For years, BMW and Mercedes have been locked in a perpetual state of one-upsmanship. And for the better part of the last decade, BMW’s X6 and X4 have had the sport utility coupe or SUC (and I’m not making this up) segment all to themselves.
Naturally, the folks from Stuttgart couldn’t sit idly by and let their Bavarian rivals be unchallenged in a market segment.
Which is why late last year, Mercedes armed itself with the 2016 GLE Coupe as its weapon against the X6. Now, Mercedes followed up with a new X4 fighter — the GLC Coupe Concept — at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show.
“With its modern and sensual design idiom, the Concept GLC Coupé gives a foretaste of future SUV models from Mercedes-Benz,” Daimler AG design boss Gordon Wagener said. “At the same time, it embraces the typical values of tradition-steeped Mercedes-Benz coupes.”
Although the GLC is technically a concept, the GLE was transcribed almost verbatim from show car to production model. We’re confident that Mercedes will do the same thing with the GLC. (Mercedes sees the GLC Coupe Concept as a “near-production standard study” — which means the concept is a fairly accurate presentation of what the finished car will look like.)
Like the larger GLE Coupe, the GLC features a four-door coupe body with swoopy sports car-esque design elements. The tires are SUV-esque, and so is the ground clearance.
This is an odd segment: crossovers that are too tall to drive like true sports cars, but with too many curves to provide the utility of a boxy SUV. Bottom line: the segment is still very niche. Nevertheless, SUC sales are growing an a impressive rate. So far in 2015, the X6 is are up 29.4% over the same period last year, while the newly introduced X4 saw a jump in March jump of 28.5%.
Mercedes hasn’t announced the official engine options for the production GLC Coupe, but the concept featured a 367 horsepower bi-turbo V6.
When will the GLC hit showrooms? Probably early next year, with a price in the same ball park as the X4’s $US45,000.
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