Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The GLC Coupé’s engine range mirrors that of the GLC SUV, so things kick off with the 220d; a 2.0-litre diesel with a 191bhp. Despite being the range’s entry point, the 220d proves to be plenty quick enough on the road, whisking you up to motorway speeds without fuss. There’s plenty of low-end shove so you don’t have to work it particularly hard, either. A punchier 242bhp version badged 300d is available, but we don’t think it’s worth the extra.
But we suspect the petrol engines will be of more interest to UK buyers. The GLC 300 has 254bhp and matches the 300d for 0-62mph acceleration. However, on the road, there’s a more noticeable performance gap as the petrol needs working harder than the diesel, should you need some urgent acceleration. Again, we’d stick to the more affordable 220d. A plug-in hybrid model badged 300e is available, but we’re yet to sample it.
If you’re after even more speed, the 385bhp GLC 43’s twin-turbocharged petrol V6 may appeal, while at the top of the tree sits the bonkers fast GLC 63 Coupé with its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Of course, if 469bhp isn’t enough, there’s the GLC 63 S Coupé, which gets 503bhp. For more information on that, have a look at our GLC 63 review.
Regardless of engine, you get a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard. It changes gear smoothly and although there is a little hesitancy at low speeds, it’s still more responsive than the Range Rover Velar’s gearbox. AMG models get tweaked nine-speed autos that are a little jerkier at low speeds.
Both diesels are impressively hushed at a cruise and stay pretty smooth when you’re accelerating, too. They may not be quite as impressive as the Audi Q5’s 40 TDI engine, but they run the BMW X4’s 20d lump very close indeed. The 300 petrol is even better, sending fewer vibrations through the controls and proving less vocal, too. It even does a passable impression of a six-cylinder engine in Sport mode thanks to some trickery that uses the stereo speakers. However, the quieter engines do mean you notice the pronounced road roar that filters up from the tyres.
The GLC Coupé gets the same variable steering set-up as the GLC, but it's been made slightly quicker to give a sportier feel. In truth, while it's fairly precise, it still feels unevenly weighted and uncommunicative. There's no doubt that the Porsche Macan better communicates what the front tyres are up to. Grip levels are decent enough, but the GLC never feels as agile or entertaining as the BMW X4.
There are two suspension options: regular coil springs, and the air suspension that’s fitted with top spec AMG Line Premium Plus Ultimate trim. Even on relatively small 19in wheels, the GLC Coupé is rather firm, picking up on road imperfections all too readily and thumping through potholes. It rarely makes you wince, but the Range Rover Velar is comfier, while a BMW X4 with the optional adaptive suspension rides and handles better. Air suspension adds a comfortable waftiness to motorway cruising, but it’s not worth the huge extra expense.