And the best SUV Coupe award goes to… For two years the X4 plowed all by itself a segment that BMW itself has invented. But now he gets strong competition from Mercedes GLC. FIRST COMPARISON TEST VIA AUTOBILD.
Coupé: 1. compartment in a railway carriage. 2. closed two-seater coach. 3. closed [two-seat] car with retractable side windows. In the last 130 years of automotive history, the term coupe has firmly described a two-door, sporty styled car with two or four seats. But since 2004, Mercedes tried to convince us with the CLS that even limousines with frameless side windows were coupes. And even seasoned SUV as the new GLC Coupe offshoot should be seen as old-school coupes.
BMW calls this category internally SAC: Sports Activity Coupe. The correct term would be hatchback SUV. But we are here to analyze not the terminology, but to the cars. Since 2008, BMW makes the law in the SUV Coupe segment with the X6 and then, since 2014, lures the fashion conscious public with the X4. Now Mercedes wants to get involved in this booming segment and sends the GLC Coupe on the automotive catwalk. Which Coupe butt can now enchant more? The roundish Mercedes or rather massif Bavarian? Front ends are both identical to their X3 and GLC brothers.
The rear seats are easier to board in the BMW because of the lower sill. But the Bavarian flops, because the seating area is extremely low and the passengers crouch because the back is strongly angled. Headroom? OK. Change to the Benz. Head down and crawling over the slightly higher sill. But everything else is better. Higher seats, relaxed riding position, more space. Headroom? OK. We leave the rear compartment, with the Mercedes clearly in advantage. Looking backwards. What do we see? Headliner, headrests, roof pillars. Only windowless vans are even more confusing. Glad the Benz has a standard reversing camera, the BMW will charge you 420 euros extra for it.
Before we start the dynamic roundup, let’s look under the hood: the BMW surprised us, casually dangling on the hood underside is the unlocking mechanism, caught only by a sheet-metal bracket. Laterally you look through the wheel arches straight at the asphalt: Unacceptable in a car that costs at least 48,200 euros. Mercedes: everything is as it should be in this price range.
And how do they go? Amazingly agile for their weight. The Benz weighs 1964 kg, the BMW 101 kilos less. However, it is less a question of reducing weight and more of the tuning of the chassis and steering that makes the BMW a better driver’s car. The steering response is quicker and more direct. Nevertheless, the adaptive suspension offers (1100 Euro) good ride comfort, the fabulous eight-speed automatic is always keen to change, especially in Sport mode.
The GLC is no more powerful, but it offers a 100 Nm higher torque. This is just noticeable on the highway where the GLC is more effortless in driving. Here the Mercedes is in its element: The wind noise is low, the air suspension (2261 Euros) can fully play its strengths. Over long bumps ironing them gently away, the nine-speed automatic transmission keeps the revs comfortably low, the steering responds calmly. The Benz glides serene. On the brake test it does really good, stopping from 100 km / h in 35.2 meters, 1.60 meters earlier than the BMW (warm brakes). With a test consumption of approximately 6.5 liters per 100 km, both Coupes also very economical, since we are talking about circa 200 hp all-wheel drive SUVs. Or maybe we should finally start calling them sporty coupes..?
Whether hatchback SUV or SUV Coupe, the concept still has its practical drawbacks. All the more gratifying is that both models drive typical of each brand DNA’s: The BMW is the Dynamic champion, the Benz is the glider. The Benz wins because it offers more space and comfort. Disappointing: The X4 reveals some quality weaknesses.
|Model||X4 xDrive20d||GLC Coupé 250 d 4Matic|
|Engine||L4, Turbo||L4, Biturbo|
|Displacement||1995 cm³||2143 cm³|
|kW (PS)/rpm||140 (190)/4000||150 (204)/3800|
|Vmax||212 km/h||222 km/h|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic||9-speed automatic|
|Lenght/width/height||4671/1881–2089/1624 mm||4732/1890–2096/1602 mm|
|Luggage||500-1400 l||500-1400 l|
|Weight||1863 kg||1964 kg|
|Consumption||5,2 l/100 km||5,2 l/100 km|
|CO2||138 g/km||131 g/km|
|Price (Germany)||56.650 Euro||58.216 Euro|