While the world’s appetite for SUVs continues unabated, vehicle manufacturers are redefining the landscape by what they call coupes, which seem ultimately to be an SUV with a sloping roof.
Gone are the days of a fixed roof, two doors and a sloping roof.
What the people want, they get (sometimes whether they ask for it or not) seems to be the mantra which in today's modern world isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Such a car is the Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe which, with that roof, we got to experience at Merc’s new V&A Lounge at the Cape Town Waterfront.
The more curved design is obviously based on its SUV sibling and also features much of the interior trimmings of the locally manufactured C-Class.
The design does however come at the expense of less boot space and headroom although there was enough room for me without feeling too claustrophobic.
There are two versions of the coupe: a GLC 220d and GLC 300d.
Both are fitted with a 2.0-litre turbo-charged diesel engine, 220d and 300d monikers notwithstanding.
In the 220d you get 145kW and 440Nm and the mill fitted to the 300d provides 198kW and 550Nm. Both are fitted with a mild hybrid system adding 17kW and 200Nm and are driven forward by Mercedes’ 4MATIC 9-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels.
The exterior gets a simulated chrome underguard, black roof rails and on the launch models the optional running boards. The headlights connected to the streamlined Mercedes-Benz grille are slimmer, the chrome package is standard and it stands on 18-inch alloys.
The interior is almost overwhelmed by the 11.9-inch MBUX touchscreen infotainment system while the driver is faced with a digital 12.3-inch LCD driver display.
As you would expect from a Mercedes, the interior is absolute premium with soft touch surfaces and brushed aluminium making it a pleasant space to spend time in crazy Cape Town Traffic.
My driving partner and I did however feel slightly cramped by the design and curvature of the centre console and dash, especially on the passenger side.
When we swapped cars the previous drivers had either inadvertently or on purpose put on the passenger heated seats. Try as we might we couldn’t find the setting to switch it off so reverted to the MBUX voice assistant and asked “Hey Mercedes” to turn it off, which it duly obliged.
Both derivatives have sports suspension and variable ratio steering as well as a new four-link front axle system and a multi-link independent rear suspension with rear-mounted tie rod that offsets lateral forces, stabilising the handling characteristics.
Optional rear-axle steering, combined with a more direct steering ratio at the front axle reduces the turning circle by 90 centimetres, to 10.9 metres.
There’s also an off-road mode with the off-road screen usage having been simplified. A “transparent bonnet”, 360 degree camera and improved traction and handling control systems will ensure a decent drive off the tar, according to Mercedes.
During our route around Cape Town in both iterations, we didn’t really get a proper opportunity to experience the driving characteristics as a result of insane traffic conditions, which we’re told are now a daily occurrence.
A tourist doing 30km/h in front of us on Chapman’s peak didn’t help either but the air conditioning very much did in the sweltering heat.
On brief sections we could drive, the GLC feels solidly planted and easily goes around corners with virtually no body sway.
So for now, until we get it for a proper road test, I can say that as a city drive, although not cheap, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe has everything going for it.
It comes with a two year unlimited kilometre warranty and a five year 100 000km maintenance plan.
Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe Pricing (February 2024)
GLC 220D: R1,392,350
GLC 300D: R1,447,350