With Mercedes GLC 300 you can have your cake and eat it too — sort of

By Paul Borden

(February 4, 2017) A couple of years ago at the Shanghai Auto Show Mercedes-Benz unveiled a concept vehicle that was a coupe version of its GLC SUV. I wasn’t there, but apparently the reception was such that the German automaker hustled it into production, and thus we have the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe.

Exactly how you get to an “SUV Coupe” is you take a regular SUV and slant the roofline back starting at the “B” pillar to give it a more rakish look, taking care to extend the length enough so that the backend doesn’t take on the appearance of the much-ridiculed and long-defunct Pontiac Aztec.

Then you add distinctive styling touches to the grille, and, uh, uh, that’s really about it as far as looks go.

Though company publicists herald that the GLC Coupe combines the “elements of a coupe with the design language of current SUV models,” what you really have here some might call a hatchback. But somehow its seems like blasphemy to use the words Mercedes-Benz and hatchback in the same sentence.
You get some, but certainly not all, the attributes of both the SUV and a coupe.

The GLC Coupe’s hauling capacity doesn’t match that of the SUV version. Though the company doesn’t reveal the size of the storage area among specs available on the website, take my word for it. It’s bigger than the trunk of a typical coupe, but falls short of what you get from a midsize SUV.

That’s because that sloping roofline intrudes on that space at the rear. That roofline also cuts down on backseat headroom as well, though unless you’re hauling a couple of NBA forwards, that shortage probably won’t come into play much.

Also, though the somewhat expansive hood might give you the impression you are behind the wheel of an SUV, the GLC Coupe does have lively handling and driving characteristics.

I happened to have the GLC300 for my week of driving. It features a 2.0-liter, turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine that is rated at 241 horsepower at 5500 rpm and delivers 273 pound-feet of torque between 1300 and 4000, which is more than adequate for the task of getting it moving quickly.  The Coupe comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual gear selection and five drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual). Mercedes’ 4MATIC four-wheel-drive system is standard.

That puts fuel economy figures at 22 miles-per-gallon city, 27 highway, and 24 combined.

For those wanting more oomph, the Coupe also gets AMG treatment with a GLC43 model that gets 342 horsepower out of its twin-turbo V6 and, the company says, zips from zero-to-60 mph in less than five seconds. Time for the GLC300 Coupe is 6.2 seconds.

In addition to the straight-line power, the GLC300 Coupe delivers the kind of ride and handling that Mercedes is known for. There’s such a solid feeling you get on the road from the way the Germans, especially those at Mercedes, engineer the suspensions of their vehicles. That’s a result, I was once told, of designing vehicles for the high speeds of the autobahn. Whatever, it works.

There’s lots of luxurious touches and high grade materials that are pleasing to the eye and touch in the GLC300 Coupe. Standard features include Bluetooth connectivity, power front seats with lumbar support, dual zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate that can be opened by waving your front under the rear bumper with the key on your person, rain-sensing windshield wipers, LED headlamps, rearview camera.

But to get to the good stuff, like navigation, heated and “active ventilated” front seats, air suspension, premium audio, active lane-keeping assist, premium Nappa leather seating surfaces, wood and aluminum trip touches on the console and door trim, and a parking assist system (and lots more) you have dig deeper for option packages.

That ran the total for our test model from a base MSRP of $45,950 to $66,435, including the $925 destination and delivery charge. That’s a pretty hefty jump but one you have to make if you want the full benefits of owning a Mercedes.

What I liked about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Coupe: Appearance is largely a matter of taste, but I like the way it looks both inside and out. It’s a quiet vehicle, and the throttle response is what quick and sure. Setting your “Individual” mode gives you the kind of responses/ride you prefer, or you can just leave it in Sport+.

What I didn’t like about the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Coupe: I’m getting used to operating the infotainment system (navigation, audio, etc.) by twirling the knob and making selections on the screen, but now designers need to look into incorporating the 8.4-inch display into the flow of the dash instead of leaving it sticking up like some sort of afterthought.

Would I buy the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 Coupe? If I didn’t need the hauling capacity that the SUV version offers, yes.