BMW’s 3 Series LCI facelift came just in time, as its bitter rival–the Mercedes-Benz C-Class–was just recently updated with an all-new model and it’s better than ever. So let’s take a look at both cars and see which one is best looking.
I must clarify, we won’t be discussing power, performance, handling, or tech. Without driving the C-Class (Mercedes doesn’t seem keen on letting me test its cars), we can’t compare what they’re like to actually use. We can only compare their designs right now so that’s what we’re gonna do.
Up front, I really like both cars, for different reasons. The new 3 Series LCI is sharp, sporty, and modern. While the C-Class is a bit more traditional, more understated, and a bit more elegant looking. If I really had to choose, it’d be the 3 Series, as I think it’s a tighter, sportier design and the C-Class–as handsome as it is–looks a bit droopy, everything seems to point downward, which isn’t exactly exciting.
In profile, again, both cars look great but in the exact same different ways as before; the 3 Series is sportier and the C-Class is more elegant. Though, I will say there’s something about the silhouette of the C-Class on those wheels that really speaks to me. I like this new 3 Series LCI but I think if I had to choose one based solely on how they look from the side, I’d choose the Benz.
Out back, I think Mercedes-Benz has done a good job eliminating some of the droop that’s plagued so many of its recent cars. The new C-Class rump is better than before but it’s still a bit droopy. So I’m gonna give the best butt award to the BMW 3 Series, which has sharp taillights and a sportier back end.
Inside, it’s a bit tricky because the BMW 3 Series has a well-thought-out, ergonomic, and highly functional interior that features impeccable build quality. But what makes the cabin of the 3 Series so good is exactly what I can’t use in this comparison–what it’s like to use. The C-Class’ cabin is better looking, with a gorgeous steering wheel, cool looking vents, an infotainment system that seems easier to reach, and a lovely waterfall design for its center console. I love using the 3 Series’ cabin, because it’s just so intelligently laid out, but I can’t use that here because I haven’t yet tried the C-Class’. So I’m gonna have to go Benz for the Interior.
That leaves both cars in a tie, with two category wins each. As fence-sitting as that is, I think it’s an appropriate outcome. Both cars are great looking cars and both have fantastic interiors. I’d happily own either without having buyer’s remorse and wanting the other.