BMW X3 vs Mercedes GLC


For years Mercedes’ mid-size SUV mannequin wasn’t accessible within the UK as a consequence of constraints of changing it to right-hand drive, however that modified in 2015 with the launch of the model’s GLC.

Now, 4 years later, the automotive has reasonably fallen by the wayside below the onslaught of different premium off-roaders. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Tempo, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Porsche Macan and Volvo XC60 all occupy this house, exhibiting simply how crowded this space of the market is.

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Nevertheless, it’s BMW that Mercedes has all the time fought carefully, and the X3 is the automotive most carefully aligned to the GLC – which is why we’ve pitted the 2 collectively right here. This check will probably be fought on many fronts, so allow us to see how the Mercedes fares.


Mannequin: BMW X3 xDrive20d SE Mercedes-Benz GLC 220 d Sport
Worth: £41,365 £40,620
Engine:  2.Zero-litre 4cyl turbodiesel 2.Zero-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
Energy/torque: 187bhp/400Nm 191bhp/400Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automated, four-wheel drive   9-speed automated, four-wheel drive  
Zero-60mph/high pace:  eight.Zero seconds/132mph eight.2 seconds/134mph
Take a look at financial system:  39.8mpg 42.3mpg
CO2/tax 133g/km/£465 137g/km/£465
Choices:  NA Metallic paint (£685), trailer coupling with trailer stabilisation (£750) 


For: Robust steadiness of consolation, refinement, dealing with and efficiency, increased specification than GLC Sport
Towards: Pricier than GLC, in-car know-how isn’t fairly as spectacular as that within the newest BMWs

BMW’s CLAR structure is now well-known, however the X3 was one of many model’s earlier vehicles to be launched on this platform. The underpinnings have gone on for use within the three Collection, for instance, a automotive that rides and handles beautifully.

Nevertheless, the driving behaviour of SUVs such as these is commonly a compromise, as a result of they’ve the next stance and weigh an ideal deal. For instance, the X3 is 1,750kg – albeit lighter than the 1,835kg Mercedes – however BMW has achieved its greatest to tune out any dynamic shortcomings, so the X3 steers and handles comparatively effectively.

The trip does have a barely firmer edge than the Mercedes’, although, even when it offers with massive bumps simply as effectively. Regardless of this firmer sensation, the X3 is simply as comfy because the Mercedes. You get used to the way it offers with imperfections within the highway. Initially, it’s firmer and has much less suspension journey, however the best way it rounds the perimeters off inputs remains to be pretty plush. There’s much less physique motion than within the Mercedes, so that you get thrown back and forth within the seat barely much less. That stated, you pogo up and down a fraction extra within the BMW.

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The BMW is equal with the Mercedes for refinement, too; its 187bhp, 400Nm 2.Zero-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel drones should you rev it onerous, however in any other case it’s easy and pretty quiet.

There was little or no distinction in efficiency in our acceleration exams, with the X3 taking eight.Zero seconds to hit 60mph from relaxation and the Mercedes eight.2 seconds. Efficiency is greater than enough in each vehicles. You’ll not often want extra, even when you may want a little bit further oomph in just some conditions – pulling away from a roundabout being the principle one. In any other case, torque is sweet and acceleration from mid speeds is easy.

The BMW’s eight-speed automated gearbox definitely helps right here, too, as a result of it’s higher than the Mercedes’ nine-speed unit. It’s faster to lock up and switch drive to the wheels, and whereas it’s as easy shifting up and down the field, it does so extra rapidly, giving a extra optimistic response. 

In SE trim the BMW is definitely pricier than the Mercedes, however we predict it warrants the additional money (together with many different components, as we’ll see). That’s as a result of the supplies really feel a little bit extra upmarket (particularly on the transmission tunnel and centre console) and also you get a great degree of tech. This consists of iDrive with sat-nav, LED headlights, heated seats, energy tailgate, reversing digital camera, cruise and three-zone local weather management, good security tech and Apple CarPlay as normal, in addition to actual leather-based, not the man-made materials within the GLC.

