We live in an age where car segments encroach each other’s territories and borrow each other’s names! The ironic-sounding ‘4-door coupe’ is proof and now we have the ‘SUV coupe’. It all began in 2008, when BMW – after cashing in on X5 success – introduced the swoopy X6. Whether it was a design mishap or a deliberate action to fill segment gap, we don’t know, but what we know is that people have a liking for this uncanny design. Then the German automaker noticed that smaller SUVs are selling better, so they rolled out the X4. Meanwhile across-town, arch rival Mercedes has been quietly following suit with the bulbous-looking GLE Coupe and now one rival to the X4. This week we turn our heads to the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4MATIC Coupe and we speculate whether it will written off, as soon as it is rolled out!
DESIGN & AESTHETICS
We have all seen the GLC SUV – the swoopy replacement for the boxy GLK. The all-new GLC Coupe which bears the dimensions, such as 4732 mm length, 1602 mm height and 1890 mm width, is a shorter, longer and sleeker version of the GLC. People have shown a proclivity for the visual athleticism of such vehicles, thanks to their combination of a traditional crossover stance with the air-drafted sloping rear roofline of a coupe and we think the GLC Coupe will fare well too!
Let’s break down its aesthetics down, bit by bit, shall we? Like all other all cars that wear the coveted 3-pointed badge, this one too has to headlamp arrangement populated matching that of the rest of the family, C- E- or S-Class included. It’s also comes with the single-louvred diamond radiator grille, which looks like a set of chrome dots floating about in space, thanks to some ingenious engineering!
The raking rear end of the tin top is quite uncharacteristic and contradicts the natural law of SUVs – if there one – and will take you aback at first, but it will soon become an acquired taste. And thanks to this explicit mishmash of geometry, even in this sea of SUVs, the GLC Coupe maintains a distinct identity with arguably greater curb appeal than the X4.
Amongst the many trims available we think with the AMG kit is how it struts itself best. It replaces the 5-twin spoke 19-inch rims for larger and nicer 20-inch multi-spoke rims, which you can have in titanium grey or black. In the back, where often car designer tend to ignore, the GLC coupe excels with a befitting narrow taillights, centrally positioned brand star and a sharp spoiler lip that reflects a design of the superlative S-Class Coupe.
While we have been desensitized to outlandish designs of modern cars, the GLC Coupe gathers some favour with its tastefully execution of its metal guise and because of it, it can wear colours like the bright brilliant blue without looking sheepish.
Ofcourse, that sloping roof, cuts down interior space and rear head room, but not by a lot. The rear bench is still best for 2 adults in comfort, while 3 can sit abreast with some compromise of personal space. However, the driver’s seat is where you want to be, especially considering its sporting inclinations. The AMG-inspired interior line provides bolstered sports seats with upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfiber with an optional bi-colour look.
Space upfront is aplenty for except, the wide centre console is prone to some knee-knocking especially by taller folk. As for architecture, we have been familiarized with the GLC Coupe interiors long before it was conceived, thanks to its part-sharing scheme with the GLA, A- and C-Class. It’s a lovely composition of geometry with a premium feeling materials all around. We can credit its allure to the details like the stitching on the dashboard, the chunky sporty 3-spoke check and the satin-finish switchgear that elevate cabin ambience.
As for displays, you have a free-standing tablet style infotainment unit that sticks out atop the single-piece centre console panel on which all the buttons and knobs are laid out in a clutter-free fashion. Instead, most of the instructions come from the iDrive-like rotary knob called COMAND controller. While the instrumentation uses the devices old and new, with analogue dials for road and engine speed and mini digital screen for driver related reads-outs, in between.
POWERTRAIN & PERFORMANCE
Like the regular GLC, the Coupe comes with a choice of powertrains, starting with the 250 4MATIC – like our test car – which is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4 cylinder that makes 208 bhp…or 211 PS in new money. Then you have the ‘300’ with the same engine configuration, but an uprated output and finally the 43 AMG, which is the half-way house between the hot-blooded AMG and the domestic variety.
