Mercedes-Benz has just officially launched the new GLC Coupé in Mzansi, and there couldn’t have been a better location to showcase the chic coupé SUV than the swanky streets of the Cape Town waterfront.

Starting at R1 392 350 for the entry level GLC 220d and only R55 000 more for the GLC 300d at R1 447 350, the GLC finds itself firmly on the upper end of pricing compared to its main German direct rivals in the form of the BMW X4 and Audi Q5 Sportback.

Style is not free, and the elegant sloping roofline – the pièce-de-résistance of SUV coupés such as the GLC Coupé – comes at the cost of practicality vis-a-vis the GLC SUV. However, Mercedes-Benz has lengthened and widened the new car, improving interior and boot space over the old model. Its silhouette remains incredibly striking and the rear sees the biggest improvement in styling over the outgoing model. It certainly won’t be ferrying the entire u13 cricket team and their gear to matches, but one does not purchase a pair of stilettos to play padel in either.

Everything else about the GLC Coupé feels more like a pair of camel skin moccasins than strappy Prada heels. The ride is supremely plush, the cabin is well insulated and solidly built; a quality that is not universally true for Merc’s latest offerings.

All models come equipped with Mercedes’s MBUX infotainment system with a 31.2cm centre touch screen and digital cluster. The slightly gimmicky but incredibly cool augmented reality feature that overlays navigation cues onto a real-time camera feed of the road ahead is optional, as is the Burmeister sound system. If I had to choose, the banging speaker system would get my pick 10 times out of 10. The plush leather seats can be heated as standard and an AMG Line package adds extra lashings of leather to the interior. Ticking the AMG Line option will also replace the standard 18-inch wheels with a larger 19-inch and 20-inch set.

The very narrow price gap between the base GLC 220d and the current range-topping 300d makes sense as their drivetrains are near-identical, only with differing states of tune. Both are powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbo diesel, assisted by a 17kW starter-generator. The GLC 220d produces 145kW and 440Nm, while the GLC 300d cranks out 198kW and 550Nm. Both models deliver power to all four wheels through Mercedes’s 9-speed automatic transmission and the 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Mercedes-Benz claims 0 – 100km/h times of 8.1 seconds and 6.4 seconds for the 220d and 300d respectively.

There are very few sporting pretensions to be found, even in the peppier 300d, and the GLC Coupé is better for it. The engine, mild-hybrid system and 9-speed transmission work in unison to deliver refined and effortless locomotion without any drama. The GLC 300d is the variant to have as the extra shove does come handy in overtaking situations. It doesn’t sip much more diesel than the 220d either, with Mercedes claiming figures as low as 5.1 litres per 100km for the GLC 220d and 5.5 per 100km for the GLC 300d.

Selecting the Sport drive mode sharpens up gear shifts and throttle response, and tightens up the chassis by stiffening the AIRMATIC suspension. Rather than transform the GLC Coupé into a corner carver, this mode gave the SUV more poise and confidence to deal with the tight bends of Chapman’s Peak. An off-road mode that raises the suspension for more ground clearance came in handy when pulling off the road to snap some photos along the coast.

Overall, the GLC Coupé is a very impressive product that absolutely feels like a Mercedes-Benz should. The premium over its direct rivals is the only point of contention, but we are very eager to live with the GLC Coupé and determine whether it could be the pick of the bunch regardless.

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé Prices

GLC 220d Coupé – R1 392 350

GLC 300d Coupé – R1 447 350

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