Mercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupe comes to China ready to fight BMW's X4

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  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupe
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There's little denying that small crossovers are hot right now. Not only are automakers scrambling to exploit the popularity of the market, they're doing so by offering unique twists on the traditional two-box body style – enter the coupe-like four-door CUV. BMW, for example, has the X4, and now, Mercedes-Benz is bringing a challenger of its own.

While it wears the concept name, the new GLC Coupe clearly foreshadows a production model that'll duke it out with the aforementioned BMW. If the vehicle shown above is any indication, when that fight happens, Mercedes will enter it with design on its side. The sheetmetal is muscular, with strong lines on the profile and the hood, while major themes in the front, back and sides are reminiscent of higher-end Silver Arrows. While we doubt the production GLC Coupe will be much of a trail bomber, fore and aft scuff plating is there to give the impression it can handle itself off road. Also, we feel obligated to give Mercedes bonus design points for the diagonally stacked quad exhausts at the back.

It's worth noting that the Concept GLC Coupe's styling previews not one but two production vehicles, as it's logical to assume the design language featured here will have a strong influence on the next GLC ( the crossover formerly known as the GLK).

Not only will the GLC Coupe have aesthetics on its side, at 15.5-feet long and riding on a 111.4-inch wheelbase, it's larger than its rival from Munich, too, although only just. The X4 is two inches shorter overall and has an extra 0.8 inches between the axles. The Benz is wider, too, at 78.7 inches, compared to 74.1.

Lending credence to the Concept GLC Coupe's production status, Mercedes released a pretty substantial array of technical details on its new four-door, coupe-crossover. With a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 punching out 367 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque, we're betting this would be the AMG Sport variant, rather than your everyday GLC. 4Matic all-wheel drive is a must-have in this segment, and it's present here, while a nine-speed automatic transmission is responsible for distributing power.

The Concept GLC Coupe will be shown this week at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show. Check back then for more.
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Mercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupé

The next coup

Stuttgart / Shanghai. In a flowing transition, Mercedes-Benz lands the next coup: the Concept GLC Coupé is a near-production-standard study that carries the successful GLE Coupé formula over into a more compact segment. The dynamically expressive show car combines typical stylistic features of a coupé with the sensually pure design idiom of coming SUV generations. This emotively appealing fusion is further enriched with details that are strong in character. A twin-blade radiator grille, powerdomes on the hood and a four-pipe exhaust system form an aesthetic contrast to the harmonious, almost organic main body section. On the other hand, elements from the rugged off-road world, such as enormous 21-inch tires, front and rear underbody protection, increased ground clearance and side running boards, are indicative of the off-road performance potential of the Concept GLC Coupé.

Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG, puts it in a nutshell: "With its modern and sensual design idiom, the Concept GLC Coupé gives a foretaste of future SUV models from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time, it embraces the typical values of tradition-steeped Mercedes-Benz coupés".

The same successful blend of the multifunctional SUV and the emotively appealing coupé world of Mercedes-Benz that was so enthusiastically welcomed with the GLE Coupé is now repeated with the Concept GLC Coupé. However, the near- production-standard show car inhabits a more compact segment, as demonstrated by the external length of 186.2 inches (4.73 meters) and the 111.4 inch (2.83- meter) wheelbase. These two dimensions, together with the striking and muscular main body section, elongated greenhouse and large 21-inch wheels, provide an ideal basis for the typical, almost dramatic proportions of the sportily youthful coupé generation with the characteristic off-road touch.

Distinctive front end, sculptural headlamp design

At the front, a short, crisp overhang with upright radiator grille and twin-blade louvre so characteristic of sporty Mercedes-Benz models give a first indication of the sporty philosophy behind the Concept GLC Coupé. The credo "Born to race on every ground" is confirmed by the powerdomes on the hood, the sweeping lines of the A-wing below the radiator grille, the large side air intakes and the visually dominant underbody protection. Like all the trim elements on the concept vehicle, this typical SUV feature radiates in silver shadow to form an attractive counterpoint to the solar-beam paintwork and the all-round claddings in matte gun metal magno paintwork.

Reminiscent of light sculptures, striking LED headlamps decisively shape the expressive face of the Concept GLC Coupé. All functions are united in one housing: for illumination, the daytime running lamps and turn indicators use the upper strip inserts, dubbed "eyebrows" by the designers. Below them are three rotating lenses, which appear to positively float in the deep, three-dimensional space and which adapt to the situation to optimally illuminate the road or terrain. Of course, the headlamps are non-dazzling for oncoming traffic in lower beam, upper beam, cornering light or active light mode. This is achieved by blanking out the light cone in the area of oncoming vehicles.

Side profile with low-slung coupé greenhouse and large SUV wheels

The perfection with which the intrinsically contrary design worlds of the coupé and the SUV have been brought into harmony with each other is revealed in particular by a side view of the just under 63 inch high (1.60-metre) Concept GLC Coupé with the typical, elongated roof line of a sports coupé. Like the integrated roof rails and fully recessed door handles, the squat greenhouse with its frameless side windows blends perfectly into the vehicle's flanks to additionally underscore the coupé-like character. The interplay with the high beltline, wide shoulders and accentuated wheel lips gives rise to extreme proportions that lend the Concept GLC Coupé a thrilling dynamism. This highly charged interaction is given extra emphasis by the drawn-in waist between the dropping line and the lower, rearwards ascending light- catching contour.

A clear indication of the more prominent SUV genes is given by sill extensions reminiscent of the side running boards on a classic SUV. Flush with the outside edge of the body, wide 21-inch wheels with large, heavily profiled tires combine with the relatively high ground clearance to endorse the sportily dynamic off-road ambitions of the Concept GLC Coupé.

Rear end with distinct coupé heritage

The rear view of the precisely 78.7 inch (two-metre) wide Concept GLC Coupé in particular reveals the wide, muscular shoulders with harmoniously modelled wheel arches that house 21-inch (53.3 cm) wheels with 285/45 R 21 wide-base tires. The four polished stainless-steel tailpipes of the exhaust system provide a visual highlight. Mounted in pairs above an A-wing similar to the one at the front and featuring characteristic underbody protection, the tailpipes underscore the sporty look of the coupé.

Overall, it is the styling of the rear end that most clearly accentuates the coupé genes of the concept vehicle. Narrow, split tail lights, centrally positioned brand star and a sharp spoiler lip emphasize a design line that made its debut with the S-Class Coupé and which all Mercedes-Benz coupé models have since followed. Relocated to the lower section of the bumper, the number plate as well as the typical form of the rear window with its rounded upper area are among the further stylistic features.

The night design of the LED tail lights sets a new tone. Adapted from the headlamps, the strips at the top are home to the turn indicators, which use chasing lights to signal a change of direction. A circular rear light encloses a central lens that adaptively augments the brake lamp for even better visibility.

Technical details provide a stimulating contrast

Hard technical details give an additional emotive appeal to the Concept GLC Coupé with its almost organic form of the main body section. For example, excitingly designed components such as two-part, open light-alloy wheels, wing-look exterior mirrors and the already mentioned four exhaust tailpipes set a deliberate stylistic contrast intended to underscore the technological claim of the show car. The same goes for the underbody protection with front and rear cooling ducts and the headlamps and tail lights, which resemble light sculptures.

Power aplenty: all-wheel-drive powertrain producing 367 hp

The drive technology aboard the Concept GLC Coupé matches the vehicle's looks. A V6 powerplant delivering 367 hp (270 kW) and 384 lb-ft (520 Nm) makes for a highly sporty level of performance. Familiar from AMG sports models, the direct- injection biturbo engine is teamed with a 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive to provide the show car with emphatic acceleration while at the same time giving an acoustically audible note to the impressive performance. Depending on the transmission mode setting, the tailpipes give off either a commandingly subdued rumble or the passionate sound of a high-powered sports car.

Extension to the SUV world of Mercedes-Benz

The SUV world of Mercedes-Benz has room for further models, such as a production version of the Concept GLC Coupé. The wide range of models allows customers the flexibility to order a tailor-made vehicle to suit their personal preferences. At the same time, the show car would enrich the trendsetting coupé world of Mercedes-Benz with a new all-rounder while providing a logical addition to models such as the four-door coupés. In addition to spawning entirely new classes of vehicle, these models have also exerted a considerable impact on the model policies of all manufacturers. They have also proved an outstanding success on the sales front.

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