BMW X3 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - January 27, 2020

Compact luxury crossovers are all the buzz these days, and automakers can’t introduce new models quick enough to keep up with demand.

Mercedes-Benz introduced the GLB-Class for the 2020 model year to compete in this segment. BMW also has an option with the X3. While not the newest, it still shines thanks to its performance, spacious cabin, and a good list of standard equipment.

Should you buy the all-new GLB or stick with the X3? That’s what we’ll answer below.

See a side-by-side comparison of the X3 & GLB-Class »

What the X3 Gets Right

The BMW X3 sticks to the brand's roots by bringing excellent performance to the table. It comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 248 horsepower. The GLB has a similar engine, though it produces 221 hp.

Thanks to its more powerful four-cylinder engine and standard rear-wheel drive, the X3 is the more enjoyable of the two to drive. Mercedes hasn’t introduced all of the GLB’s trim levels yet, but BMW offers the X3 in multiple trims, with the most powerful one offering 503 hp.

Despite having more standard power, the X3 is the more fuel-efficient offering of the two. The X3 is EPA rated to get 27 miles per gallon combined, while the base GLB is rated at 26 mpg combined.

Cargo capacity is also slightly in the X3’s favor. Thanks to its extra 3.5 inches of length, the X3 has up to 62.7 cubic feet of cargo space, while the GLB can hold up to 62 cubic feet of cargo. While the extra 0.7 cubic feet of cargo space won’t be noticed every day, it may come in handy when packing it to the gills for a road trip.

What the GLB-Class Gets Right

Right away, the Mercedes GLB earns a point when it comes to pricing. The GLB 250 starts at $37,595 including destination, while the X3 is $5,350 more with a starting price tag of $42,945.

With that kind of a price difference, you could tack on a bunch of available features and still save money. It’s not like you’re gaining more standard features, either. In fact, the GLB comes just as, if not slightly more, equipped as a base X3.

For being an affordable compact luxury crossover, the GLB comes well equipped and even has some available features that the X3 can’t match. Standard equipment includes dual-zone climate control, a power liftgate, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and the automaker’s latest infotainment system.

Crucially, the GLB has an available third-row seat, making it one of the few compact vehicles to offer seating for up to seven. While the third row isn’t spacious, it does bring more flexibility than the five-seat-only X3. If you need to be able to carry up to seven, the GLB is the only option of the two that can.

Want Performance?

With six different trims to choose from, three of which are high-performance models the BMW X3 is the obvious choice for consumers that want to get into a crossover that’s thrilling to drive. It may be compact, but it performs similarly to a large sports car. That’s a good enough reason to choose the X3 over the GLB for some.

Our Verdict: Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class

With its new compact crossover, Mercedes has managed to create something that should meet the needs of a lot of consumers. It’s well-sized, has seating for up to seven, is reasonably priced, and comes with loads of features.

On top of all of this, the GLB has a unique, boxy design that it shares with the high-end G-Class and makes it look rugged. For the majority of buyers, it’s the better buy.

Take a closer look at the BMW X3 »

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

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

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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