2024 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe First Look: New and Reassuringly Familiar
Sign of the times: The most successful coupe in the entire Mercedes-Benz lineup has four doors and is an SUV. Semantics aside, we shouldn’t really be surprised. The Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe is the swoopy-roofed version of the three-pointed star’s bestselling model, the GLC SUV. And one in four GLCs sold around the world is a Coupe.
You don’t mess with that sort of success, which is why Mercedes, as was the case with the base GLC SUV that’s scheduled to land in Mercedes-Benz U.S. dealerships in April, didn’t reinvent the wheel with the new Coupe, either. Although it’s built on the new MRA2 vehicle architecture that underpins the C-Class, the 2021 MotorTrend COTY-winning E-Class, and S-Class sedans, and although every panel is new, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe looks awfully familiar.
Slightly Bigger, Classier, and Sportier
The GLC Coupe, whose rivals will include the Audi Q5 Sportback and BMW’s X4, has grown slightly compared with its predecessor. Overall length has increased by 1.2 inches, and the wheelbase has grown by 0.6 inch. The only dimensional difference between the new Coupe and the regular flavor GLC is the Coupe’s roofline is 1.2 inches lower. The Coupe shares a hood, front fenders, and front and rear door skins with its new GLC sibling, but the A-pillars, bodyside inners, roof, rear quarter panels—and of course the rear hatch—are unique.
A reshaped grille and headlights, crisp lines over the front and rear wheels, and a more prominent spoiler at the trailing edge of the rear hatch above new rear taillights lend the new GLC Coupe a classier road presence than the outgoing model. But that spoiler isn’t just there to make the GLC Coupe look sportier than the regular model, according to Mercedes-Benz test engineer Dominik Voogdt. It also reduces drag (the new model’s drag coefficient is 0.29 compared with the old Coupe’s 0.31) and increases downforce on the rear axle.
In the U.S. the 2024 GLC Coupe will only be available in 300 4Matic trim to start. Under its hood is the marque’s versatile 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder gas engine that develops 255 hp at 5,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 rpm to 3,200 rpm, with an additional 12 hp and 148 lb-ft of assistance available from an e-motor. The powertrain drives all four wheels through Mercedes-Benz’s smooth-operating nine-speed automatic transmission.
European buyers will be able to opt for air suspension and rear-wheel steering, but neither will be available in the U.S. That’s because the GLC Coupe is seen here as more of an entry-level Mercedes-Benz than in many European markets, where customers want the full three-pointed star luxury experience in a compact package that works better in crowded cities with extremely high fuel prices.
However, air suspension and rear-wheel steering will likely be standard equipment on the AMG version, the GLC 43 Coupe, that’s set to arrive sometime in 2024. The 43 Coupe will be powered by the AMG massaged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s under the hood of the Mercedes-AMG C43 sedan and the European-market Mercedes-AMG SL 43 roadster. The 402-hp, 368-lb-ft four-banger features an electric turbocharger to deliver instant boost and a belt driven starter generator system that can deliver a 13-hp power bump on demand.
New Trim Packages and Interior Swankiness
All U.S. market GLC Coupes will come standard with the AMG Line trim package, which includes sport front seats and a sport steering wheel. Standard wheels are 19-inch alloys, with 20s available as an option. Other options include the Night package, which adds gloss black accents and a sports braking system featuring drilled front rotors and painted calipers with Mercedes-Benz branding.
Among the neat tech upgrades are a “transparent hood” feature, which comes as part of the optional 360-degree camera package and shows a virtual view of what’s almost under the front wheels when you select Off-Road mode.
Inside, the GLC Coupe gets fundamentally the same swanky interior as the new GLC, with the configurable 12.3-inch LCD instrument panel and the 11.9-inch portrait format MBUX screen swooping from the center console up and over the lower part of the dash, just as it does in an S-Class. Similarly, standard equipment levels are high, with the full-size MBUX display, plus ambient lighting, wireless cell phone charging, power tailgate, and heated front seats included in the base price.
The rear seat is more upright than in the regular GLC, but the slight increase in the wheelbase over the outgoing Coupe means slightly more legroom than before. The sliding glass sunroof is also 2.4 inches longer than that of the previous model. “The lack of a panorama roof was the biggest complaint from customers,” product manager Axel Benseler said.
We had a chance to get a ride in a European-spec 300 4Matic model fitted with air suspension, rear-wheel steering, and the optional acoustic glass package. From the passenger seat, ride quality felt excellent and agility good, and noise levels were impressively low. We’ll wait to see how close the steel-sprung, fixed-rear-wheel, standard-glass model comes to emulating it on U.S. roads when the new 2024 GLC Coupe goes on sale here later this year.
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