2018 Mercedes GLS vs. 2017 Maserati Levante

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLS have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Maserati Levante doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The GLS’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Levante doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the GLS helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Levante doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The GLS’ 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 Levante doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The GLS has standard mbrace, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Levante doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

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

Warranty

The GLS’ corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Levante’s (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Maserati dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GLS’ warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLS third among large premium suvs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Levante isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The GLS has more powerful engines than the Levante:

 

Horsepower

Torque

GLS 450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

GLS 550 4.7 turbo V8

449 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

AMG GLS 63 5.5 turbo V8

577 HP

561 lbs.-ft.

Levante 3.0 turbo V6

345 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Levante S 3.0 turbo V6

424 HP

428 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the GLS 450 V6 gets better fuel mileage than the Levante with its standard turbo V6 (17 city/22 hwy vs. 14 city/20 hwy).

The GLS has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Levante (26.4 vs. 21.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Mercedes GLS as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Maserati Levante is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Levante:

 

GLS 450

AMG GLS 63

Levante

Levante S

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

15.4 inches

13.6 inches

15 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.2 inches

13 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLS has larger standard tires than the Levante (275/55R19 vs. 265/50R19). The GLS’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Levante (295/40R21 vs. 265/50R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the AMG GLS 63 offers optional 22-inch wheels. The Levante’s largest wheels are only 21-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The GLS offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Levante doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The GLS’ 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 Levante doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Levante (121.1 inches vs. 118.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the GLS is 1.4 inches wider in the front and .1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Levante.

For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 2.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Levante (12.5 vs. 9.7 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the GLS 450 is quieter than the Levante S:

 

GLS

Levante

At idle

37 dB

51 dB

Full-Throttle

71 dB

79 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

The GLS has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Levante can only carry 5.

The GLS has 1 inch more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 3.9 inches more rear legroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Levante.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLS’ middle row seats recline. The Levante’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the Levante.

 

GLS

Levante

Third Seat Folded

49.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

19.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

93.8 cubic feet

57.3 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the GLS’ optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Levante doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

Towing

The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Levante’s (7500 vs. 6000 pounds).

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Levante, the GLS offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

If the windows are left down on the GLS the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor); on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the Levante can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GLS has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Levante doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer fluid is optional on the GLS to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Levante doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. It’s optional heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GLS has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Levante doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the GLS has standard extendable sun visors. The Levante doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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

The GLS’ optional Parking Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Levante doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLS third among large premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Levante isn’t in the top three.

Motor Trend selected the GLS as their 2013 Sport Utility of the Year. The Levante has never been chosen.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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