X3 Rival Comparison

New 2018 BMW X3 Side-By-Side Comparison

BMW X3 vs. Audi Q5 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV Comparison

Compact utility vehicles like the all-new 2018 BMW X3 are among the most popular in the industry, so it goes without saying that every mainstream and luxury automaker out there offers one. But where the X3 offers the blend of performance, handling, technology, and comfort that only an Ultimate Driving Machine can boast, alongside other offerings like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, making a decision that's true to you can be a bit more challenging.


However, helping our Salinas, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Watsonville, CA customers find the vehicle they want on their terms is an every-day occasion at our dealership, and we know that sometimes the best way to choose is to compare models side-by-side. Take some time to read over our run down of the BMW X3 vs. the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class, and your prospects will become clearer.


Luxury SUVs At a Glance

Like the X3, both the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class are compact luxury crossovers competing in the automotive industry's most competitive segments. So, as one might guess, all three have been required to bring their best to bear to remain relevant. In fact, these three models bring so much of their A-game to the table, it almost comes down to a matter of taste. Almost. In a few key areas, the X3 makes itself known as the smartest pick.

One example is cargo volume-an area any compact utility must excel. With 62.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, the 2018 X3 trounces the 60.1 cu-ft of the Q5, and the 56.6 cu-ft of the GLC-Class. But where that might fool you into thinking the X3 as the most utilitarian of the pack, think again. Even without M Performance touches, the BMW is the most fun-to-drive, the most powerful, and comes with the most choices.


Right out of the gate, the BMW X3 makes it clear that it's the athlete of the pack. Although the xDrive30i model is bested by the Q5 in horsepower and torque, and the GLC in the torque, the X3's 5.8 second 0-60 sprint is on par with the Audi, and beats the Mercedes-Benz by .1 seconds. Opting for the X3 xDriveM40i turns the acceleration game into no-contest, with a best-in-class 4.6 second sprint with 355 horsepower. As an added bonus, the BMW's 29 mpg highway rating in xDrive30i models best both competitors.

But acceleration is just one part of performance, and where the Q5's balanced driving dynamics and road-gripping AWD system offer prime command of the road in any weather, the 2018 X3's chassis balance makes it more fun, and eager to attack corners. Optional suspension dial up the feel in both X3 and Q5, but if you're the sort who wants a sport sedan experience in a utility vehicle, the BMW's equipment has the gear. Refined though it may be, the GLC-Class boasts none of that liveliness in the performance category.

New SUV Technology

Owing to how new these three models are, high-tech features are par for the course in all three. The X3 debuts with iDrive 6.0 for infotainment-the easiest-to-use iteration yet. However, Audi MMI on the Q5 gets similar reactions, while the GLC-Class is known for having a troublesome unit-although all three get top marks on overall functionality. Of course, the Q5 offers expanded infotainment and navigation function through the trumpeted Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster-a feature that might be overkill for some. The X3 has a digital instrumentation option, and it's far less busy and distracting.

Other technology features add a level of safety. The GLC-Class' surround view camera system is lauded, but similar offerings can be had on the X3 and Q5. Unfortunately, Audi's basic safety suite doesn't come with the expanded functions like blind spot warning and lane-keeping assist, and they're easier to come by in the BMW without paying more. The GLC-Class, however, requires that premium.

Head to Head SUV Comparison


Audi Q5

Mercedes-Benz GLC

  • BMW X3. 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 248 horsepower/258 lb-ft torque (xDrive30i), or 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 355 horsepower/369 lb-ft of torque (xDriveM40i). Standard AWD.
  • Audi Q5 . 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (2.0T Quattro). Standard AWD.
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class. 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque (GLC 300). Standard RWD, available AWD
  • Why Buy?Newest compact luxury utility on the market, standard xDrive AWD, best cargo volume of the three, driving dynamics similar to old-school BMW sport sedans, excellent ground clearance.
  • Why Buy?All-new, competitive efficiency with standard all-wheel drive, class-topping cargo, standard safety/luxury amenities.
  • Why Buy?Prestigious, lavish in ride quality and technology, dynamic handler, interior space.
  • Why Not? Difference in power between 30i and M40i might make choosing difficult, variable ratio steering imprecise at times.
  • Why Not?Difficult LATCH anchors impede securing car seats, cup holder location can be awkward.
  • Why Not?Infotainment system bugs, exterior design doesn't stand out like competitors, highest price.

Still having trouble deciding on a vehicle? If you're the more value-oriented type, maybe even the class-leading pricing of the X3 might not sway you-but perhaps one of our BMW incentives might! Take a look, and see what you find.

If you're ready to take the X3, or another model available at our BMW dealership in Seaside, CA, we can get you acquainted. Take some time to fill out our credit application, or contact us by phone, email, or live chat and we can schedule your appointment.


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