Review: Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016)
Brilliant ride quality. Sharper to drive than most SUVs. Beautiful cabin design and plenty of interior space. Diesels are quiet. Revamped with Mild Hybrid in 2019.
Best ride quality is on optional adaptive dampers. High starting price and expensive options (all over £40,000). Shallow boot. Lots of reported problems with steering at low speeds.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016): At A Glance
- New prices start from £47,325, brokers can source from £32,789
- Contract hire deals from £330.49 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 40–44
- On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure
Who’d have guessed that the highly polarising BMW X6 would start a niche. Yet here we are with the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe. It's a car cut from the same cloth - take an SUV, make it less practical, charge more for it.
But the GLC Coupe is not a direct rival to the X6, rather it’s pitched squarely against the smaller BMW X4 and, as the name suggests, based loosely on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. While it takes up far more space on the road than the C-Class does, its interior offers roughly the same spaciousness and is virtually identical.
They’re both positives because it means the GLC Coupe has a lovely dashboard, an innate sense of luxuriousness and space enough for four big lads or ladettes.
The worry is that in order to justify the coupe part of the name, Mercedes-Benz would stiffen the suspension and tighten the steering significantly in an attempt to make things 'sporty'. Thankfully, despite doing both those things, the GLC Coupe plays the lumbering SUV game very well indeed.
In fact, the best thing about the GLC Coupe is its blend of assured handling and comforting ride quality. Although, as usual, you have to invest a fiver short of £1500 for air suspension to get the fullest experience. Steel springs set to 'sporty' tightness (there’s that word again) are standard.
Also as usual in this SUV sort of coupe crossover market, is the fact that you pay more for a GLC Coupe than you do an equivalent GLC – £3k more.
While practicality does suffer, it doesn't disastrously so – the boot is still a decent size and comes with a high, load friendly lip. Rear legroom is good and there’s more rear headroom than you might expect given the slanted roof. Plus you still get the standard SUV advantage of a ‘get out of my way’ driving position.
While the engine choice seems small, it covers all the bases. The mainstay is the four-cylinder, 2.1-litre diesel, developing either 171PS or 204PS and called 220d and 250d respectively. Then there’s the 350d, powered by a V6 diesel with 258PS. And, of course, a V8-powered Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 with 326PS. All cars come with a nine-speed automatic and four-wheel drive as standard.
Whether you should buy one is really a question of whether you can look yourself in the eye after spending so much more on considerably less car than the GLC, and mostly for superficial reasons. But if you're thinking about it, here are a few emollient facts to make you feel better: the Coupe is better looking than the GLC, is better-to-drive, is more luxurious than the BMW X4, and remains a very practical and safe giant hatchback in its own right. And relax.
What does a Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016) cost?
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016): What's It Like Inside?
The GLC Coupe really is a pleasant place to sit, combining the basic architecture of a C-Class with the aforementioned high SUV driving position. And as an upper echelon model in the Mercedes-Benz catalogue, there are no poverty-spec trim levels, so between Sport and AMG Line you’re unlikely to feel short-changed.
That’s because nobody need know your ‘leather’ interior is actually pleather (or vinyl actually), called Artico, and whether your dash is trimmed in matte wood or carbon fibre, it looks great. The GLC Coupe’s cabin finds that rare balance between sumptuousness and simplicity. Plus no matter your height or girth you’ll find a seating position that’s comfortable.
The quest for simplicity has not been advantageous to the GLC Coupe’s infotainment operating system, however. Called COMAND and in use through the Mercedes-Benz range, it’s clunky, counter-intuitive and downright frustrating, largely because of the paucity of shortcut buttons and an antiquated dial control method.
COMAND won’t grate so much after a few weeks use (or months, perhaps), but it remains baffling that a touchscreen approach hasn’t been adopted, especially when the design of the display screen owes much to Apple Inc’s ubiquitous tablet device.
Behind the driver the GLC Coupe stays impressive. It offers more legroom and headspace than you might expect. The only real compromise has come in the shape, literally, of the boot, which is shallow because of the roof’s slope. Officially it only loses 50 litres to the GLC proper, with 500 litres, but it seems a lot smaller. It does have a high loading lip, however, which makes loading and unloading of bags and such very easy.
And being a hatchback, and a fairly massive one at that, means the GLC Coupe is still very practical, with split-folding rear seats as standard and a 1400-litre total loading capacity (the GLC has 1600 litres). An automatic tailgate is standard fit too.
On that basis it’s actually better to view the GLC Coupe more along the lines of a fatter, more commanding and more practical C-Class than a stifled GLC. All of a sudden, the GLC Coupe makes perfect sense.
As usual with any mid to top-level Mercdes-Benz, the options list can quickly turn a reasonably priced car into an eye-popping one. It actually feels plush without ticking any options boxes, on account of its heated vinyl seats (a lot more pleasant than the sense of sticky 1970s grimness that phrase conjures up), navigation, air con, automatic gearbox, LED headlamps, 18-inch alloys and so on.
However, add ventilation to your seats, adaptive damping, a Burmeister stereo, the Premium Package (ambient lighting, sunroof, memory seats), Driving Assist Package (additional safety features like blind spot assist and pedestrian detection), and you have a pricey van-coupe. So tread carefully. And don’t tread off-road - this isn’t that sort of 4x4.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from GLC 220 d Automatic 4Matic to GLC 63 AMG S
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 24–50 mpg
The GLC Coupe isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s a fine example of why Mercedes-Benz is getting back to its best in this era. The dynamic balance of this SUV-slash-coupe is spot on, having most of the advantages of the former with a noticeable touch of the latter – enough to make things more involving than the average tank, anyway.
The driving position is high but you sit quite low in the car, so while it never ever feels like a sports car, obviously, it does have the advantage of a sports car-like driving position. It makes for great forward visibility, but with it that feeling of being slightly hemmed in, in a good way. The only notable downside is the shallow rear window, which limits backwards visibility significantly.
Buy a no-options Sport model and you’ll have no adaptive suspension to play with, but you can still select between three driving modes - Eco, Comfort and Sport, which change the way the steering rack and gear changes feel.
What’s impressive is that although these modes feel suitably different, they don’t change the fundamental character of the car. It very nicely balances bump-alleviating comfort with impressive agility. The GLC Coupe does not lollop or bounce about through corners, it’s in possession of surprisingly pointy steering, has lots of grip and is therefore more enjoyable to drive quickly than it should really be.
There are actually three suspension options to choose from. These range from standard steel springs and fixed dampers, to an adaptive damping setup with steel springs, then a fully electronic system (minus the springs) called Air Body Control. That last one allows the ride height to be adjusted, but its most impressive feature is the consistency with which it eradicates cabin turbulence, at all speeds.
Coupe or not, though, this is a car most at home on the motorway. Not only because of the ride quality and impressive lack of wind and road noise, but because sat at a steady 70mph engine choice becomes almost irrelevant.
Of the three ‘affordable’ models – the diesels, in other words – the lowest powered 171PS four-cylinder in the 220 d can feel a little lacking during mid-speed overtaking moves, slightly overwhelmed by the bulk of the car.
That said, even when being pressed it feels quieter and smoother here in the GLC than it does in the C-Class. The 250 d has 31PS more, but more importantly, 100Nm more torque with 500Nm in total. It does feel that bit more punchy and is worth the extra outlay – especially given it returns the same 56.5mpg and 131g/km CO2.
If you can stretch to the 350 d you’re looking at one very complete car, which never feels quite as rapid as the six-seconds-to-62mph car it is on paper, but is nonetheless a formidable overtaking machine. All cars come with a nine-speed automatic, whose changes are so fluid that you’d never know it had that many ratios.
|GLC 220 d Automatic 4Matic||46 mpg||8.3 s||131–145 g/km|
|GLC 250 Automatic 4Matic||37–37 mpg||7.3 s||159–170 g/km|
|GLC 250 d Automatic 4Matic||46 mpg||7.6 s||131–143 g/km|
|GLC 300 d Automatic 4Matic||-||-||159 g/km|
|GLC 350 d Automatic 4Matic||46–47 mpg||-||161–169 g/km|
|GLC 350d Automatic 4Matic||42–42 mpg||6.2 s||161–169 g/km|
|GLC 43 AMG||29–34 mpg||4.9 s||192 g/km|
|GLC 63 AMG||25 mpg||4.0 s||234–275 g/km|
|GLC 63 AMG S||24 mpg||3.8 s||244–280 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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What Cars Are Similar To The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe (2016)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Four-wheel drive, High quality interior, Large boot, Modern technology, Raised driving position, Room for a buggy, Petrol engine, Crossover, SUV and Premium crossover.
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What do owners think?
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