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2021 Mercedes-Benz SUV Lineup: How They Compare to BMW

If you’re in the market for a luxury SUV, you’ve come to the right place to learn about the best that money can buy. At Hendrick Motors of Charlotte, we see what new Mercedes-Benz SUVs have to offer every day. From their top-of-the-line performance to the sophisticated designs and incomparable premium features, this year’s models are in a class of their own. 


In fact, our team of experts is so confident in the entire 2021 Mercedes-Benz SUV lineup that we performed a side-by-side comparison of GLA, GLC, and GLE models with their similarly-sized and priced BMW counterparts. Two premium brands. Six luxury SUVs. One overall Winner.


So, let’s get started and see who takes home the best luxury vehicle price in each SUV category.

Subcompact Crossover Luxury SUV: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA vs. BMW X1

Size and Versatility

The new GLA was redesigned this year with comfort and size in mind. We added almost 5 inches of legroom and created the most luxurious cabin the GLA has ever seen. That means more space for you and your passengers in the front and rear seats of the Mercedes-Benz GLA compared to the BMW X1. The X1 saves some of that space for their cargo with over 55 cubic feet with the rear seats down. So, while both vehicles can carry the same amount of passengers and comparable cargo, Mercedes-Benz prioritizes passenger experience over potential dead space in this year’s compact SUV.


When it comes to performance, the GLA comes standard with an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic, 221 hp turbo engine that accelerates from 0-60 in under 7 seconds. That’s nearly identical to the BMW X1 performance specs, while the GLA has a better fuel economy rating of 25 / 34 (city/highway) mpg. But when we take our eyes off the page and get behind the wheel, there is really no competition between the two in terms of feel on the road. The GLA is just so smooth.

Luxury and Comfort

When you’re on the Charlotte roads in the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA, it’s easy to see why everyone talks about the pure class of a Mercedes-Benz. With the perfectly padded MB-Tex upholstered interior, dual-zone automatic climate control, and impossibly quiet cabin, you’ll want to take the long way wherever you’re headed. The BMW X1 thinks of luxury and comfort as a secondary interior thought. They focused more on the sporty style rather than the overall ride. 


Winner: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA

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Compact Luxury SUV: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC vs. 2021 BMW X3

Size and Versatility

The new GLC seats 5 and has nearly 41 inches of legroom in the front seats and over 37 inches in the back. That’s more than the X3 in both instances, while the BMW does have slightly more cargo capacity. You can start to see a trend in the differences between the Mercedes-Benz SUVs and the BMW SUVs. Mercedes-Benz focuses more on the overall comfort of the driver and passengers, while BMW puts a little more emphasis on cargo space behind the second-row. Both are versatile, but the GLC offers everyone a bit more space to get comfortable.


The new Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 comes standard with a 255 hp turbo engine that accelerates from 0-60 in 6.1 seconds. That’s pretty impressive for a vehicle of its size and equates to more horsepower than the X3 sDrive30i. Both compact SUVs get a respectable 29 mpg on the highway, making every driver feel like they’re doing their part for the environment. So, in this category, they both perform quite well.

Luxury and Comfort

The 2021 GLC doesn’t disappoint with standard features like heated front seats and remote start (via the ultra-convenient Mercedes me connect mobile app). With this Mercedes-Benz SUV, everything is in the details, like the power-folding side mirrors that protect themselves on the more narrow streets of Charlotte. The BMW X3 does come with several luxurious features, like a power tailgate, but can’t set itself apart from the luxury SUV pack. 


Winner: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLC

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Midsize Luxury SUV: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE vs. 2021 BMW X5

Size and Versatility

It’s starting to sound familiar, but the Mercedes-Benz GLE has more legroom than the X5. That’s in the front seats and the back (more than 3 extra inches for the second-row. In this case however, the GLE has more cargo space to go along with the larger passenger capacity than the BMW rival. Both of these models offer a 3rd-row of seating, but with the squished dimensions of the X5, I’m not sure you want to subject anyone to ride in the back.


The new GLE 350 comes with a 255 hp turbocharged engine that offers efficient power and receives a low emission rating for its class. This base level model accelerates from 0-60 in 7 seconds. The X5 is the only BMW that compares favorably to a similarly-sized Mercedes-Benz. It gets 335 hp and has an acceleration of 0-60 in 5.3 seconds. But, when we look at the more premium trim levels within these SUVs, they are much more comparable.

Luxury and Comfort

This is where we start to see the new Mercedes-Benz GLE take off and blow the competition out of the water. As the first luxury midsize SUV on the market, the GLE has innovated each and every year of its long history. There isn’t a square inch of interior that doesn’t feel luxurious and with the standard Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia console, it’s not even a fair comparison. The GLE has been and continues to be the premier luxury SUV that all other brands try to emulate. 


Winner: 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE (by a long shot)

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Safety: Mercedes-Benz SUV vs. BMW SUV

When shopping for a luxury SUV in the Charlotte area, safety is one of the most important aspects of any potential vehicle purchase. And since these safety features are pretty standard throughout the entire SUV line, we wanted to talk about all of them at once. So which brand is safer, Mercedes-Benz or BMW?

Both of these brands have a history of being at or near the top of the safest brands on the road. They are consistently at the top of every list and have extremely high crash test ratings. That being said, U.S. News recently reported that the Mercedes-Benz GLE is the safest luxury SUV on the road. While our team isn’t surprised, this is still a testament to the dedication Mercedes-Benz puts on safety with standard features like active brake assist, PRE-SAFE technology, and an advanced tire pressure monitoring system.


Winner: Mercedes-Benz SUV Lineup

And the Overall Winner Is…2021 Mercedes-Benz SUV Lineup

Not surprisingly, when we put our luxury SUV lineup against any other lineup, the clear winner is Mercedes-Benz. At Hendrick Motors of Charlotte, we are proud of our long-established reputation for creating some of the most stylish, high-performance luxury SUVs money can buy. Every new Mercedes-Benz SUV is crafted by world-class engineers who are dedicated to producing the best luxury SUVs on the road. So, when you sit behind the wheel of your new Mercedes-Benz, whether you’re in downtown Charlotte or Rock Hill or Concord, you can expect to get a lot of head turns. And that's by design.

So, check out our extensive online inventory of new Mercedes-Benz SUVs and contact us to set up a test drive today!
Categories: Dealership, New Inventory