Here at GTspirit we are very fortunate to be invited to a number of exclusive and extremely special events. The latest exclusive invitation we received had us flying over to Stuttgart to experience the new Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe, a car that has not yet been officially unveiled, we will all have to wait to the New York International Auto Show 2016 to see it in the metal without the camouflage.
The exclusive preview I had been invited to attend took place in a very special venue indeed, the Mercedes-Benz Center Of Excellence in Sindelfingen, a venue that used to be the main port of call for all Maybach customers.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe is very significant in the sports activity vehicle market along with the GLC that is it based upon. Replacing the GLK that proved to be extremely successful, particularly in the United States, the GLC range will aim to compete with the likes of the Audi Q2/3, Range Rover Evoque, BMW X1/3, and Porsche Macan, no easy task.
The car I was experiencing was equipped with a 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine badged the GLC 300, this is currently not available on the the standard GLC. This meant I had 241 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque under the hood. The driving experience was dominated by the five different driving modes that could be selected by scrolling the small drive selector in the centre console. These ranged from Eco to Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and an individual setting where a number of different characteristics such as the suspension, steering and throttle response could be chosen and combined into one mode.
From the passenger seat it is never easy to assess how a car feels to drive, but a few things were evident. I am no stranger to the likes of Sport and different mode selection buttons. I always approach them with apprehension as they tend to do very little. This is most certainly not the case with the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. In comfort the car rides very well considering that it has huge AMG line wheels, as you approach bends with any speed and body roll is evident as the horizon over the dashboard tilts rather significantly.
The story in Sport mode is very different indeed. The car controls its weight and height incredibly well in stark contrast to comfort, body roll is almost absent. Furthermore, the exhaust sound deepens and there is a distinct and rather entertaining bang on shifts. I will have to reserve judgement on the rest of the car’s driving characteristics such as the revised steering until driving the car. One aspect that I can comment on is the interior. The car carries over the same dashboard as the GLC and is instantly familiar as the same layout is present in the A, B, C, GLA, GLC, CLA and more models.
This is no bad thing, the interior is well built and functional, but it would be great to see a little variation and creativity from the designers, that being said, there will be upholstery options unique to the Coupe. When lowering the roof line to achieve the sleek coupe look the concern is that the cabin and rear headroom will be compromised. This is not a problem in the GLC Coupe, both head and leg room are ample.
The GLC Coupe is a car that we are sure will generate huge demand. It features all the safety, technology and build quality that all Mercedes-Benz cars are renowned for in a small SUV body with the lines of a coupe. Expect to see many in a city near you later in Autumn 2016 when deliveries will commence.
As mentioned the car will be unveiled at NYIAS 2016. There will be a range of diesel and petrol engines offered, expect to see AMG variants too. For more on the GLC, be sure to check out our first impressions and full review!