by Roger Biermann
While coupes have classically been cars with only two doors, the definition has now evolved to include even SUVs with a sloping roofline. This is epitomized by both Mercedes-Benz and BMW, who are both running with this motif. The GLC 300 Coupe is just another entry into this peculiar category, sacrificing the daily practicality of the more traditional GLC 300 SUV, to give it what Mercedes believes to be a more sporty aesthetic. The Coupe is powered by the same 241-horsepower four-cylinder engine as its more "boxy" counterpart but delivers slightly improved handling characteristics. Sadly, as the crossover it is based on was never designed to be a sports car, no amount of tuning can hide the fact that the GLC 300 Coupe will never deliver a thrilling driving experience. All the sacrifices you are asked to make for these empty promises seem to be in vain. And for this, Mercedes asks you to shell out an additional $7,000. Is it really worth it?
Not much has changed for the 2019 edition of the GLC-Class SUV. Mechanically, it remains the same, but the base GLC 300 trim now receives heated front seats and a 115-volt AC power outlet as standard features. The optional features-list has been further enhanced with the introduction of tri-zone climate control, and the body paint color palette has been expanded.
Due to its coupe styling, the GLC 300 Coupe sports a sleeker design, with a more aerodynamic profile. The distinctive sloping roofline identifies the GLC from its stablemates. The front grille displays the Mercedes three-point star, and both the head- and taillights are slim LED items. The Coupe rides on slightly larger 19-inch wheels and comes standard with a glass sunroof.
With a length of 186.3 inches, a width of 82.5 inches, and a height of 63 inches, the GLC is absolutely average in size for the compact luxury crossover segment. The wheelbase is equally on par with competitors at 113.1 inches, while a curb weight of 4,045 lbs doesn't make it any heavier or lighter than most of the competition, but does make it slightly heavier than the 3,889 lbs of the regular GLC.
A single engine option is offered on the GLC 300 Coupe, a turbocharged inline-four that displaces 2.0 liters to produce 241 hp and 273 lb-ft. This power is regulated by a nine-speed automatic transmission, which directs it to all four wheels via Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.
In this guise, the SUV is rated to reach 60 mph front standstill in around 6.2 seconds. With this much torque on hand, the Mercedes doesn't struggle to merge onto the highway or zip between traffic lights around town. The engine is also capable enough to tow, but maximum towing capacity is limited to 3,500 lbs.
With the implied sportiness of the coupe styling, the GLC 300 comes equipped with specifically tuned suspension and steering that give it a bit more engagement than its full-body counterpart. While the AMG variants may offer more power and athleticism, the regular Coupe delivers a much more pleasant riding experience, thanks in part to its smaller wheels.
Still, this is an SUV, so don't expect the steering to draw you in like a sports car would. The brakes, too, are designed for safety over fun, providing adequate feedback and sufficient stopping power - but they aren't meant for daredevil driving.
Seat comfort is top-notch, with multidirectional power adjustability and standard heating. Noise is kept to a minimum thanks to the well-insulated cabin, with engine noise not impacting passengers too much. The car's Dynamic Select system lets you choose where you want the focus to be: economy, sporty handling, or ride comfort.
Considering its size and turbocharged engine, the GLC 300 Coupe gets reasonable mileage. With an EPA-estimated 21/27/23 mpg over the city/highway/combined cycles, the SUV is on par with its nearest rival, the BMW X4. The Audi Q5 gets marginally better fuel economy. The Merc's 17.4-gallon fuel tank means it can travel up to 400 miles between refuels, but these will cost you quite a bit as the engine burns premium gasoline.
Capable of seating up to five, the Coupe boasts an interior that oozes style and comfort. MB-Tex faux leather upholstery comes standard, with optional leather or designo Nappa leather for opulent luxury. However, all this comfort is undermined by a lack of space. Those in the front seats don't really suffer from the coupe design, but rear passengers may curse you for not choosing the basic SUV body. Full-size adults will struggle to fit in the back, with the middle seat being utterly useless for all but the smallest of children.
Trunk space, in terms of cubic feet, is not too bad for the segment at 17.6 cubic feet. However, due to the sloping roof, this space is not necessarily as functional as you might like. This is still enough space for grocery shopping and day-to-day chores, but when it comes to moving larger items, other SUVs have the edge over the GLC Coupe. This remains the case when you lower the rear seats, which frees up a total area of 49.4 cubic feet. The 40/20/40 split is also relatively practical, allowing the storage of longer items without compromising on the two outboard rear seats.
Small-item storage isn't lacking, with various nooks to store your phone, keys, and other odds and ends. The door pockets are particularly spacious, and the center armrest provides enough room for larger items.