Tester’s notes

Infontainment: The graphics won’t be as sharp because the Merc’s HD display screen, however the iDrive set-up and touchscreen are simpler to make use of
Transmission: Eight-speed automated transmission within the BMW is easy and fast to vary
Trim high quality: All the things you contact feels nice, and the buttons and switches function slickly

Mercedes GLC

For: New engine way more refined, improved infotainment set up, sensible
Towards: Nonetheless not nearly as good to drive as X3 however no extra comfy, inside high quality may very well be stronger

One of many largest modifications for this up to date GLC is that Mercedes’ outdated 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel has lastly been outdated. It’s been changed by the newer, extra frugal, extra environment friendly and way more refined 2.Zero-litre unit that appeared first within the E-Class and has discovered its approach into the C-Class saloon and different SUVs, such because the GLE.

The GLC’s engine produces 191bhp, which is 4bhp greater than the X3, whereas there’s an equivalent 400Nm of torque to play with. Each rivals listed here are four-wheel drive, however the Mercedes makes use of a nine-speed automated gearbox to the BMW’s eight-ratio unit.

The engine is at the least as refined because the X3’s. It revs easily with out an excessive amount of diesel racket until you actually push it. The field isn’t as fast
to shift because the X3’s – however then, in a automotive reminiscent of this, it arguably doesn’t should be. What the Mercedes does ship is easy progress.

On check, it was Zero.2 seconds slower from Zero-60mph, taking eight.2 seconds. The distinction in the transmissions meant the acceleration within the totally different gears clearly various, but it surely was not by a lot. Going from 30-70mph up by way of the ratios, the Merc was once more solely Zero.2 seconds slower than the BMW, at eight.three seconds.

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So efficiency is greater than enough and in contact with the BMW’s, whereas the Merc is comfy, too. The suspension damping is languid. There’s extra physique motion than in its rival, however this does at the least imply most undulations and ripples within the highway are effectively contained. Nevertheless, inputs from greater ruts and potholes reverberate by way of the construction – particularly should you hit them with the within wheels when going spherical a nook.

In relation to these vehicles’ dynamic behaviour it’s the consolation that issues extra, however in different areas the Mercedes doesn’t nail the temporary fairly
as effectively. Regardless of an inside facelift, which includes new infotainment with a much bigger display screen and a digital sprint on some fashions, the GLC’s primary format hasn’t been altered an excessive amount of. Which means high quality is alright however not fairly on the X3’s degree, whereas the design is only a bit extra sedate. No less than the inside is useful and spacious.

Sport trim is the underside rung on the GLC ladder, but it surely does get a good degree of know-how, with LED lights, lively park help with a reversing digital camera, heated seats, plus the brand new MBUX infotainment system with a 10.25-inch display screen that options navigation. Nevertheless, Sport trim doesn’t get the choice of the Premium or Premium Plus packs, so you’ll be able to’t add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, for instance. It is a disgrace.

Testers’ notes

• Infotainment: 10.25-inch display screen has sharp graphics and fast response
• Transmission: Mercedes makes use of a nine-speed auto gearbox in contrast with the BMW’s eight-ratio unit
• High quality: Sprint options the standard premium really feel you’d count on from an enormous Mercedes


First place: BMW X3

The X3 is a effectively balanced machine, even in entry-level SE trim. As with the GLC Sport it isn’t our decide of the vary, but it surely’s comfy, drives higher than the Mercedes and has further normal equipment. There’s extra accessible to enhance the spec, too. Working prices will probably be comparable.

Second place: Mercedes GLC

It is an extremely close-run contest, however in primary Sport trim the GLC simply loses out. Its extra restricted equipment doesn’t assist, and whereas it’s comfy, it’s not nearly as good to drive because the X3, which mixes each attributes higher. Nonetheless, the engine and infotainment tweaks are welcome, and we’d suggest the GLC.