The luxury end of the market was a little late to the game when it came to embracing compact crossovers, but there's no shortage of popular options now.
Two of the very best are the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC and the Audi Q5, so let's see how they stack up against each other in a head-to-head comparison.
Don't be fooled by anyone claiming that how luxury compact crossovers look isn't the most important factor for the majority of buyers, because it certainly is. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC comes in two formats; the conventional crossover and the coupe. The coupe is inevitably the more attractive of the two, but the crossover is still a stunner. It's a lot like the GLE only smaller, and that's a very good thing indeed. This is the last year of the current Q5 before an all-new model arrives, so it's no surprise the Audi is starting to look a little dated. It's a little more wagon-like than the Mercedes, but it's still a pleasant enough vehicle on the eye. It's a very conservative design that won't offend anyone, but the GLC is a much more striking vehicle.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC crossover offers two engine options: a 2.0-liter inline-four and a 3.0-liter V-6 bi-turbo, and both come mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles. The GLC 300 and 300 4MATIC® get you to 60 mph in 6.3 and 6.4 seconds respectively, while the AMG® GLC 43 with the 3.0-liter V-6 achieves it in a seriously impressive 4.8 seconds. The base inline-four in the Audi Q5 takes closer to 7.0 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standing start, while the 354 horsepower V-6 takes 5.1 seconds. The Audi isn't slow by any stretch of the imagination, but it's also no match for the Mercedes.
Even though looks are all-important with models like these, crossovers still have a job to do, so the interior really has to offer more than a similar sized sedan or hatch. The Mercedes-Benz GLC offers a reasonable amount of cargo and passenger space. Front and rear leg and head room is close to that offered by the Audi, but just falls a little short if we're honest. The Audi Q5 has that slight edge for passengers, but it is a bigger winner when it comes to cargo space. The Audi offers 29.1 cu.-ft. of cargo space up to seat two, while the Mercedes only has 19.4 cu.-ft. A sizeable victory (literally) here for the Audi then.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC offers some impressive EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings with a best of 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined from the base GLC 300. Ratings of 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined are not bad from the base Audi Q5, but the advantage is once more with the Mercedes.
The Audi Q5 does a good job for a model that's been around for nearly ten years, but that age is starting to take its toll. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC is a more modern, more exciting, and more desirable vehicle in just about every category, and the clear winner here.