BMW X4 xDrive 35d 2016 review
Style-driven SUV is a convincing proposition despite the sedan underpinnings.
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Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the GLC 250 and 250d Coupes with specs, fuel consumption and verdict at their Australian launch.
In far simpler times, back before reality TV stars were Presidents and an Instagram was something people bought on a darkened street corner, a coupe was an actual thing. And that thing was a slinky two-door sports car, usually with seating for two.
The all-new Mercedes GLC Coupe, however, is something else entirely. Sure, there's the swooping Coupe roofline, but you'll also find four doors, a fastback-style boot and the sky-high ride height of a traditional SUV.
A sports-styled version of the GLC SUV, the Coupe is lower, longer, wider and infinitely more brutish than the model it's based on. What's more, Merc is promising its newest SUV offers all of the styling strengths of a coupe bodystyle, but with none of the practicality weaknesses.
So does it live up to the hype?
It's a brute. Not just more aggressive than the GLC SUV it's based on, but like it also beat one up and stole its lunch money.
Mercedes concedes the GLC Coupe will sell on style as much as anything, with practical-minded buyers likely to opt for the more traditional-looking, and cheaper, GLC SUV. And so they have thrown the AMG-branded kitchen sink at the Coupe to inject even the cheapest models with a kind of thuggish road presence.
The GLC Coupe arrives looking ready to rumble.
Every GLC Coupe arrives with the AMG Line Pack (which will set you back $3,500 on the SUV variant - an option 50 per cent of buyers tick) as standard, filling those bulging wheel arches with 20-inch alloys and wrapping its body in road-kissing skirting. Inside, it adds a chunkier wheel and AMG floor mats, too.
Add to that Mercedes' "diamond" grille dominated by a huge three-point star and its swooping, swept-back roofline and the GLC Coupe arrives looking ready to rumble.
The GLC Coupe touches down - at least at launch - as a three-model line-up. Like in the GLC SUV, the entry point is the diesel-flavoured 220d, which will wear a sticker price of $77,100, before climbing to the petrol-powered GLC 250 Coupe ($80,100) and the top-spec diesel 250d ($82,100). They'll be joined in February by the AMG-fettled GLC 43, powered by a 270kW, 520Nm bi-turbo V6 and wearing a list price of $108,900. True petrol-soaked hedonists will need to wait until early 2018 for the V8-powered AMG 63 model.
As you might expect in a circa-$80k car, the entry-level GLC 220d Coupe wants for little both inside and out, largely courtesy courtesy of the AMG Line Pack's alloys, body skirting and interior treatment. Elsewhere inside, you'll find artificial leather with open-poor wood highlights and a nav-equipped, seven-inch touchscreen controlled through an undeniably cool touch pad and linked to a five-speaker stereo.
Outside, darkened privacy glass covers the rear windows, while brushed aluminium-look sidesteps sit below the doors. Adaptive dampers (usually a $1,500 option) are standard for Australian-spec cars, and they're paired with Merc's Dynamic Select system, which allows you to choose between five driving modes on the fly (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and a customisable Individual mode).
The base model also gets a clever auto-parking system that can tackle both parallel and transversal spots.
Stepping up to the GLC 250 Coupe or the 250d adds genuine leather upholstery, proximity unlocking and a fairly comprehensive suite of standard safety tech, but more on that in a moment.
The GLC 220d Coupe gets a 2.1-litre turbocharged diesel donk that will put out 125kW and 400Nm while sipping a claimed/combined 5.8L/100km. Zero to 100km/h is vanquished in a claimed 8.3secs, and the 220d will climb to a top speed of 210km/h.
The first petrol variant (and our pick for sweet spot of the current range) is the GLC 250 Coupe, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine good for 155kW and 350Nm. It will knock off the sprint in 7.3secs and push on to a maximum 222k/h, all while sipping a claimed/combined 7.4 litres per hundred kilometres.
Keep it in town and both the diesel and petrol options feel quiet and composed.
