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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

New to the forum from New Brunswick, Canada.

I am currently cross shopping the X3 M40i and the Benz GLC43 (SUV, not coupe). I thought I would put down my own observations on here to see if anyone disagrees or can shine any light on anything I’m missing.

Background: I currently have a 2017 Benz C43 AMG, which is essentially the car version of the GLC. Same interior, same drivetrain, same tranny, etc. Looking for something still fun to drive but more practical, with a better ride, etc. The AMG Magnetic coil suspension in the C43 is very rough, even in Comfort Mode. Pretty brutal in Sport +. My lease is due in May 2019, which would be good timing to order a facelifted 2020 GLC43 if I wanted to.
I have test driven both SUV’s but have owned the C class so am very familiar with the powertrain, benz features, etc.

I am also more comparing to what the 2020 GLC43 redesign will be vs the current GLC. Most changes that came on the refreshed 2019 MB C43 will show up on the refreshed 2020 GLC43 – bigger turbos (more power, rated at 390ish hp), different front fascia, different front grill (now has the pre-facelift C63 grill), upgraded infotainment, new digital gauges, new rear diffuser and quad oval tail pipes, etc.

My observations:

EXTERIOR LOOKS – Based on 2019 (pre-facelift) GLC, the X3 M40i is the fresher and better looking of the two, for the most part. The 2020 changes to the GLC should make the diffuser and exhausts much nicer on the GLC. Haven’t seen it yet so hard to say. X3 wins for now.

INTERIOR – Interior craftsmanship and material quality, definitely AMG. While the new gen X3’s interior has come a long way from the previous gen, material quality is not on par with Mercedes, IMO. MB has nicer shaped seats, the fit and finish is nicer, tighter. The buttons on the AMG are much more premium, they feel solid and substantial. X3 buttons look and feel like regular matte black plastic, nothing overly premium about them. MB buttons are solid and don’t wiggle when you play with them, same applies to the vent louvers and adjustment knobs, the Benz just feels highly premium. Above is based on having the $250 Dark Ash Open Pore wood trim option in the Benz – the standard piano black plastic does feel cheaper. But premium trim vs premium trim, Benz wins by a good margin. The X3 should have power tilt and telescoping steering wheel (AMG does) at this price point.
The AMG flat bottom steering wheel is MUCH nicer than the X3 M Steering wheel. AMG wins that one. Only downside is that AMG flat bottom does not come heated, where the M steering wheel does. Important here for us Canadians! Still, AMG ftw!

In terms of interior design, I prefer the X3’s console shifter and like the integration of the screen versus the stuck-on iPad look in the Benz. The digital dash in the X3 is very nice, although the digital AMG dash that is in the 2019 C43, if it makes it to the GLC, is much nicer and more customizable. Call it a draw.

ACCELERATION – Both are very fast. AMG is a bit faster in its current state and the 2020 with its extra 25hp boost should be that much faster due to the bigger turbos. AMG wins.
EXHAUST AND ENGINE SOUND – Pleasantly surprised by the X3’s sound, did not expect that at all. The X3 exhaust snaps and crackles a bit more frequently than the AMG. The AMG exhausts (both the standard AMG Sport exhaust and the optional AMG Performance exhaust with flap button) are louder than the X3 (sport exhaust barely louder, performance exhaust much louder) and the tone on the AMG is nicer. The only time the X3 felt louder was on cold starts – not sure if it revs higher than the AMG at cold start, but it did seem louder. My impression of the BMW sound is that it sounds really nice, but almost feels like they are trying too hard to get with the trend of obnoxious exhausts, but I still loved it. AMG seems more natural.

PRACTICALITY – X3 wins – feels bigger overall with a more usable trunk area than the AMG. Felt like more rear seat room, overall interior felt bigger.

CABIN SOUND – X3 noticeably quieter.

ENGINE – The B58 i6 is an amazing engine – linear power delivery is VERY nice. X3 has the more linear power delivery, the AMG V6 is more a of a brute. Both are good but would still say the X3 wins, that engine is dope!

TRANNY – The ZF 8 speed is very nice, shifts fast and smooth, always seem to know what to do and which gear to be in. The 9G-Tronic in-house tranny in the AMG is much nicer than the previous 7 speed, but still think the ZF is nicer. The 9G can stutter sometimes and not know if it should downshift or not. The Benz, when put into Sport +, shifts much more aggressively. Those rough shifts in Sport + gave the AMG some added character and sportiness. Still, the ZF in the X3 wins overall.

RIDE COMFORT – While definitely not the case in my C43, the GLC43 with its AMG Air Ride suspension has much better overall suspension than the X3. Can’t beat air ride and in comfort mode the GLC is more forgiving. In Sport +, both suspensions are excellent for handling.

HANDLING – The AMG definitely has better handling and road holding. Apparently on the skid pad the AMG is way ahead of the X3 in terms of road holding.

SOUND SYSTEM – Premium sound vs premium sound, the AMG Burmeister systems runs circles around the X3 Harman Kardon system. To me it’s not even close. I was very disappointed in the HK system. The bass in the HK system started distorting at much lower volumes than it should have and the clarity and soundstaging was not up to standard for a vehicle in this price range, IMO. Burmeister system is VERY good. I have it in my C43 and know it very well. No contest, AMG wins.

INFOTAINMENT – New touchscreen iDrive system is much more advanced than the current GLC’s COMAND system. The 2020 GLC is getting an updated version but don’t think it’ll be game changing. X3 wins here, big time. Interior tech is nicer, infotainment simpler to control with option of touch screen versus wheel, etc. Gestures is a gimmick but I thought it was cool. Menus in the BMW are more intuitive, stuff is easier to find and navigate. ConnectedDrive is a nice feature. X3 ftw.

OVERALL DRIVING DYNAMICS – Both excellent vehicles. The X3 was good all-around driver, but felt a bit more artificial. The AMG has a sportier character – the exhaust sound, the hard shifting in Sport + kind of give it a more raw, gnarly experience. AMG overall is more aggressive, the steering wheels, sportier seats, digital display, etc. – all sportier. The X3 was more subdued but still surprisingly sporty and fun to drive.

OVERALL IMPRESSION - My impression was the X3 is good in all departments, kind of an all rounder. Not particularly bad at anything (except sound system) and not particularly amazing at anything either. The AMG a bit more all over the map, amazing in certain things and lacking in others.

I think this is a real toss up, however I am currently leaning towards the X3. May have something to do with the fact that the X3 is a fresh full redesign vs the facelifted GLC coming next year. GLC getting longer in the tooth with some older tech, however it still outperforms in terms of acceleration, handling and comfort. Not bad for a 4 year old platform.

Financial, I do think the X3 will lease cheaper than the GLC. MB does discount a bit more, but starting MSRP is higher. X3 should have higher residual since it’s a 2nd year model (2019) and I do get fleet discount with BMW that I don’t get with MB. I would get my loyalty lease rate discount with MB, though. Even with that I think the X3 will come in cheaper and with prepaid maintenance included.

Did I miss anything – would love to get some feedback from others that have cross-shopped the two or are currently considering them!

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Also, for those not as familiar with MB and the refreshed C-class, here is what the new exhaust and diffuser on the 2020 GLC should look like, although not necessarily fully blacked out. This particular AMG has the night package.


The 2020 GLC43 should also get this grill instead of the current diamond mesh grill. This grill was the C63 AMG grill from 2016-2018. The 2019 C63 has the new Panemericana grill so this was handed down to the little brother C43. I suspect the same for GLC, although the GLC63 already had the Panamericana grill at launch since it was launched later.



New infotainment screen (wider aspect ratio) and a glimpse of the digital gauges, also the new AMG steering wheel first introduced the AMG GT :

 

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thanks for the write up and information :thumbup:
 

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Good write up. I agree on most points. The interior of a Benz is a step above the BMW in quality, fit and finish. Performance wise, I also generally prefer the AMG. But, man oh man, that new X3 m40i is sexy.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
 

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The Benz was on my short list, but I couldn't get past the shifter on the steering column - just kills it for me....
 

