2024 Mercedes GLC Coupe

PHOENIX — Like the standard issue compact GLC SUV from which it's based upon, the second generation GLC Coupe tested here as a 2024 model is basically a smaller, sportier version that's grown a bit larger length and height, yet remains the same width. So slight is the visual change between the old and new would require them to be parked side by side to see the grille now favors the AMG variants along with the stylized propeller on either side and of course the enormous trim-star moniker.

Designers have also tidied up the front fascia that together, gives the GLC a surprisingly more modern, updated look. Nice.

When viewed from the side little appears to have been tinkered with other than the A line splits and is now over each wheel rather than continuous. Likely you could go years and never notice the change. At the rear, there's new taillights that now connect in a slim line. We first saw this treatment on the brand's EQ electrified vehicles.

Inside is the new 12.3 latest iteration of the MBUX digital instrument display along with the now necessary 11.9-inch portrait positioned infotainment touchscreen sitting in the obligatory center console position. Operational buttons have pretty much been eliminated in favor of touchpads on the steering wheel a touchpad on the center console and yes, the touch-sensitive screen. This is where dexterity really pays off. Of course many commands favor the garrulous who can direct functions for the audio system, heater, air conditioning and so on by summoning those via uttering "Hey Mercedes" and ordering instructions.

Opening the door reveals an interior impeccably trimmed with the optional and sport AMG Power Red and Black leather upholstered around the curvaceous instrument panel and center console, doors, and seating inserts. While the dash can be trimmed and upgraded with open-pore wood veneers in natural grain walnut, finalize Anthracite our test 300 Coupe was finished in a classy natural grain black with horizontal aluminum inlays. This is traditional Mercedes touches that achieve a superb blend of classic luxury with sport, modern and high-tech appointments. If there was an element we could do without its was the glossy piano black lacquer center console that looks nice the first few minutes after you get behind the wheel. From there it is a magnet for dust, fingerprints, smudges and anything that comes near or touches it. Keep a microfiber dust cloth close by.

The cabin is roomy and drivers of all size should easily find a comfortable seat adjustment. That center console like slides open to reveal what we thought were some pretty flimsy and economy-look cupholders that did a lousy job of actually holding cups. Rear seat cupholders were even worse. There's two USB-C ports and an awkwardly located wireless smartphone charger in the console. There's barely enough room for your smartphone or other pocket items.

As for the back seats, know that your occupants, unless they're the kiddos, is a cramped, uncomfortable place for adults to be.

Powering the GLC Coupe is Mercedes newest 48-volt mild hybrid technology that assists the standard 2-liter, 244-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine like when coasting, boost, and energy recovery and also comes with a starter generator capable of providing a bit of extra boost when needed and recovering more energy back into the hybrid battery. Combined, the engine can deliver 278 total horsepower when the electric boost from the motor is applied. Mercedes claims the Coupe will reach zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. Top speed is limited to 130 mph.

Our time behind the wheel confirmed what we thought the engine performance would deliver, smoother, linear acceleration, ample power for highway speeds and passing, decent overall fuel economy and excellent suspension dynamics relative to confident road manners when cornering, on twisty two lane roads, steering and braking. What we disliked was the the ride quality that even when selecting "Comfort" delivered a sport-tuned feeling that resulted in a jiggling, bouncing, and unsettled ride quality on anything other than perfectly smooth blacktop surfaces.

Rear visibility is significantly compromised with only a narrow silt of things through the inside rearview mirror given the sharply angled sloping rear window. Thankfully there is standard blind spot monitoring and large outside rearview mirrors. Frankly, I'm surprised Mercedes didn't implement a rear camera mirror system, which would be a no-brainer for this vehicle. The ride may be too firm for some drivers.  

Overall, the new GLC 300 Coupe is a good vehicle but not a memorable one and really doesn't break any new ground given its updating for 2024. It is essentially a GLC SUV with a Coupe roofline. Visually, it's an impression-maker that cannot be denied with its swooped roofline and tall stance. Intentionally  designed to tickle your "I would love to have one of those" appeal in some drivers, they're more forgiving in areas of sensible value, user-friendliness, visibility and other styling-led criteria. But we think some of the design appeal has worn off since it first debuted in 2016 mostly because the market is seeing newer, bolder design themes on new vehicles, especially electrified vehicles.

Vital Stats

Base Price: $57,000
Price as Tested: $68,780
Engine/Transmission: Turbocharged, hybrid assisted 2.0-liter 278-horsepower, 4-cylinder, paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.
EPA Fuel Economy: 24/30/26 MPG - City/Highway/Combined
Seats: 5

Where Built: Bremen, Germany

Competes With:
Audi Q4 and Q5 Sportback
BMW X2, X4 and X6 SUVs

Crash Test Safety Ratings: The GLC 300 Coupe has not been crash tested by either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as of this writing.

Sporty driving dynamics
Loaded with updated technology and driver assistance features
Attractive, luxury interior

Firm sporty driving dynamics
Harsh, jiggly ride
Compromised rear visibility

— Jim Prueter