make the car sportier.
So even when you look at the different suspension settings and of course the different driving modes, Mercedes-Benz says that each one is a little more dynamic, a little more sporty than on the regular GLC. Now to be honest – I can’t really vouch for that across each feature! Especially since my driving experience doesn’t involve the regular GLC to compare! But having driven that car extensively, I can tell you that it comes as a lot more sporty for sure.
The GLC Coupé will arrive in India in the second half of 2017 – and yes we will be getting the GLC 300 4Matic Coupé. I do hope the arrival of the GLC Coupé and then the Audi Q2 as well, will spur BMW into bringing us the X4 too!