Mercedes-Benz GLC

350d AMG-Line Coupe

Mercedes-Benz GLC, front
Mercedes-Benz GLC, front
Mercedes-Benz GLC, side
Mercedes-Benz GLC, side
Mercedes-Benz GLC, rear
Mercedes-Benz GLC, rear
Mercedes-Benz GLC, interior
Mercedes-Benz GLC, boot
Mercedes-Benz GLC, detail

CAR designers are masters at discovering a new niche to cash in on.

Just when you think every opportunity has been exploited, another emerges. Take the surging SUV sector - the edges have been blurred between full-fat four-wheel-drives and sporty high performance models.

Just look at the credentials of the Porsche Macan or the beefy Maserati Levante. But Mercedes have underlined their sporting intent of the GLC Coupe not only with the option of dazzling performance but a more rakish body.

Sure, it's still a five-door and can easily soak the all the family clutter but its more youthful and athletic lines are set out to attract younger buyers.

At the top end of the range is the mighty 43 AMG but less extravagant and still quick enough to show many a sports car a clean set of tyres is the 350d with a frugal 3.0 V6 diesel packing 258bhp and capable of eclipsing 62mph in just six seconds.

With AMG Line body styling, complete with polished metal running boards, the Coupe looks more Ritz than rambler, but it remains pretty practical despite losing a few centimetres of headroom.

The boot is marginally less spacious having a 500 litre capacity rather than 550 litres - still ample room for most holidays and excursions. It is, however, quite a high platform and bags must be lifted over a lip.

Like most six-cylinder diesels, the engine is smooth and creamy and provides a relentless flow of unflustered power. It is matched to a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox with steering paddles that strikes the right balance between athletic performance and appropriate relaxed luxury.

Air suspension is a £1,495 extra but worth the cash as the system delivers a composed ride that remains settled over poor surfaces with decent vertical adjustment without inducing too much cornering roll.

The running boards - price £450 - are a less useful option. The GLC isn't tall enough to require them and they serve only to leave muddy marks on your trouser legs when getting out.

As SUVs go the coupe handles well with a sharp turn-in and good response to directional changes, which helps justify the lower ride height and roofline.

Four wheel drive ensures the coupe is a capable all-rounder, although it's not intended to rival G-Class levels of off-road exploration.

Standard equipment is generous with such niceties as heated front seats, black ash wood fascia inserts, leather upholstery, privacy glass and smart 19-inch alloys in titanium grey.

The smooth turbo V6 plays its part in keeping noise levels subdued, as does the stiff platform and the smooth shape which means there's very little commotion from wind noise.

Cabin design follows Mercedes well trod path with high grade, heavy duty plastics and switches that feel strong and made-to-last. There's little flamboyant or radical here but the classy, restrained approach will probably appeal to loyal Merc fans.

FAST FACTS

Mercedes-Benz GLC 350d AMG-Line Coupe

Price: £49,025

Mechanical:258bhp, 2,987cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four-wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 148mph

0-62mph: 6.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 43.5

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 169g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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