by Aiden Eksteen
The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe classifies as a compact luxury crossover SUV but gets the coupe appellation for its prominently sloping roofline that forms part of its core design. There aren't many brands that illustrate this strange styling (although their numbers are growing), and the GLC-Class Coupe's most clear-cut competition comes from the BMW X4, the Porsche Macan, and to a lesser extent, the Jaguar F-Pace. For the new model year, the GLC300 is fully redesigned and rides with an improved version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot mill it used last year, now dialed-up to deliver an additional 14 ponies for peak outputs of 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The GLC-Class Coupe is undoubtedly a premium SUV, its exterior and interior are modern and sophisticated and its performance nicely balanced with a refined ride, but its compromises for style seem unjustifiable when considering the price premium over and above the regular GLC-Class SUV.
The GLC-Class Coupe underwent a complete overhaul for the 2020 model year, coming in with a refreshed exterior design most noticeable in its new grille, slimmer headlight geometry, and redesigned front and rear fascias. Underneath the cosmetic enhancements sits a new, upgraded 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that's been dialed-up to produce an additional 14 hp over the old model and has been refined for better fuel-efficiency too. Moving to the interior sees a new-generation multifunction sport steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display, center console touchpad, and an updated design based on the brand's latest halo models. Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system has also been upgraded with a new-generation voice control system.
Though it gives a middle-finger to conventional and functional design, the GLC-Class Coupe's aesthetic is subjectively, very attractive. A prominent diamond-block grille with an integrated Mercedes-Benz star emblem adorns the GLC's commanding front end which along with its elegant body contours and sloping rear roofline make up its most distinguishable characteristics, all augmented by its standard-fit chrome detailing. Filling the GLC's wheel arches are 19-inch five-spoke aluminum wheels that come standard. All-LED exterior lighting is standard, with signature LED daytime running lights included.
The GLC Coupe's length of 183.3 inches, its height of 63.9 inches, and its width of 74.4 inches without mirrors place it firmly within the segment's average body dimensions. It shares its length with the standard GLC SUV but is a little lower in height by virtue of its sloping roofline, both share a wheelbase of 113.1 inches as well. The GLC Coupe's curb weight of 4,028 lbs is 51-pounds heavier than the GLC SUV 4MATIC which weighs 3,977 lbs.
Mercedes-Benz dialed-up the GLC Coupe's 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine for the 2020 model year, availing it with an additional 14 hp for total outputs of 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic gearbox drives those outputs to the GLC's 4MATIC all-wheel-drivetrain by default, with no option for RWD on the coupe-bodied derivative. The engine upgrade didn't do much for the GLC in terms of straight-line performance, with the GLC carrying over its 0-60 mph sprint time of 6.2 seconds.
The GLC Coupe performs admirably; with so much torque at hand, acceleration from a standstill is robust yet comfortably smooth, and getting up to highway speeds and overtaking slower cars on the highway couldn't be any easier.
It might not be an AMG derivative with firm suspension designed to hug the tarmac through corners, but the steering and suspension setup on the GLC Coupe give the coupe-crossover a surprisingly sporty drive and decent levels of engagement that the standard GLC is lacking. Even so, as a luxury crossover SUV, the GLC300 Coupe isn't designed for truly spirited driving in the same way a C-Class Coupe is; its steering isn't going to be tuned like a sports car's, delivering only casual levels of feedback and a weighting suited to everyday commuting. The SUV's height is noticeable around corners as well, with body roll present, even if mitigated fairly well. The brakes provide adequate feedback and sufficient stopping power but are not suited to spirited driving either.
In terms of ride quality, however, the GLC300 Coupe is vastly more pleasant on the road than AMG-tuned models, it feels smooth over imperfect road surfaces and managing body motions well over changing surfaces. Very little road noise permeates the superbly insulated cabin, isolating occupants from the world outside the way only a Mercedes could.
The GLC300's engine upgrade resulted in a slight improvement in gas mileage as well, from returning EPA estimates of 21/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined last year, it now returns estimates of 21/28/24 mpg. That's still not as fuel-efficient as the BMW X4 though which gets 23/28/25 mpg city/highway. Although it makes use of pricey premium gas only, the GLC300's 17.4-gallon gas tank should give it around 400 miles of range before requiring a refuel.
Though five passengers will fit into the premium cabin of the GLC Coupe, passenger headroom in the rear seats is compromised because of the Coupe's sloping roofline - the only hindrance to overall passenger comfort. The center rear seat is also a little tight, suited only to a child or teenager. The front and rear outboard seats are otherwise spacious, they're nicely cushioned for all-day comfort and feature appropriate levels of bolstering and contouring for support. Multi-way adjustment up front allows the driver to get the seating position just right, but the sloping roofline and slanted rear windscreen mean that rearward visibility is severely compromised.
Despite its sloping roofline, the GLC Coupe's 17.6 cubes of trunk space is not much of a compromise to the standard GLC SUV's 19.4 cubes and is still relatively competitive for the class. The GLC Coupe's cargo bay is more than enough for a full-size dog crate or four large travel bags. Standard 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats add a decent level of practicality and storage versatility, with all the seatbacks down, cargo space is expanded to 49.4 cubic feet, slightly down from the 56.5 cubic feet of the regular GLC300.
There are plenty of in-cabin storage solutions too, including spacious door-side pockets on all four doors, an expansive center armrest cubby, a large passenger-side glovebox, and a usable small-items storage bin.
