2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2018 Audi Q7

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 Q7 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 Q7 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the Q7 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mercedes GLE is safer than the Q7:

 

GLE

Q7

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

182

225

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

25 cm

30 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

4%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

GOOD

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 Q7 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 Q7 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The GLE 400’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 325) than the Q7 3.0T’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 52 more horsepower (385 vs. 333) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 325) than the Q7 3.0T’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the Q7 3.0T:

 

GLE

Q7

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.2 sec

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 Q7 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The GLE has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q7 (24.6 vs. 22.5 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 an eight-speed automatic is available for the Q7.

Tires and Wheels

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 Q7 2.0T’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Q7 2.0T.

The GLE has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Q7; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the Q7 don’t even offer run-flats.

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 Q7 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 Q7 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 Q7 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The GLE’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52.6% to 47.4%) than the Q7’s (55% to 45%). This gives the GLE more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the GLE’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Q7’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Q7 w/Air Suspension (10 vs. 9.7 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The GLE is 10.5 inches shorter than the Q7, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the AMG GLE 43 is quieter than the Q7 Prestige (38 vs. 43 dB).

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Q7 with all its rear seats folded (80.3 vs. 71.6 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the GLE easier. The GLE’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.8 inches, while the Q7’s liftover is 32.5 inches.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Q7’s (7200 vs. 4400 pounds).

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Q7, 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.

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 Q7 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

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 Q7’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

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 Q7 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 Q7 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 Q7 because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the Q7, including $120 less for a muffler, $340 less for a starter, $181 less for fuel injection, $263 less for front struts and $1040 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Mercedes GLE outsold the Audi Q7 by 29% during the 2018 model year.

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

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