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The Benz was on my short list, but I couldn't get past the shifter on the steering column - just kills it for me....
I hear that. I can't get used to the backwards shifter that BMW uses.
But the again, I'm old, I can't get used to the paddle shifters in my AMG either. Lol

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm surprised MB uses that same cheap looking shifter in their so called flagship S Class?
Kind of agree - while I don't think the stalk itself looks cheaper than any other premium stalk, I agree that a shifter should not be a stalk :). It is quite simple to use and you do get used to it (I have it in my c-class). It is simpler to use than the BMW backwards shifter and is also not in the way for the console area.
 

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Does the AMG have nicer interior materials? I only compared the regular GLC to the X3. I thought the materials looked better, but felt worse. Chrysler kept popping up in my head far too often when I was feeling the GLC. Neither were remotely in the same ballpark as Audi. Seats were FAR more comfortable though. Especially the back seats (big weak point in the X3). Overall though, the quality differences between the two were very minor IMO. Nothing like the difference btw the BMW/Merc vs the Audi in materials quality. That's just a HUGE gap in perceived quality (but the Audi was quickly nixed cuz that was about the only advantage it had, other than the cool Virtual Cockpit).

Otherwise, I mostly agree with everything else. Other than looks. I don't care what they do to update it, the GLC is too unattractive to me. The C-class is utterly beautiful. The GLC exterior design just does not work at all IMO. To me though, the most critical thing would be how practical it is. You really need to be looking at the practicality, otherwise, I'd just stick with the C-class you currently have. The cargo space difference is drastically different btw the GLC and X3 if I recall correctly.
 

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My M...not Hers
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Good write up. I agree on most points. The interior of a Benz is a step above the BMW in quality, fit and finish. Performance wise, I also generally prefer the AMG. But, man oh man, that new X3 m40i is sexy.

Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
M40i is the poster child for sexy. I compared the Benz and SQ5. All different. Mercedes and the local dealers are not for me. I felt like I was in a scrap iron facility with eyes on my wallet. As for the BMW's...they are built. Solid as a rock.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Does the AMG have nicer interior materials? I only compared the regular GLC to the X3. I thought the materials looked better, but felt worse. Chrysler kept popping up in my head far too often when I was feeling the GLC. Neither were remotely in the same ballpark as Audi. Seats were FAR more comfortable though. Especially the back seats (big weak point in the X3). Overall though, the quality differences between the two were very minor IMO. Nothing like the difference btw the BMW/Merc vs the Audi in materials quality. That's just a HUGE gap in perceived quality (but the Audi was quickly nixed cuz that was about the only advantage it had, other than the cool Virtual Cockpit).

Otherwise, I mostly agree with everything else. Other than looks. I don't care what they do to update it, the GLC is too unattractive to me. The C-class is utterly beautiful. The GLC exterior design just does not work at all IMO. To me though, the most critical thing would be how practical it is. You really need to be looking at the practicality, otherwise, I'd just stick with the C-class you currently have. The cargo space difference is drastically different btw the GLC and X3 if I recall correctly.
I do not believe the AMG version has nicer interior materials, other than some additional available colors, sport seats, etc.

I do have to respectfully disagree with your observations on the MB feeling cheap, however there is clearly some subjectivity to material feel. The Open Pore wood option in the benz is a no brainer for me, at $250 (canadian), you'd be stupid to not take that option versus the default piano black (plastic). The plastic does feel cheap but the wood is absolutely brilliant. Since it is open pore, you feel the grain and can actually smell the wood in a newer car - nothing BMW or Audi offers has that level of class and feel. How MB manages to curve single pieces of wood to fit as tightly as they do, I still wonder. The wood in the doors is also amazingly well curved and looks/feels amazing. I do find the real leather options (AMG Leather vs BMW Vernasca leather) that the AMG leather still has a nicer feel. On the higher end, the AMG Designo Nappa leather is WAAYY better than the BMW individual Merino leather, but is also much more expensive. The door leatherette feels nicer and has better padding in the AMG, the stitching and overall design I find nicer in the AMG. The GLC43 has the AMG steering wheel which feels very nice and the AMG Driver`s package has the upgraded AMG steering wheel with the Dinamica, which is top notch. The buttons in the benz are way nicer and feel robust, solid, heavy and premium.

You are not the first to mention material quality in the Audi being better - I have spent some time in a 2017 Q7 and a 2018 Q5 (not SQ5) and found the materials to be great but not necessarily better than what I'm used to with MB. I don't see this perceived difference.

