- Published: Wednesday, 22 April 2015 14:06
It's yet another half-coupe, half-SUV. But this Concept GLC Coupe is part of a broader strategy by Mercedes to flood the market...
SHANGHAI — Crossover fever continues to infect the car industry, and the latest patient is Mercedes-Benz. The world's oldest carmaker has unveiled the Concept GLC Coupe at the ongoing Shanghai auto show, and it mixes a sporty coupe with a mid-sized Sports Utility Vehicle.
Basically, think BMW X4 (below) rival.
Although labelled a concept car, the GLC Coupe is a "near-production-standard" design study, says Mercedes. Translation: showroom models are just months away from being finalised.
Let's hope the final car stays faithful to the Shanghai concept, because the GLC Coupe looks especially sharp. The show car has 21-inch wheels, and its footprint is slightly larger than that of an X4 (meaning it's longer and wider), but the roof is so chopped down that the Mercedes isn't as tall.
The dimensions are 4,727mm, 2,151mm and 1,593mm for length, width and height respectively, and while the wheelbase is a decently lengthy 2,827mm, it remains to be seen whether the GLC Coupe's sleekness comes at the expense of cabin room, particularly rear headroom.
Like other coupe-SUV cars, the GLC Coupe marries half of each type into one cross-bred whole. The upper half is a fairly racy liftback with broad shoulders and a high beltline, while the bottom of the car plays up the 4x4 side of its makeup: there are SUV-like features like underbody protective panels, flared-out sills and a high ground clearance. It definitely works better this way than it would have the other way 'round.
There'll obviously be a variety of engine options for the production models, but a turbodiesel GLC 200 CDI Coupe would probably serve as the entry-level model, at least internationally.
Here in Singapore where petrol power is still the norm, a GLC 250 Coupe is a likely candidate for the best-selling version. It should have a 2.0-litre turbo, good for 211bhp and 350Nm of peak torque.
As for the Shanghai car, you're probably looking at a GLC 450 Coupe AMG Sports in disguise. That's because what's under the concept car's bonnet is the 367 horsepower engine that powers all the AMG Sports models that Mercedes is planning. It's a 3.0-litre V6 with two turbos, and we've tried it in a C-Class. It's a peach.
MORE: Another AMG crossover we like — the manic GLA 45 AMG
Because the SUV styling isn't just for show, the concept car also has Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system, so it's unlikely to get bogged down in the first bit of sandy terrain you try to cross.
There's also Merc's new 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto, a transmission that should spread throughout the range soon.
The GLC Coupe could be looked as Mercedes' way to play catch-up with the BMW X4 (itself a bit of a Range Rover Evoque chaser), but it's part of a broader product strategy that Stuttgart is embarking on.
The brand wants to have around 35 different product lines by 2020, and this entails developing 11 new cars that have no direct predecessor. The GLC Coupe is one of them, and so is the larger GLE Coupe (below) that is being launched here later this year.
But don't expect anything smaller in the coupe-SUV vein. Mercedes says it wants to have seven different SUVs in its line-up, and there are already six others. Apart from the legendary G-Wagen, the rest in order of size are the GLA, GLC, the upcoming GLE Coupe, the recently-faclifted GLE, and the GLS.
Meanwhile, how do you like the looks? If you're undecided, here are more pics to help: