Editors' note: This First Take has been updated with new information on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43.
Addiction to half-coupe, half-SUV models is a very real thing. BMW first fell when it released the X6, a crossover very similar to the larger X5, but with a swoopier rear-end that, while attractive, cut into cargo space and headroom. Mercedes followed with the GLE and GLE Coupe. But BMW did it again with the smaller X3, creating the X4. And thus, Mercedes must do the same, releasing the GLC-Class Coupe.
The differences between the GLC-Class and the GLC-Class Coupe, the base model of which debuted at the New York International Auto Show, are largely cosmetic. The rear end has been shaped similarly to the GLE-Class Coupe and the S-Class Coupe before it, and the body is 3.2 inches longer and 1.6 inches lower than the regular GLC. Otherwise, the two cars share the same underpinnings. Their powertrains and equipment loadouts are damn near exactly the same.
The GLC Coupe will be offered in two distinct trim levels, GLC300 and Mercedes-AMG GLC43. The GLC300 packs a 241-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, mated to a nine-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive. That's another difference between coupe and non-coupe -- the GLC-Class offers rear-wheel drive in the GLC300, whereas the coupe does not.
The Mercedes-AMG GLC43 marks the first time that Mercedes has bestowed its AMG trim upon the GLC-Class, which includes the GLK-Class that preceded it. It's not a full-on raucous AMG (those have -63 at the end, not -43), but it'll still haul ass, with its 3.0-liter V6 putting out 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. It'll hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, but its top speed is electronically limited (lame) to 130 mph.
Instead of relying on a traditional suspension, the GLC43 Coupe wields a sportier version of Mercedes-Benz's air suspension. Not only can it change its damping based on the vehicle's mode, but it'll even raise the vehicle up for some light off-roading action. Speed-sensitive, mode-adjustable steering should add to the GLC43 Coupe's lively character.
As with other AMG models, the GLC43 Coupe packs some unique aesthetics inside and out. There's AMG lettering all over the darn thing, along with a silver chrome front splitter, unique wheels, quad tailpipes and a sharp spoiler lip, which is a feature on all AMG coupes (someone please remind Mercedes this isn't actually a coupe). The interior features sport seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel with contrasting stitching, red seatbelts and an AMG-specific instrument cluster.
Both variants can equip Mercedes-Benz's excellent suite of active safety systems, including a full-speed adaptive cruise control with steering assist. A 7.0-inch infotainment system is standard, but that can be bumped up to 8.4 inches, and buyers can add options like Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity and navigation.
Both GLC Coupe variants will arrive at dealerships in early 2017, but pricing information is not yet finalized.