One obvious trend in automotive during the last decade was the rise of coupe SUV models. Driven predominately by the German automakers, the 2010’s yielded a host of niche SUV models filling in every conceivable market white space between traditional SUV models within their portfolios.
Most of us in the automotive industry have largely rolled our eyes at the trend; “oh, another SUV” sums up the attitude of most, myself included. Despite that, it’s hard to argue that the slew of SUV models have paid off for the German automakers as American consumers’ love affair with the SUV seems to know no bounds. Those bounds apparently include yours truly.
For the last three years I’ve piloted a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe. I chose a coupe because, after all, that’s what any self-proclaimed car guy would drive. Then I lived with a coupe for three years.
When I bought the C43 I lived in the middle of nowhere, meaning Costco was something I’d heard tale of, but had never actually shopped at one. Then I moved to the city and became a card-carrying Costco member. Eagerly, I drive my C43 to the nearest Costco and load up on a host of bulk items that I probably didn’t need, including paper towels.
Well, the suburb-sized paper towel bundle would not even fit in my C43. I ended up having to unbundle them and shove rolls in between all of my other bulk items in order to get them home. This one trip began to crack the walls of support I have for coupe models. Having to rent an SUV to go home for the holidays last year added an additional crack.
Moving to the city (downtown, no less) also presented another new challenge for me: parking in tight parking garages all the time. Every single time I parked the C43 in a downtown garage I was reminded that the doors on that thing are just shy of the length of a Lincoln Town Car. Every day I was shimmying my way out of the car–often with my work backpack–trying not to door ding the shit out of the car next to me or scratch my own with my bag.
And while the city life has presented mass-transit and ride share options abound, the few occasions I have attempted to chauffeur friends or colleagues, it only ends up with people struggling to get in the backseat, which was actually fairly generous by coupe standards.
So the time came to trade up. For months I flirted back and fourth between everything from a Mercedes-Benz GLE to an Audi S7 and never really settled on what to get.
Then I walked into a Mercedes showroom.
With little intentions of actually purchasing anything, I went to one of the nearby Mercedes dealerships to start distilling down my list of contenders. There it was: a 2020 GLE63 Coupe, resting in the AMG section of the showroom.
I go look at it, compete with my healthy dose of skepticism toward coupe SUV models. In fact, I immediately shut it down as a contender; looking at it only because it was the first 2020 AMG GLC I had seen. Ultimately my mind is creating a pro/con list and I start to scare myself in that I’m actually considering a coupe SUV.
Long story short, I ended up driving it home. It doesn’t look like a traditional SUV, but it has most of the functional benefits of one. It’s also stupid fast, sounds ridiculous and is unique in the sea of SUVs found in large metro area.
So yeah, I’m now part of the coupe SUV craze.