The 2017 Mercedes Benz GLC Coupe: Getting the Proportions Right

The 2017 Mercedes Benz GLC Coupe was recently introduced at the New York International Auto Show.  I’m crushing like a fanboy when I say this is a good looking vehicle.

Which begs the question, “what is an SUV coupe?” You’ve seen SUV’s and you’ve seen sports coupes. They are opposites in terms of size and style. The idea of an SUV coupe is to combine the size of an SUV with the sporty charm of a coupe.  Others have tried this, and screwed up the proportions, leaving a mess in showrooms that looks like Baby Huey.

Baby Huey, courtesy of Wikipedia and Harvey Comics.

Baby Huey

If you don’t remember the Baby Huey cartoon, take a look.

If you can’t quite see the parallel in a car, think back to the Honda Crosstour or Crosstour Coupe.  Tiny front end, Sir Mix-a-Lot back end.

The modern SUV coupe concept began with BMW. They pioneered the X6 series, somewhat famous for the X6 ActiveHybrid, a twin-turbo V-8 hybrid that weighed almost 3 tons. Were it not for the hybrid engine, this X6 would have rivaled the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank in fuel economy.

The GLC Coupe Says Goodbye to the Boxy GLK Predecessor

As you should  already know, the GLC is the successor to the boxy GLK. With a nomenclature change comes a reworked look.  Where the “K” is boxy and unwieldy, the “C” is curvy and smooth. 0.79 drag coefficient smooth. My mind is afraid to imagine what a GLK Coupe would have looked like.

No matter the angle, the GLC Coupe looks in proportion, like a sports saloon—but with a more substantial foundation. I see echoes of the the BMW X6 ActiveHybrid and trace elements of the Honda Crosstour. But the GLC doesn’t have the Hulkian mass of the Bimmer.  It looks more proportional and athletic than the Honda. Add the optional running boards and the GLC looks tough but fast, like a rugby fullback.

I also like the short overhang in front and back. Pushing the axles out as far as possible enhances stability and increases usable space.

The look of the GLC Coupe now makes me appreciate the GLE Coupe, which I must admit didn’t move me. If you put the GLC and GLE Coupes side by side they’d look like lovely German nesting dolls.

“The GLC Coupé reflects our iconic Mercedes-Benz coupé design while symbolizing the bipolarity of our brand – it is ‘hot and cool’,” says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. “With its design idiom of sensual purity, it perfectly embodies our styling philosophy while at the same time representing contemporary luxury.”


Epic quote. We’ve seen talk about the GLC and “sensual purity” before.  I’m still not too comfy with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Puritan.  But the term”sensual purity” as applied to German auto design probably should have stayed in Vegas.

GLC Coupe Powertrain  and Technology

Moving on. Behind the big 3-point star on the grille are multiple choices for an engine. You can go with a 2.2, or a 2.5 liter Bluetec turbodiesel. The standard 3.5 liter V-6. Or the AMG version with a 367 horsepower biturbo engine.

But let’s turn our focus on the 3.5 liter hybrid GLC 350e Coupe. You won’t get 367 horses like the AMG version, but between the V-6 and electric motor you will get a total system output of 320 hp and 345 lb ft of torque. These are things that shouldn’t leave you pouting. You’ll have to “settle” with 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 146; still pretty damn fast for an SUV.

Fuel economy is 33.6 mpg. You read that right, Mercedes engineers estimate the 350e Coupe will yield 33.6 miles per gallon.

As with any luxury Teuton, Mercedes has loaded the GLC Coupe with technology. Here’s just some of what you get:

  • Direct-Steer tightens the turning radius to 15:1:1 from 16:1:1
  • Your choice of Dynamic Body Control steel springs or multi-chamber air suspension
  • 5 transmission modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ & Individual
  • Collision prevention, Crosswind Assist, Headlamp Assist, ESP with Dynamic Cornering Assist, and Attention Assist
  • Yadda, yadda, yadda


The new Mercedes Benz GLC Coupe arrives in showrooms Fall 2016.

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Copyright 2016 Hybrid and Electric Car News



Sebastian James

Accept no substitutes

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