Compared: 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class vs. 2023 Porsche Macan

These two German compact luxury SUVs offer the distinct choice of practicality or performance.

Side view of a black 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC and an orange 2023 Porsche MacanMercedes-Benz | Porsche

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The 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class and 2023 Porsche Macan are compact luxury SUVs with five seats. That's where the similarities end. The GLC takes a practical approach by emphasizing passenger room and cargo space. Meanwhile, the Macan is geared toward SUV fans who crave speed and razor-sharp handling.

Front three-quarter view of a black 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLCMercedes-Benz

Porsche Macan Comes at a Premium Compared With Mercedes GLC

For 2023, the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class boasts a fresh redesign. It's longer and lower than the last generation, the cabin has been redesigned around the automaker's latest infotainment interface, and the only engine for now is a 255-hp turbocharged four-cylinder mild hybrid. Prices for the three GLC 300 Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle trims range between $48,000 and $55,000. Rear-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission are standard, and all-wheel drive is a $2,000 option on all trims.

Side view of an orange 2023 Porsche MacanPorsche

Porsche's Macan lineup remains essentially unchanged for 2023, with prices remaining substantially higher than its Mercedes rival. The $63,000 base Macan is motivated by a 261-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission. The new-this-year $68,000 Macan T trim adds an adaptive suspension and the Sport Chrono package. Unlike the GLC, all-wheel drive is standard on every Macan.

Mercedes has yet to release details of the expected AMG performance version of the new-generation GLC-Class. But Porsche still offers a twin-turbo V6 in the sporty Macan S, starting at $74,000, and the top-of-the-range $88,000 Macan GTS.

Steering wheel and dash of a 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLCMercedes-Benz

Stow More Cargo in the GLC, Go Faster in the Macan

The new GLC-Class's roughly 2.4-inch length increase benefits cargo space behind its split-folding rear seats. There is now 22 cu-ft of capacity, 2.5 cu-ft more than before. If cargo capacity is a significant consideration, the GLC is the clear winner. The Macan's 17.2-cu-ft trunk is on the small side among compact luxury SUVs.

Inside, the GLC has the latest MBUX infotainment interface including a 12.3-inch digital gauge display paired with an 11.9-inch touchscreen. Wireless AppleCarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard, as are voice and gesture commands. Optional is augmented-reality navigation, which broadcasts turn-by-turn instructions onto the windshield via the available head-up display. The Macan's 10.9-inch touchscreen is unavailable with Android Auto or augmented-reality navigation, and the Porsche lacks a full digital instrument cluster.

Dash and steering wheel of a 2023 Porsche MacanPorsche

Where the Macan fights back is with its range of sporty options, highlighted by the twin-turbocharged V6 engine that delivers 375 horsepower in the Macan S and 434 horses in the Macan GTS. The base four-cylinder Macan can also be optioned with go-fast hardware, such as the Sport Chrono package, which includes performance-themed drive modes to sharpen engine response and firm up the suspension. It also adds launch control to provide even quicker acceleration.

Rear cargo area of a black 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLCMercedes-Benz

With Speed Comes Lower Mileage in the Porsche Macan

Currently, there are no official fuel economy figures for the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 with its new hybrid system. The last 2022 four-cylinder model returned an EPA estimate of 24 mpg in both rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations.

Rear three-quarter view of an orange 2023 Porsche MacanPorsche

Even at its most frugal, the Macan is one of the thirstiest compact luxury SUVs. The four-cylinder versions deliver only 21 mpg, according to the EPA, and the V6 models sip at a rate of 19 mpg.

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Nick Kurczewski
Nick Kurczewski is a freelance automotive journalist based in the New York metro area. With approximately 20 years of experience, he has covered all aspects of the car world, from the pit lane at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to car shows around the world, and a Zamboni lesson in Lower Manhattan. He’s also adept at providing helpful car advice and steering people towards the ideal car, truck, or SUV for their driving needs.