A lot can be expected from the GLC Coupe in terms of features, with the standard consignment comprising keyless entry and ignition, an ECO start-stop system, and Dynamic Select. There's also a new-generation multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel with a power tilt-and-telescoping column, power-adjustable front seats with heating and position memory, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. It also comes standard-fit with a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, a power liftgate, and 64-color LED ambient lighting/illuminated front door sills. Driver-assist technologies include blind-spot assist with exit warning assist, crosswind assist, attention assist, hill-start assist, cruise control, and a rearview camera. There are many available options as well, including a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and heated rear outboard seats.
The 2020 redesign of the GLC sees the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment suite in place of the old COMAND system. It's a vast step up in terms of usability over the old system, if only for the fact that you can now control the 10.25-inch screen in a number of ways. The old rotary dial and touchpad controller remain, as do steering wheel commands, but the screen is now touch-operable and the voice control now works with Merc's artificial intelligence voice commands. Wake the system up with "Hey, Mercedes", and you can then control everything from the climate control to what you're listening to. It's fully enabled with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as HD Radio, SiriusXM, and Bluetooth. Navigation is optional, as is augmented reality navigation. The standard sound system can also be replaced with a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system.
The GLC300 has already been subject to three recalls, with problems ranging from unsecured driver airbags to active brake assist not engaging. The most recent of the three is for a potentially damaged circuit in the Emergency Call System that could relay an inaccurate vehicle location to emergency services after an accident. J.D. Power, nevertheless, gave the current year model a great quality and reliability rating of 83 out of 100. Mercedes covers the GLC300 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic and powertrain warranty along with four years/50,000 miles of roadside assist, all can be extended via Mercedes' options catalog.
Though neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have evaluated the coupe model of the GLC, both have tested the regular model for its crashworthiness, the NHTSA giving the GLC a five-star and four star rating for its side crash and rollover tests respectively, and the IIHS a top rating of Good in all six crash tests. Mercedes equips the GLC300 Coupe with an advanced suite of seven standard airbags including dual front, front side, side curtain, and a driver's knee airbag. Standard-fit driver-assist features include a rearview camera, cruise control, hill-start assist, crosswind assist, active brake assist, attention assist, and blind-spot assist with exit warning assist. Mercedes' PRE-SAFE pre-collision safety system and PRE-SAFE Sound system are also standard, both of which are meant to help reduce the effects of an accident.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe is without a doubt better than its ever been before. Its styling may have evolved only a little, but the new MBUX infotainment system is a revelation compared to last year's system. As we've come to expect from Mercedes-Benz, the GLC Coupe is loaded with features, gets high-quality materials, and top-class safety features. Add to this an extensive options list and in coupe guise, standard all-wheel-drive, and there's very little it does wrong. Rear passenger headroom is one such area, though, as is cargo volume, and when you compare its higher price tag and reduced practicality to a standard GLC, it's enough to make you wonder what the point is of buying one. Well, that point would be style, or rather perceived style and exclusivity. It's the same reason why the BMW X4 sells, and it's exactly the same reason we'd be happy to recommend a GLC Coupe to someone who doesn't need the extra practicality. In all other aspects, it's a comprehensive luxury SUV.
The GLC-Class Coupe is available in one solitary model, the GLC300 4MATIC. A starting price of $50,000 excludes destination and delivery charges of $995. This makes it $5,500 more than a comparable GLC300 4MATIC SUV, all for the sake of style, while dabbling in the options list can quickly see prices surge to over $70,000.
|GLC 300 4MATIC Coupe||
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
The GLC300 4MATIC Coupe is the only non-AMG member of the GLC Coupe family, but has its merits as a luxurious coupe-cum-SUV with a sense of style. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, and a power sunroof, while inside the cabin you can expect to find keyless start, heated power front seats, dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, and MB-Tex simulated leather upholstery. Taking pride of place on the dash is a 10.25-inch touchscreen running the MBUX infotainment suite, boasting full Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality as well as Mercedes' advanced voice command functionality. A broad range of standard safety features, with a wealth of optional items too, makes the GLC300 4MATIC Coupe a worthy pick.
The GLC and GLE Coupes are brothers of the same ilk - both coupe-styled SUVs wearing the three-pointed star. But the GLE falls into a larger category, with more space for both passengers and luggage in the cargo bay. But while we wait for the 2021 GLE Coupe - an all-new model - the 2019 GLE 43 Coupe is the base model from the GLE Coupe range. It's an AMG model, powered by a 385-hp twin-turbo V6 that simply leaves the GLC300 for dead. It rides a little more firmly too, but handles just as well as the smaller, nimbler GLC. The major difference is in the price, where the GLE 43 is $21,350 more expensive than the GLC300. It's a different beast, though, and most buyers will never cross-shop. For us, the composure and updated tech on the smaller GLC300 Coupe are more than good enough.
The BMW X4 is probably the GLC-Class Coupe's most direct competition, it too comes equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo-four, and while it only produces 248 horsepower, it's equally as potent on road as the GLC300, and even more frugal with EPA estimates of 23/28/25 mpg. The X4 is certainly the more capable and more enjoyable car as well, exhibiting far more prowess on the straights and through the corners. Unfortunately, both the X4 and the GLC-Class have the same flaws - decreased rear passenger space and a decreased cargo bay capacity, but the BMW has a couple of cubes more than the GLC300. The Merc's cabin is far more contemporary though, its infotainment suite is easier to live with, and the materials feel more luxuriant. Serious drivers need only apply for the X4, but those who want luxury and style should look the way of the Merc.