The GLC Coupe bows in this weekend, and caps off a busy but successful year for Mercedes-Benz here.
Words Hubert Tang ‘Dynasty’
SINGAPORE — Concept cars have a way of raising expectations, and so it was with the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe early last year at the Shanghai auto show. But now that the production model has landed, it’s clear that the pin-sharp looks of the prototype have survived.
The idea of a compact crossover coupe isn’t new — BMW beat Mercedes-Benz to the punch with the X4, itself arriving on the heels of the gargantuan X6 — but the GLC Coupe shows how, if you’re late to a party, you might as well arrive the best-dressed.
For one thing, it’s proportioned nicely. At 4.73 metres long, 1.6 metres tall, and with a wheelbase of 2.87 metres, the Coupe is some eight centimetres longer and four centimetres lower than the GLC on which it is based.
There are shades of S-Class coupe, too, from the raked rear window (sans wiper) to the cinched-in waistline, culminating in the narrow split-tail lights and integrated spoiler lip. The way each element marries visually into a pert derriere, a Frenchman would smile in approval.
Only one version is in town now, but a hotter model is on the way. The entry-level GLC 250 4Matic Coupe has a 211hp, 2.0-litre in-line four with 350Nm of peak torque between 1,200 and 4,200rpm. It costs $237,888 with COE.
In 2017 the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic Coupe arrives, presumably in a cloud of tyre smoke. With a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo under the bonnet, it has 367hp to play with. and hits 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. That puts it in Porsche Macan Turbo territory.
As the “4Matic” part of the cars’ names suggest, they’re fitted with all-wheel drive. Both have Merc’s 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto, although in the AMG model it’s tuned for faster shifts.
You can have a taste of that if you test drive the AMG C 43 4Matic, a car that Mercedes is introducing alongside the GLC Coupe.
For the uninitiated, consider it a gentler welcome to the world of AMG hilarity (or you could think of it as an analogue to BMW’s M Power label, which sits below the M badge), one step down from the manic C 63 (and even more manic C 63 S).
All the “43” models have the same 367hp bi-turbo V6, along with all-wheel drive and sharper suspension. They’re rapid but not insanely so — the C 43 hits 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds.
They look the part, too, with big air scoops, bodykitting, large wheels and AMG badging to signal their potency. The seatbelts come in red, as something of a signature.
The all-wheel drive system is rear-biased (with 33 percent of the engine power for the front axle, and 67 percent to the rear axle) to make the C 43 feel more agile, but as an everyday drive it should be comfy like you’d expect from the “Mercedes” part of its name.
The arrival of the GLC 250 Coupe and AMG C 43 cap off what has been an extra busy year for Mercedes here. In 2016 the brand launched at least seven new or updated models in Singapore, a product offensive that will slow down next year.
That’s helped the brand retain its luxury crown in 2016; by November’s end it led chief rival BMW with 6,046 registrations to 4,395.
Nevertheless, BMW’s year-on-year sales have grown faster than those of Mercedes. That success has been based on the popularity of smaller, cheaper, diesel-powered models.
What’s clear, as 2016 comes to a close, is that continuing growth for Singapore’s luxury players will mostly come as they take sales not from each other, but from everyone else.
NEED TO KNOW Mercedes-Benz GLC 250 4Matic Coupe
NEED TO KNOW Mercedes-AMG C 43
Engine 2,996cc, twin-turbo V6
Power 367bhp at 5500-6000rpm
Torque 520Nm at 2000-4200rpm
Gearbox 9-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h (limited)
0-100km/h 4.7 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.0L/100km
Price $315,888 incl. COE
Available in Singapore Now