GLC Coupé: Style Meets Substance

Aaaaand the 2024 launch season has kicked off and what a way to start. We welcome the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe to the mix, even though it actually launched last year already. What a beauty it is. Especially in black. I don’t think I have ever really given it a good stare down. Generally I do a once over. But at the launch this week I really took my time and saw just how beautiful this car really is. I am usually more about the engine. Haha, that’s a joke, we all know I am all about the practical life.

Anyway, I digress. Now in its second generation, this mid-size coupé SUV is considered the sporty sibling of the GLC SUV and is obviously based on what used to be Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling model, the C-Class. This Coupé version blends the practicality of an SUV with the sleek lines of a coupé. And it does it very well. This car stands out in a parking lot and has that distinct Mercedes-Benz flair that fans of the brand will undoubtedly appreciate.

Inside, the vehicle doesn’t disappoint. True to Mercedes-Benz’s reputation, the interior is plush, featuring high-quality materials and advanced technology. The latest generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system is easy to use and even voice prompts are better than ever. I recall the days of asking these systems to call “Mom” and then having a heart attack as it dialed the number of an ex-boyfriend with a name in no way similar to “Mom.” 

Standard for the interior is the Avantgarde line with a 12.3-inch high-res LCD screen in front of the driver, which appears to float freely above the wing profile and trim surface. The 11.9-inch central display rises from the centre console and likewise appears to float above the trim surface. Like the dashboard, the screen surface is slightly angled towards the driver. It all screams modern luxury. I do love a heated seat for added luxury!

One might think that due to the coupé styling, while visually appealing, will compromise the practicality. You might think that the sloping roofline reduces rear headroom and compromises cargo space compared to the standard GLC SUV. And in turn this might be a deal-breaker for families or anyone needing more utilitarian space. But I am happy to report that rear headroom and space isn’t as compromised as you’d think. I witnessed a few of my lengthier colleagues test the rear seats and all commented on how headroom is, in fact, fine. Even the boot has grown in size to a rather generous 545-litres.

My only tiny gripe is with the sleek design that impacts rear visibility quite a bit, which is a common critique among coupé-style SUVs. The rear window is smaller, and the sloping lines can make it harder to see out of the back, which might necessitate reliance on cameras and sensors more than some drivers would like.

The exciting news is that the GLC Coupé is available with electrified engines. The mild-hybrid units include a second-generation integrated starter-generator (ISG) and a 48-volt on-board electrical system. The integrated starter-generator in the mild hybrid variants supports the combustion engine especially at low engine speeds. Both the 220 d and the 300 d boast a 2.0-litre turbocharged pot, but with different outputs. The 220 d sees 145 kW and 440 Nm, while the 330 d produces 269 kW and 550 Nm.

The Cape Town traffic decided to hamper our launch route every which way we turned, and so we didn’t get to put these two variants to a full test, but what was instantly evident is the smooth ride, with the suspension doing a great job of absorbing bumps. And the bits here and there where we were able to push it a bit, showcased the handling of this coupé. It felt stable and responsive on twists and turns.

There is no doubt that the GLC Coupé stands out. It’s not just another SUV; it’s for those who dig a bit of flair and aren’t shy to show it off. But it still exudes an elegance many might be after.

Let’s be honest, that price tag might make you gulp harder than a cold Castle on a hot Durban day, but the GLC Coupé has its charms and I can’t imagine any Mercedes-Benz fan not loving it.

PS. I didn’t take it off-road, it apparently has a bit of capability, but I think this is what most owners would say. I can’t see too many GLC Coupés on Atlantis dunes or up the side of a mountain. Think more Constantia, Sandton or fancy pants suburbia.

PRICING OF THE MERCEDES-BENZ GLC COUPÉ

GLC 220D:  R1,392,350.00
GLC 300D:  R1,447,350.00

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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