Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 Comparison: Diesel Duel


In terms of aesthetics, both the Mercedes-Benz GLA and the BMW X1 offer distinctive styling cues. The BMW X1 presents a more traditional SUV silhouette with upright pillars and a larger glasshouse, embodying the iconic BMW design language with its prominent kidney grille and sleek tail-light design. Opting for the M Sport package enhances its sporty appeal, although larger wheels would further elevate its aesthetic allure.

On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz GLA adopts a crossover-inspired profile, exuding modernity with its sleek lines and dynamic proportions. The 2024 model year update brings subtle changes such as body-colored aprons and refreshed headlight and tail-light internals. Especially in the AMG Line variant, equipped with eye-catching 19-inch AMG wheels, the GLA commands attention on the road.

Interior and Features

Both the X1 and GLA offer luxurious interiors that prioritize comfort and sophistication. The BMW X1’s asymmetric dashboard design adds a refreshing twist to the traditional BMW layout, complemented by premium materials and thoughtful details such as the floating center console and wireless charging pad. Despite some lower-quality plastics, the X1 effectively conceals them within the cabin.

In contrast, the Mercedes-Benz GLA boasts a youthful ambiance inside, featuring turbine-like air-con vents and updated software for its twin screens. The GLA’s touchscreen interface is intuitive to use, although the new steering touchpad controls might pose a learning curve. While both models provide ample space for front and rear occupants, the X1 offers larger front seats with additional support and amenities like a lumbar massage function.

Powertrain and Performance

Under the hood, the GLA impresses with its 2-liter diesel engine delivering 190hp and 400Nm of torque, outclassing the X1’s 2-liter diesel with 150hp and 360Nm. This power advantage translates into spirited performance for the GLA, evident in its impressive 0-100kph time of 7.4 seconds and engaging handling dynamics. However, the GLA’s firm suspension and noticeable engine noise might detract from the overall driving experience, especially on patchy surfaces.

In comparison, the X1 excels in refinement, offering a quieter engine and smoother ride quality, particularly on rough roads. While its performance may feel less exhilarating compared to the GLA, the X1 compensates with balanced dynamics and impressive engine refinement, making it well-suited for urban driving.


Ultimately, the choice between the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA depends on individual preferences and priorities. While the X1 boasts a traditional SUV design and refined driving experience, the GLA stands out with its powerful engine and engaging performance. Priced slightly higher, the GLA offers a compelling blend of luxury, power, and driving pleasure, making it a strong contender in the diesel crossover segment.

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