As far as small performance SUVs go, these three are the top dogs. The BMW X3 M40i, Mercedes-AMG GLC43 and Audi SQ5 are the go-to cars if you want something with SUV space but sports car pace. Let’s be real, all three of these cars are excellent. All three feature turbocharged six-cylinder engines, impressive practicality and enough performance to make most genuine sports cars nervous.
Continue Reading Below
Since all three are so good and we haven’t driven all of them, we’re just going to compare their looks and design. We’ve compared the X3 M40i to each of these cars separately, but it’s interesting to see all three together.
Up front, all three cars are so distinctly unique and all fully represent each brand’s design language. It’s hard to pick which is best looking, at least for me it is. Though, if I had to choose, I think I’d go for the Audi SQ5. Its crisp lines, low hood line and angry headlights make it the sportiest looking for me. As much as I like the new X3, its front end is its weak point. And the AMG just looks a bit Plain-Jane, especially with is grille full of dots.
At the rear, at least for me, the BMW X3 M40i takes it. It’s the best combination of aggression, muscularity and grace. The Audi SQ5 has really bulging rear haunches that look very muscular but is boring aside from that. While almost all Mercedes-AMG products are quite pretty, I just don’t like the rear end of any of them, they all look like they’re melting. Plus, I think the X3’s taillights are the best.
Determining the best looking cabin is far more difficult. All three cars have really nice aspects to their cabins. Each is also uniquely their own and all three look really good. Also, is this the golden age for steering wheels or what? All three helms looks superb and are all lovely to hold. I think the Audi SQ5 gets a bit of a win here, just for its impressive technology and really slick Virtual Cockpit, but the X3’s is also really high-tech while adding a bit of ruggedness. It’s the AMG that starts to seem a bit dull, aside from the great looking steering wheel. All are excellent though, overall, and I’d be happy to drive around in any one of them for hours.
Looks are subjective, so it’s always hard to pick a winner. I, personally really like the Audi SQ5 and BMW X3 M40i the best, with the AMG kind of lagging behind a bit. Based on their power, performance and tech, my personal pick would likely be the BMW X3 M40i, with the SQ5 a close second and the AMG GLC43 last. But that’s just me. Which do you think is best?