It seems Mercedes has forgotten about the middle letter in SUV. Certainly, the designers of the three-pointed star's latest four-wheel drive didn't seem overly concerned with utility when they cut into rear-seat headroom, bootspace and visibility to create the GLC Coupe, which takes a sensible family soft-roader and turns it into a high-riding, BMW X4-style couple for buyers apparently more concerned with form than function.
The GLC Coupe, which debuted in concept form at the Shanghai International Auto Show last year, is a car designed, primarily, with style in mind, so that's where we're going to start. Mercedes has tried to make the car's rear end look sportier by giving it broad shoulders, a diffuser-style rear bumper and narrow, slit-like taillights, while the front end looks very similar to the regular GLC.
The biggest change is the new roof and window line, which works with a 4 cm (1.6 in) drop in ride height to make the Coupe look sportier and more purposeful than its more mundane brethren. While we think this best-of-both worlds philosophy works on the bigger GLE, we're not so sure about the GLC Coupe's slightly awkward proportions. Maybe, like the BMW X6, it will look better in person.
Thankfully, there's more to the big Mercedes' sporting makeover than a coupe roofline. As is becoming more common in performance cars, the GLC Coupe's character can be tweaked from Eco, through Comfort and Sport modes into a Sport Plus setting that stiffens and lowers the suspension by 15 mm (0.59 in). If you aren't worried about carving corners, Comfort mode relaxes the air suspension, although the car can still stiffen the suspension if the driver swerves suddenly.
Under the hood, there's a choice between two four-cylinder diesel engines or a four-cylinder gasoline motor. The range kicks off with the diesel-powered GLC 220d and GLC 250d, which generate 125 kW (170 hp) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque and 150 kW (204 hp) and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque, respectively. Both share an impressive 5.0 l/100 km (47 mpg) fuel economy figure, while the 250d hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds, which is 0.7 seconds quicker than the entry level 220d model.
There is almost no benefit for speccing a GLC Coupe with a gasoline engine unless you're stumping for the GLC 43 AMG, because the only other engine on offer makes just 155 kW (211 hp) and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft), while returning 7.0 l/100km (34 mpg).
As is standard for a German luxury car, there are plenty of options available for GLC Coupe buyers. Although the car is fitted with plenty of kit as standard, buyers can choose from a range of 19- and 20-inch wheels to complement the exterior styling. There's also the usual suite of leather and trim options for the interior.
Mercedes is yet to release pricing details, but you can expect to pay a small premium over the GLC the Coupe is based on.