2019 BMW X5 vs. 2018 Mercedes G-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X5’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 X5 has standard City Collision Mitigation, 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 X5 has standard Active Protection, 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 X5’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The G-Class doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

A passive infrared night vision system optional on the X5 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 X5’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The G-Class doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The X5 offers an optional Surround View 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 X5’s 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.

The X5’s 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 G-Class doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the X5 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 X5 and the G-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The X5’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the G-Class’ (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the G-Class.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X5 gets better fuel mileage than the G-Class:

 

 

X5

G-Class

 

 

xDrive40i/Auto

20 city/26 hwy

n/a

 

 

xDrive50i/Auto

17 city/22 hwy

13 city/14 hwy

550/Auto

 

 

n/a

12 city/15 hwy

63/Auto AMG

 

 

n/a

11 city/13 hwy

65/Auto AMG

 

 

n/a

11 city/11 hwy

550/Auto 4x4

Regenerative brakes improve the X5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The G-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the X5’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The G-Class G 65 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW X5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the G-Class.

The X5’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

The X5’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.

Tires and Wheels

The X5’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. The X5’s optional 275/35R22 front and 315/30R22 rear tires have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile than the G 65’s 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the X5 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The G-Class doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The BMW X5’s independent front suspension is much lighter than the Mercedes G-Class’ solid front axle, which allows the X5’s wheels to react more quickly and accurately to the road’s surface, improving both ride and handling.

For superior ride and handling, the BMW X5 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 X5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the X5 flat and controlled during cornering. The G-Class’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The X5 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 G-Class doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The X5 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Mercedes doesn’t offer an active suspension on the G-Class.

For much better steering response and tighter handling the X5 has rack and pinion steering, like Formula race cars, instead of the recirculating-ball type steering of the G-Class.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the G-Class (117.1 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X5 is 6.7 inches wider in the front and 7.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the G-Class.

For better maneuverability, the X5’s turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the G-Class’ (41.4 feet vs. 44.6 feet).

For greater off-road capability the X5 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the G 63 (8.7 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the X5 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The BMW X5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 1650 pounds less than the Mercedes G-Class.

The X5 is 7.3 inches shorter in height than the G-Class, making the X5 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Unibody construction lowers the X5’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.

For excellent aerodynamics, the X5 has standard flush composite headlights. The G-Class has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

The front grille of the X5 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The G-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The X5 offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the G-Class can only carry 5.

The X5 has 3.7 inches more front shoulder room and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the X5’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The G-Class doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

The X5’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The G-Class’ rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the X5 has a standard power tailgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The G-Class doesn’t offer a power cargo door.

Ergonomics

The X5 offers an optional 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 X5’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.

Comfort Go standard on the X5 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (optional Comfort Access 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.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the X5 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the G-Class only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the X5 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The G-Class doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The G-Class’ cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The X5’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the X5 has standard extendable sun visors. The G-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The X5 has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The G-Class doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The X5’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The G-Class doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

The BMW X5 outsold the Mercedes G-Class by almost 15 to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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