On start up, you can hear a little buzz form the engine. Switch to D using a transmission stalk on the steering column and then lean into the throttle and you’d find that the GLC responds with optimal urgency despite its engine’s smaller displacement. Whether its getting away from a traffic signal or when you cruising down the highway looking for the opportune moment to zip past traffic, you’d always find good delivery of power. We were counting by hand, but we do feel we eclipsed the 0 to 100 km/h claim of 7.3 seconds a few times.
Aiding the delivery of torque in a smooth fashion is, not a 6-speed, 7-speed or 8-speed transmission, but a 9G-TRONIC with….9-speeds, as you may have guessed! We think that for most owners, the available paddle shifters will catch dust in the 2nd month of ownership, but for the few who do like fiddle with function, you will find them reasonably responsive.
As standard, the GLC Coupe comes with sports suspension which is makes it roll less and more stable around turns. Add to that equation, 4MATIC all-wheel drive traction which puts power all on 4 corners and special driving modes like Sports and Sport Plus, which when you switch to, besides remapping the transmission to keep the revs at its aggressive best, also drops ride height by 15 mm, effectively turning this compact family of 5 carrier in dynamically enhanced SUV. In our runs we felt as if the Coupe stuck to the tarmac around curvatures and inspired confidence. However, the steering feel is light and lacks some degree of feedback, while the augmented vocals of the sports exhaust system does add some bark to the bite, but isn’t nearly as good as the AMG model.
In all honestly, for your run abouts, the ‘250’ will suffice, but the ‘300’ with 245 horses is apt!
As for gas-saving measures, the stop/start functionality, is a total winner, but can be annoying in this part of the world, especially when it switches off not just the engine but the air conditioner too. Merc claim that with its fuel economy ranging between 7.3 and 6.9l/100km and 66 litre tank you will only have to stop for petrol every 900 kilometres, but while that may be possible in the bounds of a test facility, in the real world where traffic is omnipresent and signals last upto 5 minutes, you’d do something closer to 12l/100km.
FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
Mercedes leads the way, forging new safety technologies like ABS which they first showcase in their flagship models and then it trickles down to the affordable models. Thanks to which, the GLC Coupe gets some serious kit too, like Active Blind Spot alert, BAS PLUS that helps you brake effectively; and PRE-SAFE Brake that warns the driver if the danger of a collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian is detected, and even brakes autonomously. You even get the magic of the 360 degree camera to show you around while you park, literally.
Even with the debilitating roofline, it can accommodate upto 500 litres of luggage, but sadly the spare wheel has no other refuge and eats up a chuck of it. But you can triple cargo space by dropping the rear seats, which you can do electronically from the back. There is also under floor storage and other clever ways to save your stuff!
While materials, comfort and powertrain are great parameters, nothing speaks of luxury like entertainment and to represent that is the optional 13-high-performance speaker Burmester system. In terms of sound reproduction, the treble and bass are on point, but overall it isn’t a great one, but a good one!
And then there is the air conditioning system, which is no unit from a Toyota or Nissan, but it works well when you leave it parked in the shade.
The world is crowded with SUVs, Mercedes-Benz themselves build half of them! And if you pick one from their pool you won’t go wrong. In that high-riding, cargo hauling fraternity, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4MATIC Coupe comes across as a stylish alternative with enough space to satisfy the term ‘Utility’ and enough grunt to fulfill the term ‘Sport’. As for vices, the wide centre console is prone to knee knocking and the spare tyre eats up boots space, not much more!
The Mercedes-Benz 260 D was the world’s first production diesel passenger car. The majority of the 2,000 units produced were bought by taxi drivers.
Body type: 5-seater; 4-door premium compact crossover SUV
Engine: Front-engine; turbocharged 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder; all-wheel drive
Transmission: 9G – TRONIC (automatic)
Peak output: 208 bhp @ 5,500 rpm; 350 Nm @ 1,200 – 4,000 rpm
0 to 100km/h: 7.3 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 222 km/h (drag limited; claimed)
Price: Starting at Dh217,000
Pros: Idiosyncratic looks; convenient size with space; useful powertrain choices and dynamics
Cons: Knee-knocking wide centre console; 3rd row best for 2 adults; pricey with options