2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2018 BMW X5 xDrive40e

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLE have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The GLE’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLE are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the GLE and the X5 xDrive40e have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

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 X5 xDrive40e has not been tested, yet.


There are over 10 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.


The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 21 more horsepower (329 vs. 308) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 332) than the X5 xDrive40e’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 77 more horsepower (385 vs. 308) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 332) than the X5 xDrive40e’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the BMW X5 xDrive40e:



X5 xDrive40e

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

16.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

127 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The GLE has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 xDrive40e (24.6 vs. 21.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.


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 X5 xDrive40e.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLE’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X5 xDrive40e:




X5 xDrive40e

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the AMG GLE 43 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The X5 xDrive40e’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

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 X5 xDrive40e; 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.

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 X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

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 X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The GLE’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52.6% to 47.4%) than the X5 xDrive40e’s (45.8% to 54.2%). This gives the GLE more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the GLE’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the X5 xDrive40e’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 xDrive40e (10 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.


The Mercedes GLE may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the BMW X5 xDrive40e.

The GLE is 4.1 inches shorter than the X5 xDrive40e, 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 X5 xDrive40e 4dr Sport Utility (38 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

The GLE has .1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the X5 xDrive40e.

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X5 xDrive40e 4dr Sport Utility with its rear seat up (38.2 vs. 34.2 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X5 xDrive40e 4dr Sport Utility with its rear seat folded (80.3 vs. 72.5 cubic feet).

The GLE’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5 xDrive40e’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 11% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.


Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X5 xDrive40e, 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 X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

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 X5 xDrive40e 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 X5 xDrive40e doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

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

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