2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2018 Audi Q5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The GLE has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The GLE’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 Q5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the Q5 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The Mercedes GLE weighs 706 to 942 pounds more than the Audi Q5. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLE the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q5 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 77 more horsepower (329 vs. 252) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 133 more horsepower (385 vs. 252) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the Audi Q5:

 

GLE

Q5

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

16.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

128 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the GLE Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Q5 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLE’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Q5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The GLE has 6.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q5 (24.6 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLE, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Q5.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLE’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Q5:

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

Q5

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

13 inches

The GLE stops much shorter than the Q5:

 

GLE

Q5

 

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the Q5 (255/50R19 vs. 235/60R18). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Q5 (265/45R20 vs. 255/45R20).

The GLE’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 Q5’s standard 60 series tires. The AMG GLE 43’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Q5’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Q5. The AMG GLE 43’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Q5.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE 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 Q5 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The GLE has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Q5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLE’s 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 Q5 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Q5 (114.8 inches vs. 111 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Q5.

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Q5 (10 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The GLE has .8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q5.

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Q5 with its rear seat up (38.2 vs. 26.8 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Q5 with its rear seat folded (80.3 vs. 60.4 cubic feet).

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Q5’s (7200 vs. 4400 pounds).

Ergonomics

The GLE has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Q5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Q5, the GLE 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.

The GLE’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Q5 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Heated windshield washer fluid is optional on the GLE to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Q5 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The GLE’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Q5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLE offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Q5 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GLE also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GLE has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Q5 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The GLE offers an optional 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 Q5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLE’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Q5 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the Q5, including $107 less for a water pump, $32 less for a muffler, $60 less for a starter, $36 less for a fuel pump and $410 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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