What’s going on YouTube! When it comes to luxury vehicles, America’s hottest segment is compact crossover, and within that segment, two of the hottest products are the Mercedes GLC and BMW X3. These German rivals have been battling each other for years, and now that the Mercedes has been redesigned, things are heating up even more! So, who wins this 2024 Mercedes GLC vs. BMW X3 battle? Let’s go ahead and find out!
Pricing and Equipment
So, before we really get started here, we will establish things with the pricing for these two.
Starting with the BMW, we have a very nicely equipped model with all the options people usually select, for a total price of $59,505.
BMW X3 xDrive30i: $48,900 | Options: +$9,610 | Destination: $995 | Total: $59,505
Moving to the Mercedes, the way it packages options means it ends up being a bit pricier for the equally specced GLC 300. All told, after destination charge, we are sitting just over $61,000.
GLC 300 4Matic AWD: $49,450 | Options: +$10,670 | Destination: $1,150 | Total: $61,270
If you want to get the best price from local dealerships and access to invoice pricing info for these two models or any vehicle, we have a tool on our website to do just that. Check here for more info.
Now as far as this comparison, it will be conducted objectively. We have done our best to weigh the points awarded throughout in major and minor categories, but at the end of the comparison we will sum up with our thoughts and revisit the price difference for a value assessment. With that being said, let’s get into this comparison!
Now looking at the exterior designs, we have the same look for the X3 and an all-new exterior design for the GLC, that honestly still looks very similar to the outgoing model.
I do want to point out right from the top here, that the X3 is still a very competitive model, so even though its older, this is still a comparison worth doing. Lots of people are making this decision NOW, and a new X3 hasn’t even been unveiled yet.
But refocusing here, both models have the sporty design packages, called M-Sport and AMG-Line respectively, with extra dark accents added as well.
Lighting-wise, the X3 has adaptive projector LED headlights as standard equipment, while our GLC has regular reflector LED headlights unless you upgrade to the Digital Light system.
Continuing to the side, you’ll find 19-inch multi-spoke contrast alloy wheels on both of them, which add some extra pizzazz to the designs.
Length: 186.2-inches (X3) | 185.7-inches (GLC)
And then around back, we have classy designs with more black accents, rear spoilers, completely LED taillights and dual-tipped exhaust outlets.
Now checking out some of the individual features, both of their mirrors have heating, power folding, auto-dimming and blind spot monitoring.
Warranties (both): Basic and Powertrain: 4yr/50,000 miles | 3yr/36k mi Comp. Main. (BMW)
Now, as far as the other safety systems, both models have all the standard systems plus some extra ones via their respective advanced safety packages.
Speaking of extra, the BMW includes an extra 3 years of complimentary maintenance vs. the Mercedes, in the price.
Towing (max): X3: 3,500 lbs | GLC: 3,500 lbs
But it’s the interiors that are more important, as well as the drives.
As we walk up to the two crossovers, and pull out the keys, you’ll find smart entry systems and nice metal key fobs. And after opening up the doors, we have very nice-looking interiors. While both are available in a wide-variety of colors, our testers are finished in all black, and both of their seats are upholstered in faux leather.
Most people would never realize that these aren’t real-leather because they feel and look very nice, but as far as actually adjustments, the GLC will have the advantage with 16-ways of movement.
Both also have memory functions, heating and ventilation.
Once inside the cabins, we can check out the overall material quality, besides for the seats. The GLC will pull ahead in this regard since it uses extra leather trim across the upper part of the dash with stitching, real metal vents and a very large amount of wood trim that waterfalls down the console. Both models finish the center consoles mostly in piano black.
Taking a look at the gauges, both have giant 12.3-inch reconfigurable ones with great resolution. The Mercedes also has an available HUD but only the X3 will include that feature on most models.
Coming back to the steering wheels, these two both have the high-end wheels from each brands’ performance models. Feel in the hand is excellent, especially when the heating function is on, and only the GLC has power tilt/telescoping.
Storage and Technology
Now let’s move on to interior storage. Starting with the center consoles, we have started doing a something called the donut test here at Car Confections, and in the X3 you have space for 7 donuts; 9 donuts in the GLC.
The other interior cubbies have roughly equal amounts of space, as well as wireless phone charging pads.
Both models have electronic shifters, just in different locations, and when in reverse, both also have 360-degree camera systems with the fan-favorite 3D surround views.
And now that brings us to the volume knobs… or slider in the case of the GLC, so let’s give them a sample. Besides for the different ways to turn the volume up and down, the overall audio quality is very excellent in both.
