Turin, Italy – For model year 2016, the angular and distinctive Mercedes-Benz GLK was replaced by the rounder, smoother and more corporately styled GLC 300 SUV. Next up in the GLC line is the is the 2017 GLC 300 4MATIC Coupe, a sportier and more “performance-oriented” version designed to suit “modern individualists with an expressive lifestyle,” according to Mercedes-Benz. It’s a type of vehicle that the company calls a Sport Utility Coupe.

Actually, a friend of mine who has purchased a succession of coupes, explains her affinity for them as simply that “coupes are more youthful, they’re not so ordinary.” She’s likely representative. The coupe shape is indeed a bit more daring, less common, more expressive.

For the four-door GLC 300 Coupe, these characteristics are complemented by a suspension with “more robust springing and less tendency to roll” compared with the SUV and sport-tuned steering with a faster ratio. Obviously the “fastback” body style also makes a statement (practicality is not top of the Coupe buyer’s list), and the integrated spoiler at the rear suggests high performance potential. At the front, a diamond grille with single louvre appears less massive and is, I think, more appealing than the grille of the SUV.

Perhaps most significantly when it comes to appearance, the GLC 300 Coupe sees a 38 millimetre reduction in height and is 76 mm longer compared with the SUV version, and when equipped with Air Body Control (the optional air suspension), the vehicle will automatically drop a further 15 mm at speed. The self-levelling system, by the way, is fully adjustable for ride comfort and driving dynamics and can be raised by 15mm when driving on poor surfaces.

Under the hood you’ll find the same 2.0-litre (1,991 cc, actually) direct-injected, 16-valve turbo dual-overhead camshaft engine (DOHC) used in the GLC 300 SUV. It makes 241 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 273 pound-feet of torque at 1,300–4,000 rpm. The engine is mated to a nine-speed “9G-TRONIC” automatic transmission and premium fuel is specified. It will be available in October 2016.

Diesel fans will be pleased with the availability in the second quarter of 2017 of the GLC 300d Coupe. The 16V turbo DOHC diesel engine displaces 2.1 litres (2,143 cc) generating 200 hp at 3,800 rpm and delivers a whopping 369 lb-ft torque at 1,600–1,800 rpm. It receives the same nine-speed box.

Another upcoming version, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4MATIC Coupe, will be available in early 2017. While not a full AMG version, it will be equipped with a range of AMG performance upgrades including a V6 biturbo engine making 362 hp and 384 lb-ft torque.

The nine-speed gearbox common to all versions features an ECO Start/Stop function and a Direct Select control on the steering column that permits the driver to change the transmission mode between P, R, N and D while keeping both hands on the wheel. It’s effectively a small, column-mounted transmission stalk, with a button at the end to engage “Park.” The transmission, according to Mercedes-Benz, now boasts “faster, smoother and more efficient gear changes,” and is quieter in operation compared with earlier versions.

The SUV: 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 4MATIC Test Drive

A standard-equipment Dynamic Select feature changes engine, transmission and steering characteristics to favour comfortable, sporty or efficient driving styles. The system can be individually configured if none of the Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ profiles precisely suit the driver. Additionally, the Sport and Sport+ modes are more aggressively calibrated in the Coupe compared with the SUV.

Like the GLC 300 SUV, the Coupe is packed with convenience and comfort features, along with semi-autonomous technologies that hint at full autonomy likely to come. For instance, one of several available packages is Intelligent Drive, a component of which is Distronic Plus with Steer Assist.

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