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Mercedes adds a style-focused Coupe version to the GLC line-up. We drive the GLC 300

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If you like your SUV with a garnish of extra swoopiness, the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé is here to fill your order.

Although it’s based on the standard and very practical Mercedes GLC SUV, the Coupé trades the squared-off tail that prioritises head room and boot space for a sleek sloping roofline.

It’s a transformation we’ve seen many times before and follows the same framework as the Audi Q5 Sportback, the BMW X4 and even the Skoda Enyaq iV Coupé. As with all of those SUV-turned-coupés, the GLC looks to take advantage of the SUV's success while appealing to those after a sportier and more lifestyle-focused variant.

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Most of the engines are carried over from the SUV. That means it will launch with the 2.0-litre petrol GLC 300 driven here, as well as two 2.0-litre diesel engines, the GLC 220d with 194bhp and the GLC 300d with 254bhp. The plug-in hybrid GLC 300e, which is rated for an impressive 79 miles of electric range, will make it to the UK at a later stage, most likely towards the end of 2023.

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Like the most powerful diesel, the petrol GLC 300 offers 254bhp but is slightly quicker, officially sprinting from 0-62mph in 6.3sec. But it doesn’t feel as sprightly as the numbers suggest and that’s largely due to the standard-fit nine-speed automatic gearbox.

In fact, it hesitates so much off the line that our test car even began to inch backwards while waiting for the engine to kick in away from the lights. Luckily, once you get moving, things improve tenfold and the GLC Coupé’s gearbox begins to flick through the gears with near-imperceptible smoothness.

In keeping with the GLC Coupé’s sporty nature, sports suspension comes as standard and, even on relatively small 19in wheels, it’s rather firm, moving you around in your seat and picking up on almost every imperfection that the road can throw at you. It’s not so bad that you wouldn’t be able to live with it, but rivals with air or adaptive suspension, at this price point, are far more comfortable. In fact, with optional air suspension equipped, the GLC Coupé rides exceedingly well but, like with the GLC SUV, that’s not an option destined for the UK.

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As you might expect, the stiff suspension does pay off when you head out onto a winding country road, where the firmness helps the heavy car to remain composed, minimising body lean and giving you plenty of grip through corners. Like the SUV, the Coupé uses a variable steering set-up but it’s been tweaked for a sportier feel. It’s quite precise, but gains weight in a slightly uneven way, feeling light just off centre before suddenly getting heavier. You can certainly drive the GLC Coupé in a spirited manner, but if that’s your thing, you might want to take a look at the Porsche Macan instead.

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Inside, you’re treated to an interior that looks just as swanky as you’d expect, with even the entry-level AMG Line version boasting a bucket load of showroom appeal, thanks to the mix of materials. True, a poke around quickly reveals that the material quality isn’t as good as you might expect, but there’s no denying that it’s a nice and spacious place to be. Even with that sloping roofline, head room throughout is good and there’s loads of leg room in the front and rear.

That roofline does limit rear visibility rather severely, though, so it’s a good job that you get front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard. The crisp feed from that camera is shown on the central 11.9in touchscreen infotainment system, which also gives you access to all the expected features, including built-in sat-nav and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

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As is often the case when SUVs become coupés, the GLC Coupé demands a premium over the standard car, adding almost £7000 to the price. When you factor in the ride and the gearbox, that makes it quite hard to justify spending the extra over the standard car. Of course, whether you think it’s worth the premium will depend on how much the coupé-SUV style appeals to you.

Dan Jones

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Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe First drives