2020 Mercedes GLC vs. 2020 Audi Q3

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The GLC has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q3 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The GLC’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Q3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLC and the Q3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLC’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the GLC has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Q3’s 140-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLC third among compact premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Q3 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The GLC’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 27 more horsepower (255 vs. 228) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the Q3’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLC 300 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the Q3 (21 city/28 hwy vs. 19 city/27 hwy).

The GLC has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q3 (17.4 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLC, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Q3.

Tires and Wheels

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the GLC can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Q3 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The GLC offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Q3’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GLC has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLC’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Q3 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLC’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Q3 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLC’s wheelbase is 7.6 inches longer than on the Q3 (113.1 inches vs. 105.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLC is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Q3.

Chassis

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The design of the Mercedes GLC amounts to more than styling. The GLC has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .31 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Q3 (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GLC get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the GLC uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Q3 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The GLC has .8 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q3.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLC has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Q3 with its rear seat folded (56.5 vs. 48 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the GLC easier. The GLC’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.8 inches, while the Q3’s liftover is 29.9 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the GLC’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Q3 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

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The GLC’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Q3’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the GLC is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Q3. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The GLC has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Q3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the GLC, the memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat (memory seat optional for the front passenger), steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The Q3 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The GLC’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Q3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The GLC offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Q3 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The GLC’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Q3’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the GLC to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Q3 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the GLC offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Q3 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

When the GLC is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Q3’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the GLC and the Q3 have standard heated front seats. The GLC also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Q3.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the GLC keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Q3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the GLC’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Q3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The GLC has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Q3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLC’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Q3 Prestige’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The GLC is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Q3 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/11/19

Motor Trend selected the GLC as their 2017 Sport Utility of the Year. The Q3 has never been chosen.

The Mercedes GLC outsold the Audi Q3 by almost nine to one during the 2019 model year.

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