We head to Italy to drive Mercedes’ new SUV-coupe to see if it has what it takes to put this niche segment on the mainstream path.
What is it?
Mercedes’ second product in the growing ‘SUV-coupe’ segment. The GLC Coupe joins its older sibling, the GLE Coupe to take on BMW which literally created this segment with the X6 and the X4.
The Coupe borrows its underpinnings and bits like the lower door panels, front fenders and the bonnet from the GLC SUV, on which it is based. The coupe, however, gets sportier bumpers, a heavily angled windscreen and of course, a plunging roofline. The lift-back tailgate tapers over a rear overhang that's longer than that of the standard GLC SUV. In terms of dimensions, the Coupe is about 80mm longer and 40mm shorter than the SUV version.
Getting an SUV to carry off a coupé body style is always going to be a challenge, but the GLC probably does it the best with little bulk and flab about its body. The lines are all taut and tucked in giving it the impression of a well-toned athlete. Going up against its main rival, the yet-to-be-launched-in-India X4, the GLC Coupe has a lot going for it in terms of proportions and styling details.
While the standard GLC gets the regular twin-bar grille, the Coupe gets Merc’s sportier ‘diamond’ grille. The headlights are the now familiar Mercedes signature units. Adding to the sporty character are large air inlets on the front bumper.
The side view is obviously dominated by the stretched coupé roofline. The lower sill has optionally available running boards that are not your typical large-SUV style units but are sleeker and smaller. The alloys on the car we drove were twin five-spoke units that did add a lot to the sporty appeal.
At the rear is the styling theme that made its debuted on the S-class Coupe and which all Mercedes coupés have since followed. So you have narrow horizontally oriented split tail-lights, a centrally positioned three-pointed star and a sharp spoiler lip. The exhaust tips are integrated into the bumper that has its lower edge in black to cleverly break up the visual mass.