Features are abundant on the GLC-Class SUV Coupe, with standard equipment comprising a multifunction driver information display, Dynamic Select drive modes, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a glass sunroof, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 115-volt AC power outlet, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and ignition, power front seats with position memory, and heated front seats. Safety is ensured by the standard rearview mirror, active brake assist, driver-attention assist, adaptive braking technology, automatic emergency braking, and the Pre-Safe safety suite. Available options include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a head-up display, tri-zone climate control, blind-spot monitoring, cruise control, Pre-Safe Plus, and various active safety features like steering assist, blind-spot assist, and lane-keep assist.
While high-quality, the infotainment system is a bit clumsy to use. Standard equipment includes a seven-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, dual USB ports, Mercedes me connect services, and an eight-speaker audio system with CD playback and HD Radio. Through the various packages, you can also add Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, COMAND Navigation, SiriusXM Traffic, and prewiring for a rear-seat entertainment system.
J.D. Power awarded the 2018 edition of the GLC 300 with a dependability rating of 87 out of 100. With no mechanical changes, the 2019 model will likely get a similar score. Over the years, the SUV has been subject to a number of minor recalls. In 2018, several recalls were issued for errors regarding airbags, while one recall was due to faulty rear seat belts. In 2017, the vehicle was recalled for problems relating to the sunroof. Mercedes offers a 50,000-mile/48-month limited warranty and a 50,000-mile/48-month powertrain warranty and 50,000-mile/48-month roadside assist, but these can be expanded through the options catalog.
While the GLC 300 Coupe has not been evaluated by the NHTSA, the SUV variant has, receiving a five-star rating. Similarly, the IIHS has tested the SUV model, giving it an overall rating of Good and awarding it Top Safety Pick status. This is not surprising considering the host of standard safety features equipped to the model. These comprise active brake assist, driver-attention assist, crosswind assist, adaptive braking technology, electronic stability, seven airbags, rain-sense wipers, and the Pre-Safe safety suite.
The GLC 300 Coupe provides the same level of performance as the SUV and comes equipped with all the same features, for both infotainment and safety. In this regard, it is a great car since the GLC-Class is well-equipped and offers premium levels of comfort. However, even the SUV body doesn't provide particularly impressive headroom, and the Coupe sacrifices even more in an attempt to make the car look and feel sportier.
True, the suspension and steering are tuned to service the sleeker body better, but the difference is not as pronounced as you may hope for. Unfortunately, the sacrifices far outweigh any potential gain, with trunk space and rear-seat comfort taking a hit. Regardless of the shape of the body, this is still a crossover SUV, and with that comes certain expectations - family-oriented practicality being prime among these.
So while the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe may be a perfectly acceptable vehicle on its own, when you compare it to the cheaper SUV variant, it simply doesn't feel as well-rounded or functional.
Without all the optional bells and whistles, the GLC 300 will set you back a modest $47,300. This is a bit less than the new BMW X4. These prices exclude tax, licensing, registration, and Mercedes' $995 destination fee, as well as options, which when equipped can quickly bulk up the price to exorbitant standards.
|GLC 300 4MATIC Coupe||
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
The only non-AMG, non-hybrid GLC Coupe is the GLC 300, so there really isn't much choice here unless you are willing to shell out a lot more for the performance-focused variants. Still, the GLC 300 comes with everything you could want in a small luxury SUV; the infotainment is adequate, comfort is a focus area, and performance is far from lacking. However, the car's weak points can be shored up by opting for select packages, such as the Smartphone Integration Package or the Multimedia Package; just keep in mind that these two packages are not compatible with one another. The Driver Assistance and Parking Assistance packages are nice to have if you need a little reassurance driving a larger vehicle.
As the earliest family-oriented crossover from Mercedes, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class (or ML as it was known way back when) has a heritage of luxury combined with performance. It is a bit higher on the pecking order of Mercs, so it does cost quite a bit more, but you also get a lot more in exchange for the higher price. With a starting cost $20,000 above the GLC's, the GLE offers more of… everything, really. It looks better, puts a lot more power at your fingertips in the form of 385 hp and 384 lb-ft, supplies more interior space both for passengers and cargo, and delivers a riding experience that is second to few. Tech features are top of the range, and the interior is pure opulence. Overall, this is basically what a Mercedes was designed to be, and the GLE does it better than the GLC. So, unless price is indeed a limiting factor, bigger is better in this case.
Unlike the GLC, the BMW X4 offers two engine choices, with the first being basically on par with the Merc, while the second delivers a more impressive 355 hp and 365 lb-ft. This alone gives the BMW more to recommend itself in terms of a thrilling driving experience. Couple this with handling dynamics that are marginally better than the GLC, and you can see why the X4 starts pulling into the lead. Sadly, it suffers from the same shortcomings as its rival, namely poor headroom and cargo space - but, it is on par when it comes to comfort and feature availability. These sacrifices of practicality are the trademark of the coupe, and the X4 offers slightly more of what you are looking for in the sportier offering. However, it does come in at a slightly higher price tag.