X3: 600-watt, 16-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system
GLC: 710-watt, 15-speaker, Burmester Surround Sound System
Speaking of different ways to control things, the next-gen GLC puts the climate controls inside of the screen. For now, the X3 has them adjusted by real metal buttons, which is a little easier to use while driving. Additionally, the BMW has an extra zone of adjustment, allowing for rear controls.
But outside of the climate controls, we have a lot of other functions living inside the large displays. Now even though the orientation makes your eyes believe the GLC’s screen is larger, its actually the X3’s that has a few-tenths-of-an-inch advantage.
Functionally, they have the same main features including navigation, wireless Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.
Finally, to wrap up front of the interiors, both have auto-dimming mirrors and panoramic sunroofs.
Rear Seats and Cargo
Now it’s time to head for the rear seats. These crossovers are often used for small family vehicles, and all occupants will be happy with plenty of leg and headroom in both models. Dimensionally speaking, they are nearly identical to each other.
X3: Legroom: 36.4-inches | Headroom: 39.1-inches
GLC: Legroom: 37.4-inches | Headroom: 39.6-inches
And as far as the features back here, both have rear air vents and I already mentioned that the X3 has its own dedicated rear climate zone. What’s odd though, is that this spec of the GLC doesn’t have any USB ports for charging.
Moving out back, both have hands-free power tailgates, and once they open up, there are similar amounts of space, although the X3 does claim the led here. On the maximum end, it has about 11% more cargo capacity.
X3: Seats up: 28.7 cu.ft | Seats folded: 62.7 cu.ft
GLC: Seats up: 21.9-cu.ft | Seats folded: 56.3-cu.ft
The seats can be folded 40/20/40 split in both, but easily folded on the GLC since it has handles in the cargo area.
But as you can see it’s still a very tight race, so now let’s take them out on a spin and see who’s going to come out on top!
So heading out on the road with these two crossovers, they try to match each other tit-for-tat, which is typical for German automakers not allowing the other to get a significant advantage. As such, both are using 2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder engines, except that the Mercedes adds a 48v mild hybrid system on top. This, in part, helps give the GLC a small horsepower advantage, and a sizeable torque advantage.
X3 30i: 2.0L Turbo I-4: 248 hp | 258 lb. ft | 6.0s 0-60
GLC 300: 2.0L Turbo I-4 w/ 48v Mild Hybrid: 255 hp | 295 lb.ft | 6.2s 0-60
Test Drive and Fuel Economy
As far as the rest of the powertrains, the X3 has an 8-speed automatic transmission compared to a 9-speed automatic in the GLC. More gears doesn’t necessarily mean better, and both of them operate smoothly as they route power to the AWD systems.
Now let’s talk about the ride and handling. Overall, both are more luxury-oriented than they are sporty which does mean that they both ride very comfortably. As you might expect, the Mercedes is going to be dampened a little bit better for a few percent better ride comfort, but the BMW is going to prioritize handling more than the Merc, with better steering and body control while cornering.
Now while you’re cruising down the highway, it’s also very important for your luxury SUV to be serene, so let’s check the sound level readings as we always do here at Car Confections. The X3’s rating of 53.3 dB is very impressive, but the GLC’s reading of 52.1 dB is even more impressive! That’s an S-Class-rivaling reading, and because its greater than a 1 dB difference, the average adult will be able to discern the difference.
X3: 53.3 dB @ 55 MPH
GLC: 52.1 dB @ 55 MPH
And lastly, for fuel economy, both are equipped with auto start/stop systems. Having a mild hybrid system allows the Mercedes’ setup to be extremely smooth and nearly imperceptible in operation, since it can turn off before the vehicle comes to a stop.
This is also what’s responsible for the fuel economy benefits in the city, highway and combined ratings.
X3 AWD: 21/28/24 MPG
GLC AWD: 23/31/26 mpg
The Older BMW is still a segment favorite!
So, there you have it! This was another super close comparison as we expected! If you thought the X3 was outdated then you’re probably surprised, but BMW has done an excellent job of keeping this model up to date. The winner for each of you guys is going to depend on your preferences so let’s quickly review for “your winner”.
- More focus on dynamics
- 3-zone climate controls
- More spacious cargo area
- More luxurious cabin
- More seat adjustments
- Mild hybrid powertrain (more power, fuel economy)
Now we want to know your opinions, so make sure to head to the comment section and let us know which one you would pick!
Now we want to know your opinions, so make sure to head to the comment section and let us know which one you would pick! Thanks for joining us for another Car Confections comparison! Be sure to watch the full video below for all the details!