Top of the tree at launch is the GLC 250d Coupe, which shares the 2.1-litre diesel engine with the entry-level car, only fitted with an extra turbocharger that helps produce 150kW and 500Nm. Top speed is listed at 222km/h and 100km/h will arrive in 7.6secs, with fuel use pegged at a claimed/combined 5.8 litres per hundred kilometres.
All models are equipped with Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and a nine-speed torque converter automatic.
But if those options fail to lead you breathless, you'll be waiting for the February arrival of the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe, powered by a bi-turbo V6 good for 270kW and 520Nm.
The GLC Coupe is built off the very good C-Class platform, but adds its circa-1.8-tonne bulk to the equation - and bigger rarely means better when it comes to dynamics. But the Coupe does a hugely commendable job of hiding its heft when pushed.
While neither the petrol or diesel engines tested at launch (the 220d wasn't available) offer oodles of power, the package does feel masterfully put together, like all its elements are working as one. The as-standard adaptive suspension strikes a near-perfect balance between stiff and supple, aided by the ability to switch drive modes from Eco to Comfort to Sport or Sport+, and the Coupe sits low and flat through corners, only tilting when really pushed, and even then not so much to body roll as to crouch to one side, as if forcing the wheels into the tarmac to power out.
Keep it in town and both the diesel and petrol options feel quiet and composed, with only the roughest course chip surfaces invading the cabin. The gearbox, too, is smooth and intuitive, and works with the natural-feeling steering to make the 2.0-metre wide, 4.7-metre long beastie feel considerably smaller than it actually is.
But the problem with painting such a picture of menacing intent with the exterior styling is that it's a big cheque to cash from behind the wheel. And both the 250 and 250d fall slightly short of that hype from the driver's seat. Power is ample, if not enthralling, but the whole experience lacks the sense of theatre you might expect from the car's styling.
The GLC Coupe's greatest trick is its ability to take the traditional drawbacks of a Coupe body style and turn them into positives.
You'll have more than enough room for an Ikea adventure.
For one, there's plenty of space in the cabin, and even the head room is impressive. The swooping roofline is curved, like an arched bridge, so while you have to duck your head to climb into the backseat, you're sitting in clear air once you're inside.
That fastback boot, too, is a clever design. It's shallow and long, rather than deep, but the lockable floor is removable, meaning you can store soft bags under cover and out of sight. All up, you'll get 500 litres of useable storage with the rear seats up, but drop the electronically controlled 60:40 rear seats and you'll have more than enough room for an Ikea adventure.
The middle seat in the back row is a little snug, so unless you have to squeeze someone in, you're better off dropping the pull-down seat divider, which houses two hidden cupholders. They join the two for front seat passengers and bring the big Coupe's cup count to four. The backseat is also home to two ISOFIX child seat attachment points, one in each window seat.
Standard safety kit on the entry-level 220d Coupe includes adaptive brakes with Hill Hold, blind-spot monitoring and AEB, along with nine airbags (Fronts, pelvic and windows for the front passengers, two curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag), a driver fatigue monitoring system and a very cool 360-degree reversing camera. You'll also nab Mercedes's Park Assist system that will navigate the Coupe into both parallel and transversal spots.
Stepping up to to the 250 or 250d gets you Mercedes's Driver Assistance Package Plus, which adds adaptive cruise control with active steering, lane keep assist and an active blind spot monitoring system that doesn't just detect vehicles hiding in your blind areas, but will intervene if you're at risk of an accident.
The Mercedes GLC Coupe range is covered by Mercedes' three-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty and requires servicing every 12 months or 25,000kms. The range is included in Mercedes' capped price servicing program which, if service costs mirror those of the GLC SUV, will cap the total servicing cost for the first three years at $2,280.
Cool coupe looks without any of the usual practicality sacrifices, Merc's big, bad brute offers street cred by the bagful. But if it's thrills you're seeking, the incoming AMG 43 might be just your ticket.
|GLC250||2.0L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO||$52,990 – 63,990||2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-CLASS 2016 GLC250 Pricing and Specs|
|GLC220 d||2.1L, Diesel, 9 SP AUTO||$46,988 – 54,888||2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-CLASS 2016 GLC220 d Pricing and Specs|