This is the Mercedes GLC, albeit with a different roofline. Gone is the practical, near-boxy, straight roof. And in its place comes a wannabe sports car like swooping down roof.
Mercedes believes the 'swoop' is enough to call this SUV a Coupe. And, because it gets a bi-turbo V6 with over 350bhp, this also gets the AMG badge. There are differences too, like a completely new rear-ended design, and reduced practicality.
This is the GLC 43 Coupe, and at Rs 78 lakhs ex-showroom, it is bound to draw your money manager's attention. And, of the public in general.
In terms of design, the resemblance to the GLC is there - the lights, the grille outline, and the bonnet being cases in point. Thereafter though, it's more like a shrunk GLE Coupe. Even the rear harks back to the latter.
The coupe roofline is a handsome addition to its look, no doubt. As are those AMG wheels, the drawn down front bumper, and the quad exhaust outlets.
And overall, you would want to buy the GLC Coupe because of the way it looks.
On the inside, every new Mercedes we have test driven in the last year has impressed us with its design, quality and functionality of the cabin. The GLC Coupe is no different.
It is beautifully built and finished on the inside. And, we love the contrast offered by the black interiors, which are peppered with expensive looking metallic inserts and sporty red highlights.
If we were to nitpick though, we'd say the operability of the various buttons and toggles could have been better. These lack the right haptic feedback, which can be felt in some of the GLC's competition.
Feature wise, the Coupe isn't the best. You have the Command system, but without touch interface. There's a 360 degree camera to aid parking, but no self-park option. And, even though there's a climate control system, it's a two-zone unit instead of a three or four zone expected at this price point.
The seats, meanwhile, are comfy, even at the rear. And, even though it's a coupe, the rear head room is sufficient for the average Indian height. Six footers will, of course, end up with a sprained neck.
The boot space meanwhile isn't all that great. Yes, it's deep and wide, but it is short on height limiting usability. It also has a high loading height, which can make packing heavy luggage into the boot a struggle.
But, the proof of the pudding is in driving it!
And, if you love muscle cars or dragsters, the Coupe will impress you. It has a claimed 0-100kmph time of under 5 seconds and you can feel that everytime you step on the throttle. It makes lovely noises too.
It makes around 360bhp of max power from the bi-turbo V6, and this is channeled to all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic gearbox. But, thankfully the power bias is towards the rear.
So, when you go hell for leather, sure, the Coupe rolls about and tends to understeer. But, the power bias - along with the ESP - cuts that understeer quite significantly, making for a decently neutral handling SUV on the limit.
Did we mention that it sounds good? Well, it does! The only challenge here is that it seems like the noise is coming from a different car altogether. Like maybe a C43 that's tailing you.
The steering, the chassis, and the tyres lack the connect of a coupe or a car with a sporty intent. The Coupe - for all its posturing - still feels and drives like a heavy SUV.
And it has poor ride quality. It's noisy, thumpy and uncomfortable on anything but the smoothest roads.
So yes, the GLC Coupe isn´t the most practical SUV one can buy. It's also not the sportiest SUV out there given that you can feel its heft around corners, and under braking. It's not really meant for the enthusiast driver in that sense.
It is more like a second car in the family. One, that's meant to be taken out for golf outings or on a luxury picnic in the back of beyond.
It's an indulgence, NOT a need
Photos By Kapil Angane