Mercedes-Benz reveals the BMW X4-rivalling Concept GLC Coupé, and hits at a production version to come.
Having already pioneered the luxury SUV sector, Mercedes-Benz has appeared slow to react to BMW’s unforeseeable baptism of the Luxury Sports Activity Coupe segment with the introduction of the E71 X6 in 2007, followed by the F26 X4 in 2014. It has now decided to pick up the pace. Having only recently revealed the GLE to rival the X6, the Stuttgart based manufacturer has treated us to the Concept GLC Coupé. This near-production-standard study is destined to square up against the X4 in what will become a style over practicality-led niche known as the Compact Sports Activity Coupe sector, a sub-set of the ubiquitous Premium Compact SUV segment, itself considered a new niche only a few years ago.
Mercedes-Benz is keen to impress that one advantage the GLC may have over its rivals, namely its genuine off road capability. Referencing its design, Mercedes has mentioned that enormous 21in wheels with 285/45 R21 heavily profiled tyres, front and rear under-body protection, increased ground clearance and side running boards, are all indicative of its off-road performance, whilst at the same time proclaiming that the Concept GLC Coupe is ‘born to race on every road.’ We will, of course, have to wait to see whether this mantra proves true for the production version.
Mercedes-Benz has also divulged that this ‘concept’ offers a window into the future of their design language. According to Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG, the GLC is a ‘foretaste’ of SUV models to come. Whilst the segment will continue to split opinion, objectively the GLC appears to be a resolved design. Measuring exactly 2m wide, 1.6m high and 4.73m long, the GLC is – not surprisingly – very close to mirroring the dimensions of the X4. However, with design cues such as the tail lights and spoiler lip borrowed from the S-Class Coupe and four polished stainless steel tailpipes, the GLC sports an aesthetic very much of its own.
Although too early to comment on performance, a V6 direct-injection biturbo powerplant delivering 367hp and 520Nm (teamed with a 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive) should make for brisk progress on the road or any other terrain. If indeed we are to accept that the GLC will be as off-road capable as Mercedes-Benz would have us believe.