The GLC Coupe is set to take Mercedes in more than just a fresh SUV styling direction – it’s also apparently set to provide the basis for a very hot performance special.
Rakish is also raciest – that’s the suggestion out of Mercedes with the release of the coupe version of its new crossover sensation, the GLC.
Benz has suggested its second bodystyle for the smallest crossover it creates, one that trades some headroom and cargo space for a more handsome profile, will within two years be at the forefront of high-performance pitch against BMW and Audi.
Talk at the New York motor show, where the GLC Coupe was formally unveiled, is that this derivative will ultimately be presented as a uber-performance flagship with significantly more kapow than will be offered from the twin-turbo V6 GLC AMG 43 wagon that was also presented in the Big Apple last week.
The brand has suggested to media that it will have a V8-engined GLC AMG 63 whose goal is to blow away BMW’s M division sports utilities as the fastest and most dynamic of their type in the world.
Expected to be announced next year as a 2018 model-year addition, the GLC 63 is set to adopt the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre that resides in the C63 AMG, where it creates a maximum 375kW and 700Nm and offers 0-100kmh in 4.0 seconds.
Benz is suggesting the GLC will also take a all-new all-wheel drive drivetrain slated for the related high-performance E63, due out next year also with the 4.0-litre engine.
Mercedes Benz New Zealand was being coy about the potential for such a model when approached today by Motoring Network.Spokesman Matt Bruce would offer simply that: “Should a 63 AMG in the range be confirmed for NZ, I am sure this variant would be a welcome addition.”
Benz here has already cited it will start its GLC performance at the end of this year with the twin-turbo V6 43 in wagon and Coupe. The first might potentially arrive here around the same time as the mainstream GLC Coupe derivatives.
The GLC 43 generates 270kW and 520Nm from its 3.0-litre engine, making it 115kW and 170Nm more powerful than the current top dog GLC, the 250.
Bruce says the GLC Coupe will carry a premium over the wagon, which in just four months’ sale has risen to become the brand’s most popular car on sale here, but says pricing and specification will not be announced until closer to launch.
The Mt Wellington, Auckland, distributor anticipates that the coupe will achieve somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of GLC volume next year. That penetration, says Bruce, is consistent with the larger GLE.
Factory-cited rivals are the BMW X4, which starts from $97,000 in X4 20d and $128,000 in X4 35d formats, the Range Rover Evoque ($80,000 upward), Lexus NX ($81,900 upward) and Jaguar’s F-Pace, which has yet to be priced.
The Coupe launches internationally in eight variants, four diesels and four petrols, including a plug-in hybrid.
As per the GLC wagon, there’s a 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in 125kW 220d and 150kW 250d guises, plus a GLC 250 petrol with a 155kW 2.0-litre direct-injection four-cylinder petrol. All GLC Coupes mirror the wagons in having 4Matic all-wheel drive and a 9G-tronic nine-speed automatic transmission.
At 4730mm long and 1600mm tall, the GLC Coupe is 76mm longer and 40mm lower than the GLC wagon that shares much of its architecture, with a slightly shorter wheelbase to match.
The only common body panels between the two are the bonnet, front mudguards and lower front doors. Everything else has been altered to reach a sleeker shape, including the pillar angles. The back window wiper has been deleted because more aerodynamic profiling means water does not strike the glass, according to Mercedes. The Cd figure is a segment-leading 0.31.
Most of the GLC Coupe’s dashboard and interior fitout mimics that of the donor vehicle, although trim and equipment levels reflect its “more exclusive” positioning and, though Benz has yet to spell out the impact on cabin dimensions, it acknowledges that boot capacity drops from 550 litres to 491, or from 1600 to 1205 with the rear backrests folded.
Sports suspension is standard to the Coupe, but the Dynamic Body Control with steel springs and adjustable dampers and air suspension will be available. The latter, when in Sport Plus mode, lowers the ride by 15mm for reduced body roll. A more direct steering is also part of the package, plus big wheels – up to 20s at the moment.
The standard kit-out covers an automatic tailgate, reversing camera, keyless entry and start, Artico upholstery and a series of driver-assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking, Dynamic Cornering Assist and stability-enhancing Crosswind Assist.
Benz has also created its usual Edition 1 limited run launch special. This offers an AMG Line Exterior body kit, 20-inch alloys, an upgraded paint finish and bi-colour leather upholstery.