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The Q8’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The G-Class doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the Q8 and G-Class have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q8 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The G-Class’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q8 has standard Pre Sense City, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The G-Class doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.
The Q8 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The G-Class doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Q8’s standard Hill Descent Assist allows you to creep down safely. The G-Class doesn’t offer Hill Descent Assist.
A passive infrared night vision system optional on the Q8 Prestige helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The G-Class doesn’t offer a night vision system.
The Q8’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The G-Class doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Q8 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The G-Class only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
To help make backing safer, the Q8’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The G-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Q8 uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The G-Class uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.
Both the Q8 and the G-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.
The Q8’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the G-Class’ (12 vs. 5 years).
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.
On the EPA test cycle the Q8 gets better fuel mileage than the G 550 (17 city/22 hwy vs. 13 city/14 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Q8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The G-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi Q8 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The G-Class requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi Q8, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the G-Class.
For better stopping power the Q8’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the G-Class:
The Q8’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the G 550 are solid, not vented.
The Q8’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the G 550’s standard 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q8 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the G 550.
The Audi Q8’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Mercedes G-Class’ solid front axle, which allows the Q8’s wheels to react more quickly and accurately to the road’s surface, improving both ride and handling.
For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q8 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mercedes G-Class has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.
The Q8 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Q8 flat and controlled during cornering. The G-Class’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
For much better steering response and tighter handling the Q8 has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the G-Class.
The Q8 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The G-Class doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q8’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the G-Class (117.9 inches vs. 112.2 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q8 is 6.7 inches wider in the front and 7.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the G-Class.
For better maneuverability, the Q8’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the G-Class’ (43.5 feet vs. 44.6 feet).
The Audi Q8 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 1800 pounds less than the Mercedes G-Class.
The Q8 is 9.2 inches shorter in height than the G-Class, making the Q8 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).
Unibody construction lowers the Q8’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The G-Class uses body-on-frame design instead.
The design of the Audi Q8 amounts to more than styling. The Q8 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .35 Cd. That is significantly lower than the G-Class (.54). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Q8 get better fuel mileage.
For excellent aerodynamics, the Q8 has standard flush composite headlights. The G-Class has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.
The Q8 has 3.2 inches more front shoulder room and 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Q8’s rear seats recline. The G-Class’ rear seats don’t recline.
The Q8’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The G-Class’ swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Q8 has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or on the Q8 Premium Plus/Prestige, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The G-Class doesn’t offer a power cargo door.
While the G-Class 4x4/G 65 can only tow 7000, any Q8 can tow a minimum of 7700 pounds.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.
The Q8 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The G-Class doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Q8’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The G-Class’ power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
Keyless Engine Start/Stop standard on the Q8 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (Q8 Premium Plus/Prestige’s Audi Advanced Key will also allow unlocking the doors and cargo door without taking your keys out). The Mercedes G-Class doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Q8 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The G-Class doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Q8 has standard extendable sun visors. The G-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.
A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q8 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The G-Class doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
The Q8 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The G-Class doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
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