2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2018 BMW X5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 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 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 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLE. But it costs extra on the X5.

Both the GLE and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, 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 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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.

Engine

The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 29 more horsepower (329 vs. 300) and 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 300) than the X5 s/xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the X5 xDrive35i:

 

GLE

X5

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

5.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

15.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

96 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

127 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The GLE has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (24.6 vs. 22.4 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 X5.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

X5

X5 xDrive50i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

13.1 inches

14.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

The GLE stops shorter than the X5:

 

GLE

X5

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

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 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 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better maneuverability, the GLE’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the X5’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 (10 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The GLE is 4.1 inches shorter than the X5, 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 xDrive35i (38 vs. 41 dB).

Passenger Space

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

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X5 5-Passenger with its rear seat up (38.2 vs. 35.8 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X5 with all its rear seats folded (80.3 vs. 76.7 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’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.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the X5’s (7200 vs. 6000 pounds).

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.

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 X5 doesn’t offer a remote starting 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 X5 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

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 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 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the X5 because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the X5, including $162 less for a water pump, $1198 less for a muffler, $18 less for a starter, $68 less for a fuel pump, $103 less for front struts, $1437 less for a timing belt/chain and $890 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mercedes GLE will be $4005 to $6645 less than for the BMW X5.

Recommendations

The Mercedes GLE outsold the BMW X5 by 5% during the 2018 model year.

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

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