The night is dark and full of revs: Driving the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe 300d after dark
Two heavy words with very heavy implications. It’s hard to fathom the full impact of what the last few months have done to our lives. Our lives have been turned on their heads, having to recalibrate how we work, how we eat, how we have fun. How did we have fun? Those evenings are a distant memory. The soft clinking of cutlery at a gourmet restaurant. The bass hitting you in the chest at the club. The movie hall’s collective silence. The music festival’s chaotic euphoria. Endorphins caused by stimulating all our senses — with food, music, adrenaline, conversations and indulgence. A heady combination, and I think I found out how to get myself a fix.
“Hey Mercedes, take me on a drive.”
The sense of occasion of SUVs are indisputable and Mercedes- Benz is at the forefront of it. The luxury brand made a huge splash at the Auto Expo, then just before the lockdown launched the GLE. Answering calls from their customers, during the lockdown the all-new GLS was launched and soon there will be the EQC full-electric SUV. There’s more to come too, particularly the all-new GLA. Today though, what we have is the GLC Coupe and in this bright blue shade, feels like an indulgence before you even climb in. The diamond grille up front, flanked by the distinctive multibeam headlamps, the bulge on the bonnet and that sleek rear end. Oh, that rear end. The slammed roofline that ends in the most subtle bootlip spoiler is a constant reminder that the SUV-Coupe takes exclusivity up a notch.
“Hey Mercedes, turn up the volume”
The interiors take things a notch higher. Open pore wood, brushed metal, leather — every surface that brushes against your skin is a gentle reminder that this car ensconces you in luxury. The ambient light keeps the interior softly lit while you can focus on navigating your way out of the city. It is easy to get comfortable here — with the electrically adjustable seats, the customisable instrument cluster and connectivity for your devices. Mercedes-Benz has always got the fundamentals right — a slick steering that weighs up progressively, the right amount of resistance to the pedals, and a satisfyingly damped stalk to select gears. But new cars have an added layer of interaction, the MBUX system with voice activated “Hey Mercedes” commands.
“Hey Mercedes, switch to Sport+”
The steering tightens up. The revs rise. The gearbox holds revs for longer. The adrenaline fills your veins. There’s something intoxicating about the way the GLC Coupe moves on our roads. There’s a swift injection of torque down to the wheels as you step on the throttle, supplemented with a growl from the motor. This GLC Coupe 300d I am driving gets a 2-litre engine that makes 241bhp and 500Nm, plenty to hustle its heft. Nought to 100kmph takes little over 6.5 seconds — and remember, this isn’t even an AMG. Impressive. It is an in-line four engine and you might think that it would feel a little underwhelming, but you’re wrong. The delivery is creamy smooth and worthy of an SUV that looks fast.
The GLC Coupe’s suspension isn’t overtly sporty — it is sprung for comfort and helped in no small measure by the high-profile tyres. But that is precisely what allows you to hammer through our roads with abandon. You don’t need to slow down to a crawl for bad patches. Just tap the brakes ever so slightly, get off them to set the weight up evenly and fly over them. The suspension soaks up the road, without pogo-ing the SUV around. It’s revelatory. Find winding roads and the GLC Coupe will dance to your tune, hiding its size and living up to the coupe in its name. There’s a directness to the way it turns in that will have you pushing yourself harder and harder with each successive turn, until you realise you’re doing illegal speeds and should probably slow down.
“You have reached your destination”
Stop. Get out. Breathe. It’s a quiet evening. The sun has dipped over the horizon and put up a spectacular show in the skies. The city’s lights glisten in the distance — like stars that have strayed too far away from their homes. It takes a second for your eyes to adjust. For months, everything you have looked at was right in your face. Not any more. Breathe. The world may be a strange place right now but you need moments like these to put things back into perspective. Freed from the four walls you call home, with nothing but infinity to look at. Breathe. As lockdown restrictions ease, the first bits of indulgence are going to be exactly this — solitary drives in a car that intoxicates you. Quiet moments of solitude. Recovering from the week gone by and feeling like yourself for the week ahead. Breathing freely. The GLC Coupe delivers on everything we used to look for in our weekends — adrenaline, occasion, luxury. A drive out of town in it, is time well spent. You are assured of an assault on your senses, followed by the calm of the outdoors.
“Hey Mercedes, let’s take the long road home.”