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New York show: Mercedes GLC Coupe unveiled

Driver focus: Mercedes’ new GLC Coupe gets a wide range of powertrain choices, from a plug-in hybrid to an AMG 270kW 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6.

Sleeker, swoopier version of Mercedes GLC to take on the BMW X4 from December


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23 Mar 2016


MERCEDES-BENZ presented the GLC Coupe on the eve of its New York International Auto Show debut, nearly a year after the concept GLC coupe surfaced at the Shanghai event.

Due in Australia in December, the production version differs from the Chinese show car only in detail, ditching the usual motor-show garnishes such as electronic door handles, tiny exterior mirrors, massive wheels and ultra-aggressive diffuser and exhaust combos, for more practical (and production-ready) items.

However, the now-deeper tail-light shape and cleaner rear valance might come as a surprise to some observers.

While final pricing and specification data will be made available later in the year, do not expect the C253-series GLC Coupe to stray too far from its closest competitor, the BMW X4 that kicks off from $71,100 plus on-road costs.

Other rivals will include the Range Rover Evoque (from $52,515), Lexus RX200 (from $73,000), Jaguar F-Pace (from $74,340), and even the Porsche Macan (from $93,100).

The latter two will certainly feel the heat when the AMG high-performance version lobs in sometime during 2017.

At 4730mm long and 1600mm tall, the GLC Coupe is 76mm longer and 40mm lower than the (W205 C-Class-based) X253 GLC that shares much of its architecture, with a slightly shorter wheelbase to match.

The only common body panels between the two are the bonnet, front mudguards and lower front doors. Everything else has been altered for the sleeker new sister, including the pillar angles (with a more upright windscreen), while a back window wiper has been deleted because more aerodynamic profiling means water does not strike the glass, according to Mercedes. The Cd figure is a segment-leading 0.31.

Most of the GLC Coupe’s dashboard and interior fitout mimics that of the donor vehicle, although trim and equipment levels differ according to variant, to reflect a “more exclusive” positioning.

Interestingly, considering how much lower the vehicle is, door aperture entrance height remains the same as the regular vehicle, as does shoulder, leg, and elbow room ratings. No mention of how much less headroom there is, however, while boot capacity drops from 550 litres to 491L, or from 1600L to 1205L with the rear backrests folded.

A number of packages will be made available to help personalise the interior’s look, including an AMG Line set-up with sports seats, thicker steering wheel and other racier bits and pieces. Twenty-inch alloys will be the maximum-sized ex-factory wheels for now.

For now, Mercedes has announced eight model variants made up of four diesels and four petrols, including a plug-in hybrid (for some markets) and aforementioned AMG version. A 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in 125kW 220d and 150kW 250d guises are likely, with the company’s 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol powerplant starting with a 155kW 250 version probably becoming the Australian-market mainstay. That said, expect the AMG GLC 43 Coupe – employing a 270kW 3.0-litre V6 bi-turbo ­– to be popular.

That one can hit 100km/h in under 5.0 seconds.

For now, 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard on all versions, as is (Hybrid-aside) a 9G-tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes says that the GLC Coupe will come standard with sports suspension, but if that sounds like a recipe for a hard ride, the Dynamic Body Control with steel springs and adjustable dampers will only be a tick of an option box away.

Additionally, air suspension will be available, broadening the SUV’s dynamic range by also lowering the ride by 15mm (in Sport+ mode) for reduced body roll and a more-hunkered down attitude, as well as offering the best-possible cushioning. A more direct steering ratio of 15.1:1 (instead of the GLC’s 16.1:1) with modified power assistance further reflects this model’s driving enthusiast focus.

In Europe, 18-inch wheels are the smallest wheels, but Australia is likely to go for the 19-inch or even the 20-inch upgrade as standard. All models will include an automatic tailgate, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, vinyl upholstery (called Artico in Mercedes-speak) and a series of driver-assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking, Dynamic Cornering Assist and stability-enhancing Crosswind Assist.

Finally, the GLC Coupe is being introduced in an Edition 1 limited run, brandishing an AMG Line Exterior body kit, 20-inch alloys, an upgraded paint finish, and bi-colour leather upholstery.

Both the GLC and its Coupe offshoot are built in Bremen, Germany.

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