Compared: 2023 BMW X3 vs. 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

These two rivals compete in one of the biggest segments of the luxury-car market.

BMW | Mercedes-Benz

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The decades-long rivalry between Mercedes-Benz and BMW burns as hot as ever in the SUV segment. The Mercedes GLC-Class and BMW's X3 are direct competitors that play an important role in their respective manufacturer's portfolio. The GLC ended 2022 as Mercedes-Benz's bestselling model. Both SUVs are available in several variants ranging from family haulers to hot rods.

Think of the X3 as a more spacious alternative to the 3 Series sedan. BMW released the current, third-generation model X3 for 2018. Mercedes-Benz markets the GLC as a bigger alternative to the C-Class sedan and launched the current model for 2016. These two SUVs have benefited from updates inside and out since release, and they offer buyers a similar list of standard and optional equipment.


Starting prices are about equal for the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC-Class

The BMW X3 range consists of four trim levels: the sDrive30i, xDrive30i, and M40i, and the X3 M. The rear-wheel-drive, 248-hp sDrive30i starts at about $47,000. The xDrive30i's all-wheel-drive system increases that figure by about $2,000, while the 382-hp M40i inches closer to $62,000. The X3 M occupies the top rung in the hierarchy with a 473-hp twin-turbocharged straight-six and a nearly $75,000 price tag.


Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLC for the 2023 model year, so it pared down the 2022 range to three variants called GLC 300, GLC 300 4Matic, and GLC 43. The base 255-hp GLC 300 costs about $48,000 with rear-wheel drive, and the GLC 300 4Matic costs about $50,000 with permanent all-wheel drive. Pricing for the AMG-tuned, 385-hp GLC 43 starts at $61,000.


Mercedes GLC-Class and BMW X3 Pour on the Features

Stretching 185.9 inches long, the X3 offers 28.7 cubic feet of trunk space with both rows of seats up and 62.7 cubic feet with the second row folded flat. The GLC measures 183.3 inches long, and its trunk space checks in at 21.9 cu-ft with two rows of seats up and 59.3 cu-ft with the second row folded.

The base X3 comes standard with 19-inch wheels, wood interior trim, SensaTec upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated door mirrors, a power-operated hatch, a 10.3-inch display for the infotainment system, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.


The GLC's list of standard features includes 18-inch wheels, wood interior trim, MB-Tex upholstery, heated front seats (optional on the X3), an analog instrument cluster, power-folding door mirrors, a power-operated hatch, a 12.3-inch infotainment display, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.


Fuel Economy Comes Down to Horsepower

The sDrive30i, xDrive30i, and M40i variants of the X3 return 25, 24, and 23 mpg, as rated by the EPA, while the range-topping X3 M posts 17 mpg with or without the optional Competition Package that unlocks 30 additional horsepower.


The GLC delivers similar fuel economy: The GLC 300 and GLC 300 4Matic are rated at 24 mpg and the GLC 43 returns 21 mpg.

All vehicle pricing includes MSRP plus destination charges (set at the time of publication) and will be rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American journalist and automotive historian based in France. He enjoys working on old cars and spending time outdoors seeking out his next project car.