Italian publication, Quattroroute has just tested the brand-new Mercedes-Benz GLC Class up against the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. This test sees the three SUVs, all powered by four-cylinder diesel engine, go head to head for the ultimate suburbia-cruising machine.
The thee diesel engines are pretty equally matched, with the Audi and BMW both bringing 2.0 liter turbocharged diesels to the fight, with both making 190 hp and 295 lb-ft. The Benz, on the other hand, comes with an every so slightly larger 2.1 liter engine, making 204 hp and 368 lb-ft of twist. The GLC also benefits from a nine-speed ZF-sourced automatic dubbed 9G-Tronic, while the X3 makes due with the familiar eight-speed auto and the Q5 uses Audi’s seven-speed dual clutch unit (eight-speed ZF in the US market).
All three SUVs were taken to the track, something none of this bunch will ever see in the real world, and flung them around a bit. They are Italian after all. During track driving, the Audi Q5 exhibited good steering, though was claimed to be a bit too light, and decent chassis dynamics. The engine was good, but could have used more power. Overall, the Q5 wasn’t bad on the track at all. The Mercedes-Benz GLC showed some signs of understeer, as the front tires would get overwhelmed quite easily which they blamed on the tires themselves, but its engine was the most powerful of the bunch and it showed. According to Quattroroute, the BMW X3 was the best of the three on track and was the most fun.
On the road, the GLC was very comfortable, with smooth and easy driving inputs. The punchy engine made it the fastest of the bunch on road as well. The seating position was high and the interior was comfortable. The steering on the Merc was light and accurate, making the GLC easy to place and maneuver. The BMW X3 was the sportiest of the three, having the heaviest steering and firmest and loudest suspension. The interior was nice and the driving position high, but it was the most sports car of the three and not as comfortable as the other two. The Audi Q5 seemed to be a nice mixture of both, with light steering in Comfort mode, as it was nimble and easy to drive while also being comfortable.
It seems as if the Italian publication favored the Mercedes-Benz GLC over the Audi Q5 by just a bit and that the BMW X3 falls to third place. It isn’t entirely surprising that the newest car of the bunch would be considered the best. With a new Audi Q5 in the works, it should get back into contention for the best small SUV on the market. But until then, its aging platform and engines will have a hard time keeping up with the newcomer from Mercedes-Benz.