At first glance, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe looks like an imitation of BMW’s bulging X6. But the Merc has turned out to be a far more elegant interpretation of the “Coupe sport utility vehicle (SUV)” genre invented by its Bavarian rival.
Although both cars share a somewhat similar silhouette, the GLC Coupe comes across as sportier and more stylish. And it is far more attractive on the road than it is on a page. Its distinctive rear light arrangement adds to its good looks.
And more surprisingly, it is quite engaging at the wheel. The AMG-tuned variant is a joy to behold.
Like all “AMG-light” models, the GLC43 Coupe is equipped with a muscular biturbo 3-litre V6 that churns out 367bhp and 520Nm of deliciously smooth torque.
Performance is a given, but what makes this Merc so pleasurable is that it feels dynamic even when you are driving it leisurely.
In its normal driving mode, the car is relaxed but still adequately brisk with appropriate pedal pressure. It makes a nice sound, even when driven lightly.
Sport mode is better, but Sport+ is a tad aggressive to be used here.
The cockpit is characteristically Mercedes, with top-notch ergonomics and ease of use. Its steering-mounted transmission lever is still one of the best ideas Mercedes has revived.
Like most Mercs, the GLC43 offers a high level of predictability at the helm. Every input from your hands or your foot achieves almost exactly what you hope to achieve.
The GLC43’s steering is a wee bit twitchy, but that is not a bad thing for a performance-oriented car. Its ride is on the firm side, which again is to be expected.
ENGINE: 2,996cc 24-valve V6 biturbo
POWER: 367bhp at 5,500rpm
TORQUE: 520Nm at 2,500-4,500rpm
0-100KMH: 4.9 seconds
TOP SPEED: 250kmh (electronically limited)
But on the whole, these traits go well with the drivetrain and everything works well to deliver a level of ride and handling you normally would not associate with an SUV-ish vehicle on tarmac.
The best thing about the GLC43 is that it feels compact at the helm. This enhances its usability in an urban landscape. Narrow streets, tight roadwork detours, twisty carpark ramps – the all-wheel-drive goes through them with the alacrity of a well-judged hatchback.
The only downside is its small and high-mounted rear windscreen, which makes it necessary for you to rely on cameras when reversing. The car comes with reverse as well as bird’s-eye cameras.
For the driving enthusiast, the GLC43 is equipped with a three-stage electronic stability control – On, Sport or Off, the last being recommended only for skilled drivers, preferably on a track.
Utility-wise, this Merc is more than decent. Its 2,873mm wheelbase makes for a roomy cabin and the car’s 500-litre boot compares well with what its E-class sedan stablemate offers.
The car has all the amenities of a premium Mercedes, as well as the refinement. Together with its presence and driveability, there is very little not to like about it.
Well, except maybe its price.
Adapted from The Straits Times.
PHOTOS Lau Fook Kong / The Straits Times / Singapore Press Holdings