The Mercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupe revealed over the weekend ahead of its premiere at the Shanghai motor show this week is a sure sign of the company’s intention to release a BMW X4 rival in the near future.
This, the latest step in Mercedes-Benz’s expanded push into the booming SUV space worldwide, is billed as a “near-production-standard study” that downsized the formula the company uses on the 170mm longer GLE Coupe, which it revealed in January this year.
Therefore, the gold-hued concept you see here gives us a pretty good indication of what the production ‘regular’ GLC will look like (at the front at least). That car will premiere in production form in Frankfurt this September and Australia by December.
The GLC Coupe previewed by this concept will launch in production form a little later — bet on a Geneva motor show premiere in March 2016 — and is expected in Australia around August next year.
“With its modern and sensual design idiom, the Concept GLC Coupé gives a foretaste of future SUV models from Mercedes-Benz,” said Daimler AG head of design Gorden Wagener.
“At the same time, it embraces the typical values of tradition-steeped Mercedes-Benz coupés”.
The short front overhang with upright radiator grille and twin-blade louvre is characteristic of sporty Mercedes-Benz models, and illustrates the fact that Benz sees this as a car to put the ‘sport’ in SUV.
The rear end, it claims, “most clearly accentuates the coupé genes of the concept vehicle”. Narrow split tail-lights, a centrally positioned brand star and the sharp spoiler lip emphasise a design line that made its debut with the S‑Class Coupé and which all Benz coupé models have since followed.
Both the GLC Coupe and the larger GLE Coupe are answers to a question nobody really asked until BMW, which took a punt with the X6 and X4 and yielded significant sales reward.
Choosing China as the place to premiere what will become its newest model is likely to prove auspicious, given the continued growth of luxury cars in what is the world’s biggest car market.
Despite nominally being a concept, the GLC Coupe is not a show toy. Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre biturbo V6 engine with 270kW/520Nm, matched to a 9G nine-speed automatic transmission.
Power is sent to the road via a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and, at the rear at least, chunky 285/45 wide-base tyres on 21-inch rims.