2019 Audi SQ5 vs. 2018 Mercedes G-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The SQ5’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.

The SQ5 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 SQ5 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply 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 SQ5’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The G-Class doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The SQ5 Prestige’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 SQ5 Prestige has a standard Top View Camera System 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 SQ5’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 SQ5 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 SQ5 and the G-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal 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 and available blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the SQ5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The G-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The SQ5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the G-Class’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi SQ5 is faster than the G 550 4.0 turbo V8:

 

SQ5

G-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.5 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101.8 MPH

95.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the SQ5 gets better fuel mileage than the G 550 (19 city/24 hwy vs. 13 city/14 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the SQ5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The G-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi SQ5 higher (5 out of 10) than the Mercedes G-Class (3). This means the SQ5 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the G-Class every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi SQ5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the G-Class.

The SQ5’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The G-Class doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the SQ5’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the G-Class:

 

SQ5

G-Class

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

10.7 inches

The SQ5’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 SQ5 stops much shorter than the G-Class:

 

SQ5

G-Class

 

70 to 0 MPH

148 feet

210 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The SQ5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 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 SQ5 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the G 550.

Suspension and Handling

The Audi SQ5’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Mercedes G-Class’ solid front axle, which allows the SQ5’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 SQ5 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 SQ5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the SQ5 flat and controlled during cornering. The G-Class’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The SQ5 has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The G-Class doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For much better steering response and tighter handling the SQ5 has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the G-Class.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the SQ5 is 4.5 inches wider in the front and 4.2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the G-Class.

The SQ5 Prestige handles at .93 G’s, while the G 65 pulls only .58 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The SQ5 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3 seconds quicker than the G 550 (25.7 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the SQ5’s turning circle is 6.2 feet tighter than the G-Class’ (38.4 feet vs. 44.6 feet).

For greater off-road capability the SQ5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the G 63 (8.2 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the SQ5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Audi SQ5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1300 to 2500 pounds less than the Mercedes G-Class.

The SQ5 is 11 inches shorter in height than the G-Class, making the SQ5 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Unibody construction lowers the SQ5’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 SQ5 amounts to more than styling. The SQ5 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 SQ5 get better fuel mileage.

For excellent aerodynamics, the SQ5 has standard flush composite headlights. The G-Class has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

The SQ5 has 1.4 inches more front shoulder room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the SQ5’s rear seats recline. The G-Class’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the SQ5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The G-Class doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The SQ5’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 when your hands are full, the SQ5’s power cargo door can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The G-Class doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Servicing Ease

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.

Ergonomics

The SQ5 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 SQ5’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 Start standard on the SQ5 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (optional Audi Advanced Key will also allow unlocking the driver’s door 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 SQ5 Prestige 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 SQ5 has standard extendable sun visors. The G-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The SQ5 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.

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

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