Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 BMW X3 or the Mercedes-Benz GLC? It’s a Close Call

The market is brimming with luxury cars, but two of the best brands are BMW and Mercedes-Benz. In the compact-SUV segment, BMW boasts the X3, while Mercedes-Benz offers the GLC. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the two 2021 versions to help you decide which is better for you.

The 2021 BMW X3 

Because the X3 is a BMW, its performance and handling are two of the most important things to consider. And no matter which engine you choose, it’ll provide more than enough oomph, U.S. News reports.

The BMW X3 comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that gets about 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This robust motor is relatively fuel-efficient, with about 25 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The most powerful option on the X3 harnesses more than 500 hp, but at the cost of fuel efficiency. 

And, of course, no matter the engine, the BMW X3 offers “excellent driving dynamics,” U.S. News writes. This allows the X3 to handle turns well and remain sporty when accelerating. But it’s still a luxury SUV offering a high-quality interior. The seats, infotainment system, and cargo capacity all impress U.S. News. 

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC

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The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC offers the BMW X3 formidable competition. According to NewCars.com wrote, in many aspects, the GLC is about the same as the X3. For example, both SUVs start at the same price point. However, due to packages and trims, the price varies more at the higher trim levels. Regardless, the GLC starts around $43,000, as does the X3.

As for performance, the GLC is also practically identical to the BMW X3. The GLC also has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as standard, and it gets 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, U.S. News reports. Also, GLC’s standard 2.0-liter is pretty much the same as the X3’s in terms of fuel economy. And regarding engine options, the Benz also offers a powerful 500-hp motor in the top tier. 

Similarly, the GLC also handles well. It’s also well equipped, with comfortable seats and a decadent infotainment system. NewCars.com wrote that the GLC’s cargo capacity is inferior to the BMW X3’s. But other than that, both SUVs are neck-and-neck in overall capabilities and features.

So, should you buy the Beemer or the Benz?

Ultimately, given the many similarities between the 2021 BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC, it all boils down to personal preference and taste. The two SUVs’ main differences are in their logos and look. Though both offer comfortable interiors, they were designed differently and, thus, appeal to different people.

Their exteriors also differ even though they’re compact crossovers. And if their design didn’t differentiate them enough, their logos would. Diehard BMW or Mercedes-Benz fans wouldn’t change their mind over major differences between the two SUVs, so smaller differences wouldn’t affect their decision either. 

That’s the same story for fans of both brands. Because both SUVs are so similar, if you’re a BMW fan, the X3 is the compact SUV for you. And if you’re a Mercedes fan, the GLC is the compact SUV for you.