I agree with you on the looks - there is just something about the GLC that feels off to me - I love the front end/grill, etc. but the rest of the body lines are just ok. From certain angles it looks good but from a lot of angles it's a bit offputting. I find that the lines of the vehicle make it look small and feminine - not something you want in a performance vehicle and especially not in an SUV. The GLC43 did have more aggressive body touches, the rear lip overhang spoiler, quad exhausts, etc. which did add some manliness... Perhaps not enough.

Before the 3rd Gen X3, I always felt the previous Gen X3's looked way too feminine (no offence for 2nd gen owners, just my opinion on why I was never interested). The current Gen is bigger (and looks bigger) but it has less of a down-sloping hood, bigger wheel arches, etc. It simply looks like a slightly shorter X5 - which is a good thing as I always found the X5 to have a masculine, brawny stance.

As for dealers in my area, I've gotten decent service from my MB dealer but have to say I much prefer the local BMW dealer. The service I've gotten from them already bests service I've gone from MB and I've never bought a BMW before.
 

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Yes, the seating surfaces of MB is VASTLY better than the equivalent BMW. BMW has a great open pore wood too.

Feminine is a great description. I couldn't think of the right word. Even the AMG versions look feminine. It's just all those soft curves in the corners I think. The C-class is strong, sporty, etc. The GLC is... not.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That has also been said about Alpine BMW's. I'm on my 3rd Alpine. Maybe I should look into a bra:bustingup:bustingup
Haha you're right - I'm actually a sucker for white. My C-class is polar white and my wife's 2019 XC90 is Pearl White. White does make feminine body lines even more feminine so one has to be careful.
 

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That has also been said about Alpine BMW's. I'm on my 3rd Alpine. Maybe I should look into a bra:bustingup:bustingup
LOL First I heard that about white. I only buy white cars too (but for heat rejection). Maybe I need to go looking for bras too.
 

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My M...not Hers
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LOL First I heard that about white. I only buy white cars too (but for heat rejection). Maybe I need to go looking for bras too.
As the thread says....Cross-Shopping :rofl:......

White imperfect for heat reduction. I also like that it does not show light scratches and every little mark.
 

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I'm surprised MB uses that same cheap looking shifter in their so called flagship S Class?
Besides the stalk shifter, the other thing strange about Mercedes’ interiors is the fact that half the seat controls are on the door, and half are on the seat. For how infrequent seat controls are used on luxury cars with memory seats, why aren’t all controls in a less conspicuous spot on the seat instead of cluttering up the door panel.
 

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Besides the stalk shifter, the other thing strange about Mercedes’ interiors is the fact that half the seat controls are on the door, and half are on the seat. For how infrequent seat controls are used on luxury cars with memory seats, why aren’t all controls in a less conspicuous spot on the seat instead of cluttering up the door panel.
MB has had some of the seat controls on the doors for a long time. Guess it's a tradition for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Besides the stalk shifter, the other thing strange about Mercedes’ interiors is the fact that half the seat controls are on the door, and half are on the seat. For how infrequent seat controls are used on luxury cars with memory seats, why aren’t all controls in a less conspicuous spot on the seat instead of cluttering up the door panel.
That is actually a feature that I really like. They have integrated the feature into the door and have made it look really good. The led illumination around the adjustment seat is really well done. I think it adds to the aesthetic plus you can visually see what you're adjusting. The only adjustment on the seat itself is lumbar support, which would be weird to integrate into the door as it would not be possible to have an intuitive button for that on the door. I love it!
 

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Nice review. I had a very nice long test drive in a GLC 43 and found it to be nice interior/exterior as well as driving dynamics. That being said overall my preference is for the M40i. Especially from a technology perspective It simply blows the current GLC out of the water. My personal decision was based on the driving dynamics. The GLC was fast and perhaps just a tad bit stiffer (by very little) but overalll I feel the M40i handles better. As far as acceleration is concerned, I personally feel the M40i is faster. Apparently all instrumented tests (GLC 43 specs vs. M40i) also show the M40i as being faster. Late 2019 should see the updated B58 being released which should keep it in front of the GLC 43. I must say though, that GLC 63 Coupe has my undivided attention. :thumbup::thumbup:
 
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