What is it?
Do you remember when a coupé was a coupé? I do. You know, the fixed-roofed, two-door, sleek-rooflined things traditionally reserved for two people. Well, as the Mercedes GLC Coupé demonstrates, those days are long gone. It is quite definitely an SUV, based on the firm's GLC, but given a dose of slopy-roofed style.
Like the GLC, it shares its underpinnings with the Mercedes C-Class, while it borrows the GLC's bonnet, front wings and lower door panels. However, it sits lower than its SUV stablemate and is slightly longer overall, too.
Engine options in the UK begin with two versions of Merc's ageing 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel, the 220 and 250 d. By October there will be another two choices; the V6 diesel 350 d we drive here and an AMG 43 performance offering. In time - maybe two years - there will be a 350 e plug-in hybrid, but there are a few, er, gearbox problems to sort out, apparently.
Not so long ago the word niche was bandied about when it came to coupé SUVs, but with BMW and Mercedes now offering a brace, it seems amiss. Indeed, the GLC Coupé will be looking to tempt people away from the BMW X4, but the Porsche Macan is the one to beat for us here.
What's it like?
Mercedes has long been a connoisseur of the six-cylinder diesel and based on the GLC Coupé's, that remains the case. It fires to a creamy idle, revs smoothly and delivers luxurious waves of torque that make steep inclines and motorway overtakes superbly relaxing. Merc's nine-speed torque converter moves between its many gears intelligently enough by itself, too, and isn't too far behind paddle pulls.
UK cars will come with passive Sport suspension as standard while for £1495 you can add adaptive air suspension - as fitted to all of our test cars. The result feels a different beast than offered by BMW or Porsche; with the emphasis more on comfort than outright agility. And that's no bad thing because our car stayed settled over ruts in town and felt supremely cushioning on the motorway, more so than its rivals.
The GLC Coupé's steering has been made slightly quicker than the GLC's and switching from Comfort to Sport driving mode gives it extra weight, as well as making the gearbox snappier, the throttle more responsive and, (in our case), the suspension stiffer. Ultimately, you've got to be pushing extremely hard on the road before the front wheels start their journey wide, but the GLC Coupé never invigorates like a Macan.
The GLC Coupé's steering is fairly precise, but lacks the Porsche's razor-sharp, linear feel and you're aware of the Mercedes' weight shifting laterally through a series of bends that bit more too. If anything, our experience of the lighter-nosed 250 d on the same test drive event showed a slightly keener turn-in, even if it was still less urgent than its rivals.
But I'm not sure that's such an awful thing. The 350 d is brilliant at shutting out outside noise, while in the tallest of its many gear ratios its V6 is allowed to sink to a hush at a motorway cruise. Sat on air suspension, the GLC Coupé does quiet comfort even better, and that will count for a lot for many.