BMW X1 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - October 13, 2020

The BMW X1 was once the benchmark for all other compact luxury crossovers. Today, the X1 is starting to show its age, as its last meaningful revamp came back in 2016. That said, it long held a small edge over its Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class rival.

For a while, Mercedes paid little attention to the subcompact crossover market with its GLA, which shared most of its greasy bits with the Infiniti QX30. With the QX30 gone and the subcompact crossover segment still booming, Mercedes had no choice but to put more effort into the new-generation GLA-Class. The attempt paid off with a sleek crossover that boasts legit performance credentials.

Let's take a closer look at how the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class compares to the aging BMW X1.

See a side-by-side comparison of the BMW X1 & Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class »

What the X1 Gets Right

The BMW X1 once set the bar for luxury subcompact crossover design, but it’s now become an aging beauty. While it may not have its younger competitors' looks, its classy design is still something some buyers seek.

Under its hood, the X1 boasts a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps out 228 horsepower, besting the Mercedes GLA-Class by 7 hp and matching its base 0-60 mph time. The X1’s stiffer suspension gives you a more secure feel in the corners, especially if you swap out the standard tires with the optional ones.

The X1’s cargo area is relatively generous for a subcompact crossover, as it boasts 27.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 58.7 with them folded. The GLA offers just 15.4 cubic feet with the rear seats upright and a total of 50.5 when folded

The X1 also stands out with its 8.8-inch infotainment screen, which is 1.8 inches larger than the GLA.

What the GLA-Class Gets Right

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, which is now free from its one-time Infiniti platform-mate, boasts the latest design in the subcompact luxury crossover space with its more upright design and SUV-like proportions.

Inside, the GLA also features a futuristic cabin with two standard 7-inch touchscreens side by side: one for infotainment and one for the instrument cluster. Buyers can enhance this look by increasing the screens to 10.25 inches each.

While the base GLA-Class and BMW X1 have the same straight-line performance, the GLA has a secret weapon in its AMG GLA 35 variant, which boasts a 302-hp engine that launches it to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. There’s also a planned 382-hp AMG GLA 45. The AMG models also boast an upgraded chassis for enhanced handling.

Though it loses big in cargo capacity, the GLA-Class has a more adult-friendly back seat with 38 inches of rear leg room, which is an inch more than the X1.

Need Cargo Space? Go With the BMW X1

The aging BMW X1 can’t quite keep pace with the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, but it has one huge advantage: cargo space. If you continually toss items in the hatch, the X1 is the subcompact crossover for you.

Our Verdict: Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Between its more stylish design, roomier seating, modern interior, and wild AMG models, the Mercedes GLA-Class is hard to beat. These are only a few reasons for choosing it over the X1.

Take a closer look at the BMW X1 »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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