Tough comparison Mercedes GLC vs. BMW X3. And the winner is…

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The youtube channel Autogefuhl has made a detailed comparison between the new Mercedes GLC and the facelifted BMW X3. Here are their conclusions.

The BMW X3 facelift benefits from a new front end, and the test model had the M Sport package, which includes the black insert in the spoiler and wider air intakes. The Mercedes GLC test car also had the AMG Line sport package with wider air intakes and a micro star pattern in the radiator grille.

Both have different design philosophies and LED signatures for daytime running lights. At 4.72 m, the GLC has grown slightly and is almost as big as the X3. The GLC has a more rounded design, elongated raindrop-shaped taillights, fake exhausts, and side steps. By comparison, the BMW has more angular shapes and is sportier viewed from the side, the new taillights differentiate it from the X1, and the exhausts are genuine, but the air intakes behind the wheels are just for design with no functional role.

Mercedes has the high-tech advances with integral steering and air suspension

The test pitted the BMW X3 xDrive30i (245 ps) against the Mercedes GLC 300 4 Matic (258 ps). The Mercedes GLC comes with integral steering with 4.5 degrees of steering angle, included in a package with air suspension. In contrast, integral steering is unavailable on the BMW, which only has an adaptive suspension option.

Mercedes’ interior has a wow effect, with lovely ambient lights in the doors and around the air vents, but the electric seat adjustment buttons have no feedback. The driving position is comfortable but not ideal for tall people, and the dash surrounds you, and there’s not much room. The dashboard has rounded lines, and the high gloss black center console is not a tester’s favorite, but we have to appreciate that in the off-road mode, you have a front-facing camera under the car, the map is very responsive, you have Apple Carplay wireless, digital instrument cluster with multiple customization possibilities and head-up display. Unfortunately, there’s also not much room in the back for tall passengers.

The BMW X3 offers a more SUV-like driving position, while the GLC is closer to a crossover. You sit in the seat and not on the seat like in the GLC, and in this respect, BMW has a slight advantage.
The interior is not as sensual and modern but more conservative. BMW offers classic climate controls with haptic feedback, and the map is just as responsive. The dash instruments are more straightforward without as much customization, and the steering wheel offers classic steering wheel buttons instead of the Mercedes one tactile surface. Apple Carplay and Android Auto are wireless. Also, the controller is another good solution to control the multimedia system. But you don’t get much more room in the back in the BMW either.

Both have big boot spaces: 550 liters in the X3, and 600 in the GLC. Both create a flat surface when you fold down the backrest, but the Mercedes GLC is more practical to fold down from the boot handles. The X3 has a slightly taller trunk, but the GLC is a bit longer. In contrast, the X3’s trunk opening is squarer.

Mercedes air suspension is better at low and mid speeds

With a slight power advantage, the Mercedes GLC is slightly faster, and the PHEV versions have a slightly longer electric range. Wind noise is reduced at high speeds, and the air suspension in sports mode offers more feedback. As a result, the Mercedes GLC feels more like a sedan when driving than an SUV and is very stable. With the AMG Line, the suspension isn’t tuned very soft, but it offers top comfort. The steering is natural but has a slight sluggishness, and you have to turn the wheel more before anything happens, but at least the steering is progressive. The new GLC is sportier to drive than the old model, thanks in part to the integral steering, which reduces turning circle and improves agility.

Usually, the BMW X3 is said to be sportier and the GLC more luxurious. But as the new generation Mercedes GLC is sportier, this prejudice doesn’t matter. The new GLC is more fun to drive, and in the U.S., Mercedes GLC is also available with rear-wheel drive only. Surprisingly, though, you have to turn the steering wheel even more in the BMW. Subjectively, the BMW feels more engaging and sporty, but that’s just an impression. The Mercedes has more direct steering.

The BMW X3 test car had adaptive suspension, but the GLC’s air suspension can do more by being tuned to a sportier note. But in the BMW, you feel more of what’s happening on the road, while the Mercedes isolates road irregularities better. If you compare the base versions, there’s not that much difference, but if you compare the top teams, the Mercedes has the advantage of the new technologies – integral steering and air suspension.

Mercedes accelerates a bit smoother, while BMW is a bit more brutal. The BMW’s steering gives more feel, and in the X3, you’re more connected to the car. The Mercedes is more glamorous, and the BMW is more purist. Both are unique.

At high speeds, the adaptive suspension is more comparable to the air suspension than at low speeds. At low to medium speeds, the GLC’s air suspension is better. The engine sound is somewhat more interesting in the Mercedes, and the ambient light is unrivaled. The BMW is less high-tech but offers an engaging drive, while the Mercedes is a bit more economical. On paper, the Mercedes is a little faster, but in reality, the BMW feels faster. Curious, isn’t it? You can find below the full video.


The author prefers BMW for the more angular shapes and Mercedes for the show-effect interior and ambient lights. Unfortunately, neither offers a very spacious interior. The Mercedes GLC has narrowed the sportiness gap to the X3. The X3 seems to say “drive me” while the GLC seems to say “come on, be driven”. More conservative, more engaging to drive in BMW’s case, or more focused on the technology drive and more showing off in Mercedes? If you consider the price, the Mercedes is more expensive. If we compare the top versions and optional drivetrain technologies, the preference goes for the Mercedes GLC. But if we compare the base versions, then the differences cancel each other out.