Shoppers with a penchant for smart luxury crossovers likely already have their eyes cast toward the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X3. Both supply the responsive handling typically seen in sporty compact sedans, with plenty of horsepower on tap.
Their cabins - where you'll find everything from supple leather to crisp touchscreens - are swathed in luxury. Read on to discover how the GLA and X3 measure up in a head-to-head competition.
In this segment, luxury is all-important, and the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA leads the way with its clean-cut, high-tech center stack and rich comfort features. Choose between walnut, aluminum, ash, and carbon fiber cabin accents to create aesthetics that speak to your sense of style. Supple seating contours give you a plush-yet-supportive ride to work. The BWM X3 was also designed to deliver a luxurious on-road experience. The X3 comes with premium vinyl upholstery, which feels almost like the real deal. Its leather-wrapped steering wheel adds a splash of style, but full leather upholstery isn't available - unlike in the GLA.
Here, the GLA is the luxury crossover to beat, with a stunning array of tech features to keep you connected while minimizing distraction. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology projects smartphone apps onto the central touchscreen, effectively keeping you from looking down at your phone while driving. When you field text messages using voice commands alone, you increase your on-road safety for you and everyone in your vicinity while staying connected even on the longest commutes. The BMW X3 has some unique tech features, including a touchpad that lets you scrawl text and number inputs with your fingertip. This next-wave technology keeps you from having to mess with an on-screen keyboard. However, the X3 has yet to incorporate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, lagging behind in the smartphone integration department.
The X3 caught our eye with its extensive safety gear. The BMW Assist emergency communications system is the perfect safety net. Should you ever find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, simply punch a few buttons for speedy roadside assistance. The system also includes on-demand emergency assistance, which detects a collision and sends help your way. You can also use the system to interact with your X3 remotely. Features like remote door unlocking make locking your keys in the car a problem of the past. In the GLA, the ATTENTION ASSIST® system monitors your behavior in the driver seat for signs of drowsiness, advising you to pull into a rest stop if necessary. Outside of that, the GLA includes many of the high-end safety features you see in the X3, like a rearview camera you can use to avoid hitting any obstacles in your path.
You can choose from a variety of GLA powertrains, the most substantial of which are the turbocharged AMG® options. If you're setting yourself up for a drag race with the BWM X3, the AMG® GLA 45 - which goes from zero to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds - can't lose. Of course, the BMW X3 puts plenty of power at your disposal. Like the GLA, it feels smooth and composed at a clip - in other words, it doesn't sacrifice comfort for speed. That said, it simply couldn't compete with GLA AMG®-tuned performance in terms of power and handling.
After only three years in production, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA has quickly climbed to the top of the luxury crossover heap. With optional AMG®-tuned performance gear, it leaves competitors in the proverbial dust. Inside, the GLA turns up the heat with supple, soft-touch materials and sprawling, supportive seating. Travel in style - and safety - with tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to keep you from looking away from the road ahead.