2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic Coupe first drive review Page 2

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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

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Sheep-stirrer

With quick steering and absorbent ride, the Euro-spec GLC Coupe handles better than it probably has to, to justify its boutique shape.

The basics are common to the GLC. Mercedes will sell the Coupe with either a conventional multi-link independent suspension and adaptive dampers, or an air suspension with adaptive dampers that can lower the Coupe by about a half-inch at highway speeds for better handling and fuel economy, or more (up to 1.6 inches) for easier loading of cargo.

We've driven the air-suspension GLC wagon, and found it rode with a calm, flat composure that almost removed too much of the information gleaned from body roll.

In the Coupe, I spent two half-days in vehicles fitted with summer tires and the steel suspension, as well as the quicker steering rack that differentiates the Coupe from the wagon (with a ratio of 15:1, versus 16:1 in the GLC wagon).

The Coupe doesn't have much steering feedback, like its wagon counterpart. Even big wheels and summer tires don't produce the kind of judder and patter that pinpoint the wheels' precise location on the road. It's tuned to be isolated, but the GLC Coupe still has good weight in its more sporty driving modes, and tracks well on center.

The sport suspension doesn't betray the fact that this is a Mercedes, and by nature, it's more compliant than a comparable BMW. There's a suppleness that's complemented by softly upholstered seats and lots of sound deadening, to mute the driving experience in the right ways without isolating it entirely.

Yes, it's a lifted and raised hatchback with all-wheel drive, but the GLC Coupe blurs the body-style distinctions even more as I get higher and higher into a grey area above the tree line, somewhere in a three-country pile-up. It's light on its feet, dips down two or three gears on command, and complies willingly when you want to chase some Puntos and Citroens up a skinny sheep trail.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

Enlarge Photo
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

Enlarge Photo
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe (GLC300 Coupe 4Matic)

Enlarge Photo

Cargo matters

I'm not mad at all about the way the GLC Coupe's roofline cuts down on the cargo hold. It's not as useful as the wagon, sure, but like the X4, the Coupe still has decent passenger space, and enough of a cargo hold to bring four people and their roll-aboards on a long weekend trip. If you believe the stock photos above, it can even hold a skateboard, which makes me think the photographer had really low expectations.

The GLC Coupe actually is longer than the wagon, but it's all for appearances, and doesn't improve on interior space in knee room or leg room. Since the GLC Coupe's roofline is lower overall, it should come as no surprise that the headliner in the back seat dips down just behind passengers' heads, and will touch the pates of taller riders in a way the wagon's headliner would not.

The slimmer space is more in evidence when you power open the tailgate and try on the shallower cargo hold for size. Or when you attempt to read traffic over your shoulder: Vision to the rear quarters is not good, which is why the available surround-view camera is such a necessity.

Prices for features like that, and base sticker, haven't been published yet, but the GLC Coupe will come standard with all-wheel drive and a steel suspension, as well as 19-inch wheels, a power tailgate, a multimedia interface, a rearview camera, pushbutton start, and man-made upholstery. The drive-mode selector is also standard, along with a sunroof, a power driver seat, and power-folding mirrors.

Major options will include adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control; ventilated and heated front seats; an upholstered dash; heated rear seats; ambient lighting; a head-up display; the air suspension; and an 8.4-inch infotainment display with navigation and a touchpad for inputs.
 
The GLC Coupe will go on sale right at the end of a year or the beginning of one, depending on how you look at things. Call it a tall, lively Coupe with all-wheel drive, or just consider it a streamlined SUV with its styling priorities in order--again, it's all in how you look at things.

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