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The coupe has been for many years one of the most appealing models within the Mercedes range, and it can be traced back to its birth with the 10bhp Mylord of 1901. After the Second World War the coupe became something of a permanent feature for the giant German carmaker and throughout its history there have been some truly classic examples with the first four door version arriving in 2004.

Bringing the story right up to date is the new GLC Coupe, the sporty sibling of the GLC SUV and it rounds off the best-selling series of vehicles from Mercedes. With striking proportions, dramatic surfaces and precisely moulded edges which define an unmistakeable look, complemented by a clearly laid-out, high-quality interiors. All models are equipped with electric drive technology, either as a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range suitable for everyday needs or as a mild hybrid with 48-volt technology and an integrated starter-generator for an extra boost and energy recuperation. Whether on or off the road, the newcomer will deliver comfort and agility and sports suspension is standard and the optional 4.5° rear axle steering makes the vehicle even more manoeuvrable, it is offered in the Technology package along with Airmatic air suspension.

Off the road, this newcomer scores with numerous features such as 4MATIC all-wheel drive and purely electric off-road driving in the plug-in models and the off-road screen and the “transparent bonnet” has the 360° camera to enhance the comfort of the driving experience. The interior is equipped with the modern Avantgarde line as standard and the dashboard is clearly structured. The upper section has a wing-like profile with new, flattened vent outlets while the lower section has a generous trim area that flows seamlessly into the curved centre console. The 31.2 cm (12.3 in) high-resolution LCD screen in front of the driver appears to float freely above the wing profile and trim surface and the 30.2 cm (11.9 in) central display rises from the centre console and likewise appears to float above the trim surface. Like the dashboard, the screen surface is slightly angled towards the driver.

Comfort always a priority with Mercedes and the seat design plays with layers and contoured surfaces, lending them visual lightness. The head restraints and their connection to the backrest with an enclosed cover have been redesigned. Now offered as a special feature (standard for the AMG Line) is a leather-lined dashboard with nappa-look beltline and some trim elements have innovative surfaces. These include interpretations of open-pored wood veneers in brown, anthracite and black, featuring aluminium inlays. With petrol engine, diesel engine or as a plug-in hybrid: when it comes to crash safety, all models meet the stringent Mercedes safety standards. Together with the familiar Pre-Safe protection concepts for frontal and rear impacts, the impulse side function forms a virtual crumple zone around the vehicle. It is optionally available with Driver Assistance Package Plus; as only a limited crumple zone is available in the case of a side impact; it pushes the affected driver or front-seat passenger towards the middle of the vehicle and away from the acute danger zone when the system detects an imminent side collision. To do this, the system inflates air chambers in the side bolsters of the front-seat backrests in a fraction of a second. All in all, the safety concept of the GLC Coupe is based on an intelligently designed body with a particularly rigid passenger cell, selectively deformable crash structures and situational interaction between the seat belts, belt tensioners and airbag systems. In addition to legal requirements, the vehicle also fulfils internal Mercedes-Benz test requirements and test criteria derived from real accidents.

Like the SUV, the new GLC Coupe is systematically designed for electrification and the engine programme includes four-cylinder petrol and diesel units, always combined with an electric motor. Four of these are mild-hybrid units with an integrated second-generation starter-generator and three further engine variants are plug-in hybrid units and all the plug-in hybrids have an electric range of more than 100km (62m). Expect to see the stylish new GLC Coupe in mid summer.

Ian Lynas