Crossover & Midsize

Very Few Should Pick the 2021 BMW X3 Over the Mercedes-Benz GLC

When it comes to luxury vehicles, two of the most competitive SUVs on the market are the Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3. The GLC often gets high ratings, but there are a few areas in which it falls short, like cargo space and price. 

The X3 is known for excelling in many things, like its driving performance, but it also has its weaknesses. MotorTrend compared both SUVs to determine which one is really the better buy. 

Why is the Mercedes-Benz GLC the better buy?

The first obvious choice that puts the Mercedes-Benz GLC on top is its value. The GLC has low depreciation and comes with a robust number of standard features.

Another area that the GLC excels in is the acceleration times. The X3 did pretty well with its 6.3 time on the 0 to 60 mph run. However, the GLC300 banged it out with only 5.4 seconds. If you look at the X3 M40i, it could do the same run in 4.8 seconds. The GLC43, which is comparable to the M40i, was still faster at 4.7 seconds. 

The braking distances also favor the Mercedes-Benz GLC. BMW’s X3 xDrive30i managed to stop, on a 60 to 0 mph run, at 123 feet. That’s 13 feet more than the GLC300. The sportier versions of both vehicles offer better braking performance. The X3 M did it in 110 feet, while the GLC63 S Coupe stopped at 105 feet. 

Why would you ever pick the BMW X3?

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In most aspects, the Mercedes-Benz GLC seems like the better buy all around. But it isn’t perfect. If you’re one of those drivers that feel fuel economy and cargo space are important features, the X3 would do you well. 

When it comes to EPA estimates for range, the X3 beats out the GLC in almost all of its drivetrain configurations. For the rear-wheel-drive model, you can expect to get 25 mpg on city roads and 29 mpg when traveling on the highway. If you choose AWD, city mileage goes down to 23, but the highway rating stays the same. 

The GLC300 offers 22 mpg on city roads, and the highway mileage is the same as the X3 at 29 mpg. For its AWD model, you can expect 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on highway roads. 

When it comes to cargo space, the X3 offers 28.7 cubic feet, while the GLC only has 19.4 behind the second-row seats. If you fold down the rear seats, you can get up to 62.7 cubic feet with the X3. The GLC offers only 56.5 cu. ft.  

What would it take for the BMW X3 to be the better buy over the GLC?

The BMW X3’s cargo space adds to its luscious interior, which contains many high-quality materials. Its seats and its infotainment system impresses many reviewers, like U.S. News. 

Another area that could make the X3 a better buy is its aesthetics. Even though MotorTrend thought the GLC was better looking in their opinion, it’s not always the case with others. Some people happen to prefer the BMW styling. The X3 could potentially draw many others in with its luxurious looks alone. 

Plus, the BMW X3 handles pretty well on the road. Its driving dynamics make it more fun to drive than the GLC. It handles turns pretty good, and its acceleration and braking times are still close to what the GLC offers. 

Both of these SUVs are excellent buys. But if you prefer cargo space and fuel economy, the X3 will offer you more for your money, despite the GLC having better value.