The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe is a premium compact crossover with a difference. No, it’s not a coupe in the traditional sense of the word, because it has four doors. But it does have that similar kind of fastback styling.
Think of the GLC Coupe as the equivalent of BMW’s X4 (based on the X3). Tastes will differ, but it might be argued that Mercedes-Benz has made the "compact crossover 4-door coupe" idea into something much easier on the eye than its rival from Munich. And let’s be honest, styling is a big reason why vehicles like this exist.
This model is derived from the GLC SUV (reviewed separately), which itself is based on the excellent C-Class platform. The SUV has won many positive reactions for its smooth ride, equipment levels, practicality and good looks. The GLC Coupe follows the same formula, except for the practicality part. It’s a fashion thing.
Nevertheless, it’s still a Mercedes-Benz. So that always means high quality, excellent driving manners and the kind of cachet that only comes when there’s a 3-pointed star on the nose.
What’s New for 2018?
The range doubles in size to accommodate two new and more powerful AMG variants, the GLC 63 and GLC 63 S. The company’s heated windscreen wiper system becomes standard throughout. The previously optional Storage package (seatback pockets, storage nets, rear seat release switches in the cargo area) is now standard. A removable ski/snowboard bag is available. AMG models are eligible for a performance exhaust system. And there’s been a reshuffling of equipment. See the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class models for sale near you
What We Like
Premium presence; fuel-efficient 4-cylinder powertrain; engaging AMG versions
What We Don’t
Comes at a premium price; following a trend rather than setting one
$47,595-$61,395 (the AMG GLC 63 and GLC 63 S variants arrive mid-2018, so pricing was not set when this review was written)
A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder powers the GLC 300 4Matic. It makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, and connects to a 9-speed automatic transmission, with standard all-wheel drive, the 4Matic part of the name. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy at 22 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.
The AMG GLC 43 has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing an energetic 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. It uses basically the same 9-speed automatic transmission as the GLC 300 4Matic (although it’s been tuned for faster shifts) and all-wheel drive is again standard. The EPA puts fuel consumption at 18mpg city/24 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined.
When they arrive, the AMG GLC 63 versions will come with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 and a 9-speed automatic transmission (this is news, kind of, because previous big-power AMG vehicles only had 7-speed units). And a specially tuned all-wheel drive system is standard where the torque split is fully variable between the front and rear axles. The GLC 63 has 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, while the GLC 63 S enjoys 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. There were no EPA figures at the time of writing this review.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class Coupe is a 5-seater that comes in GLC 300 4Matic form, the sportier Mercedes-AMG GLC 43, or even hotter AMG GLC 63 and GLC 63 S versions.
The GLC 300 4Matic Coupe ($47,595) has 18-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, full LED exterior lighting, 14-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with memory settings, heated/rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, power-folding rear seats, powered tailgate, roof rails, 7-in display screen for the COMAND infotainment system, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, drive mode settings, rear seat release switches, rearview camera, 8-speaker audio system, two USB ports, iPod interface and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming.
The optional Premium 1 package features blind spot monitoring, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio and a 115-volt outlet. A Multimedia package adds an 8.4-in infotainment screen, touchpad controller, voice-controlled navigation and five years of Sirius XM traffic and weather updates.
The AMG Line package means 20-in alloy wheels, sporty cosmetic touches and stronger brakes. A Night package adds black 20-in wheels and exterior accents. The Advanced Lighting Package has active LED headlamps, automatic high beams, multi-colored ambient LED cabin lighting and illuminated front door sills. An Active Parking Assist package brings a 360-degree camera system, automated parking, hands-free tailgate operation and parking sensors at both ends.
A Premium Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, emergency braking with cross-traffic alerts, pedestrian detection, active lane-keeping and some features in the Premium 1 package.
Other options include an air suspension, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, power-adjustable front passenger seat, Burmester 14-speaker audio system upgrade (as found in the S-Class), 20-in alloy wheels, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, Wi-Fi, cabin air fragrance/ionization system, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, heated steering wheel and an illuminated grille badge.
The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupe ($61,395) comes with an adaptive air suspension, 20-in AMG-designed alloy wheels, various cosmetic touches inside and out, heated/14-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings for both sides, plus the contents of the Premium 1 package.
The AMG GLC 63/GLC 63 S Coupe ($TBA) has its own design of grille, plus a sport exhaust system and rear limited-slip differentials (a mechanical unit in the GLC 63, an electronic version in the GLC 63 S).
Maximum cargo space is 49.4 cu ft., less than the Volkswagen Golf (52.7 cu ft.). Even if we assume most buyers don’t care too much about this aspect, they might still find the high lip (just above the rear bumper) an inconvenience.
The array of standard safety equipment is impressive, including anti-lock brakes, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, Crosswind Assist, trailer sway control, driver drowsiness monitoring, side airbags and side curtain airbags. Options include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance and a feature called forward cross-traffic prevention with automatic braking.
The GLC Coupe was not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). But the IIHS made the GLC SUV a Top Safety Pick Plus because it took the top score of Good in all the major categories.
Behind the Wheel
Almost everyone will be impressed with the GLC 300 4Matic Coupe after even a short spell behind the wheel. Direct steering and a smooth, serene, luxurious ride are complemented by a punchy engine. Factor in the quality cabin materials, the cabin’s tranquility and the various safety features, and this crossover "coupe" is a continual joy.
The GLC 43 is not super-hot, but still flexes a satisfying amount of muscle. It accentuates talents in the chassis that are not so apparent with the smaller engine. Drive settings span from economical to Sport Plus and then a personal customized mode. So things can be fun or family-friendly, all at the touch of a button.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 BMW X4 — The GLC Coupe’s closest competitor, with similar pricing and a similar high-end image.
2019 BMW X4 M40i xDrive M Performance — There isn’t an X4 M, but this upcoming variant comes close to the AMG C 43 with a sport suspension and brakes, plus 355 hp.
2018 Jaguar F-Pace — Sleek, handsome, dynamic in its own ways, and spacious. The cabin’s quality lets the side down somewhat, especially when compared with the Mercedes-Benz, but that may not be a deal-breaker.
2018 Lexus NX — Aimed at those who prefer luxury over performance, the NX offers a lackluster 4-cylinder model and a fuel-efficient hybrid. But it also enjoys renowned Lexus build quality as well as head-turning styling.
Used Porsche Macan GTS — Not a crossover coupe as such, but with a compelling design all the same. And one of the best driving experiences this side of a sports car.
For general running around town and the occasional long trip, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the GLC 300, but select the main driver assistance options. The AMG GLC 63 versions should be fabulous and fast. The AMG GLC 43 model, however, has a perfect amount of punch and presence.