Future Models - Mercedes-Benz 2016 GLC Coupe
New York show: Benz GLC Coupe is no BMW X4 clone
Sports focussed: Mercedes says the GLC Coupe will appeal to a buyer that appreciates sporty and dynamic performance.
Mercedes says sporty design, sharp handling separate GLC Coupe and BMW X4
29 March 2016
MERCEDES-BENZ has denied that its new GLC Coupe is just a copycat of version of
BMW’s swoopy X4 crossover, saying that such a vehicle was always in the company’
s SUV strategy for some time.
Speaking with Australian journalists at the New York motor show last week,
Mercedes-Benz GLC chief engineer Michael Kelz said that discussions for a
coupe-style SUV started when the overall architectural strategy was being
discussed more than six years ago, well before the X4 made its market debut in
“We always have had our own coupe strategy,” Mr Kelz said. “And the GLC Coupe
is definitely a competitor to the X4 no doubt. But we have our own ideas about
how a car like that has to drive, and how a car like that has to look.”
While acknowledging that many pundits will compare the GLC Coupe to its obvious
Bavarian rival, Mr Kelz said he believes that the Mercedes SUV’s sportiness
will immediately set it apart from the others.
“It is always interesting to compare, but on the other hand, we think we are on
the right path with our Mercedes way, so for us it is very important that with
the Coupe design, also we would have a more sporty car, so we would have
certain shift towards sportiness, and so we took everything into account to
make this possible.
“So finally we changed the steering ratio on the car, so we have more direct
steering in the car (it’s at 15.1:1 in the GLC Coupe instead of the GLC Wagon’s
16.1:1); we have the mixed tyres on the car which makes it sportier; we have
the sports seats in the car to give it a sportier flavour; and we have the
Dynamic Body Control in the car, which gives it a nice substitute to a regular
sports drive, with variable continuous dampening system for more comfort.
“And so finally, with these four things, especially designated to this car, we
think we have the right stuff in the portfolio to build a car like that.”
Mr Kelz said the GLC Coupe’s optional Dynamic Body Control – a system with
steel springs and adjustable dampers that counteract leaning forces, lowers the
vehicle’s centre of gravity, as well as offers a suppler ride quality when
required – will set it apart from competitors vying for the driving enthusiast.
Air suspension will also be available, lowering the ride height by 15mm in
Sport+ mode for reduced bodyroll and a more-hunkered down attitude.
“The Dynamic Body Control we first launched in the new E-Class E400, we now
bring it to the GLC, and we think for the most sporty drivers, we have a nice
combination there, so it is taking Mercedes’ confidence and Mercedes’ drive
ideas out of the box, and bringing it to that car.”
One similarity between the GLC Coupe and the BMW X4 is their limited off-road
capability, despite the Benz having a 45mm-higher ground clearance than the
C-Class sedan and wagon, but Mr Kelz said buyers looking to head to trickier
terrain might be better off in the regular GLC.
“If you look at the wheel sizes, the C-Class has 660mm wheels and the GLC Coupe
is driving on 750mm, so you have a difference of 90mm, and half of that is
clearance, so that is about 45mm higher,” Mr Kelz said.
“And as we were coming from the GLC wagon itself, we did not need the off-road
packages; the longer design of the Coupe and its extra rear overhang would not
give owners the opportunity for a very strong departure angle… we would need to
do another design. In every other way, it is as capable as the GLC wagon.”
The GLC Coupe will arrive in Australian Benz showrooms in December this year
and sit under the larger GLE Coupe in the line-up.