Is the Mercedes-Benz GLC currently a better choice than the GLE?

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Apparently, this question makes no sense: the GLE is larger, has more potent engines and is more expensive for a reason. But the Germans at Auto motor und sport are questioning this logic and have come up with a head to head comparison test.

At a first glance, the two look pretty similar: the GLC’s dimensions have expanded so now it appears as if the baby brother is catching up in terms of height. They both are created for the same purpose: to be able to cross rough terrain if necessary, but mostly to offer a gentle ride on asphalt, a high driving position and tons of space.

Visually, the two cars have also come together. From the front, they are harder than ever to distinguish so apart from their size, the only differential is the rear, starting with the C pillar and ending with the taillights. The GLC, then, looks more elegant, which is a bit odd considering how the GLK was supposed to be a direct descendant of the mighty G-Class.

Since we’ve talking about size, here are the numbers: the GLE is 4.5 centimeters wider, a full 15 centimeters higher and 17 centimeters longer, which add up to a 690 liter boot space, 140 liter greater than in the GLC. On the other hand, despite all these extra centimeters, little is felt by the passengers in the GLE with headroom and legroom basically the same, and even smaller than the GLC in some respects.

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The two models at hand were both 250 d 4MATIC with four-cylinder two-liter engines developing 204 PS and nine-speed automatic transmissions. Same powertrain on two vehicles of different classes can only mean one thing: better performances for the smaller one.

Indeed, the GLC edges the bigger Benz in the 0-100 km/h sprint by a full second (7.6 vs. 8.6) and also has a greater top speed of 222 km/h compared to GLE’s 210 km/h. All this is due to the 450 extra kilograms, a number reflected in the fuel consumption as well: 5.9 l/100 km, 0.9 more than the more compact GLC.

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The more compact dimensions and lesser weight also make the GLC more nimble across corners even without the optional sport chassis.

In terms of money, the larger GLE is 10.000 euros more expensive and its standard equipment list isn’t all that impressive compared to that of the GLC, with some off-road oriented features and electrically adjustable front seats being the main ones worth mentioning.  What’s more, the GLC comes with the new elegant interior we’ve seen in the C-Class, while the GLE will have to wait for the next generation to truly take a step forward in terms of interior design.

In the end, Patrick Lang, the journalist who signs the article, says it all comes down to engine choice. The GLE offers a much wider range with V6 diesels, V8 petrols, a hybrid and two AMG versions. The GLC, for now, is restricted to four-cylinder engines only with the most powerful being the 211 PS GLC 250 4MATIC. They are both quite capable of handling off-road duty so there really isn’t much to choose between them. It all comes down to what each individual finds to be more important: the great interior of the GLC with equal room, less boot space and a more inconvenient access for the rear seats, or the larger boot, bigger car with possibly bigger engines and certainly the bigger price tag of the GLE?