2019 BMW X5 vs. 2019 Mercedes G-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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.

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 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 or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the X5 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 47 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The G-Class has not been tested, yet.

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 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

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

Engine

The X5 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 40 more horsepower (456 vs. 416) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 450) than the G 550’s standard 4.0 turbo V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

X5

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/22 hwy

G-Class

550 4.0 turbo V8

13 city/17 hwy

AMG 63 4.0 turbo V8

13 city/15 hwy

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.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X5 M Sport’s brake rotors are larger than those on the G-Class:

X5 M Sport

G-Class

Front Rotors

15.6 inches

13.9 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

13.6 inches

The X5 stops shorter than the G-Class:

X5

G-Class

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

161 feet

Car and Driver

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-Class’ 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-Class’ optional 50 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

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 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X5’s wheelbase is 3.3 inches longer than on the G-Class (117.1 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X5 is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the G-Class.

The X5’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the G-Class’ (53% to 47%). This gives the X5 more stable handling and braking.

The X5 xDrive40i handles at .89 G’s, while the AMG G 63 pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

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

Chassis

The BMW X5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 850 pounds less than the Mercedes G-Class.

The X5 is 8.2 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 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The X5 has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the G-Class with its rear seat folded (72.3 vs. 68.5 cubic feet).

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.

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.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW X5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The BMW X5 outsold the Mercedes G-Class by over 11 to one during 2018.

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

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