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Both the Q8 and G-Class have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Q8 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The G-Class’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Q8 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies 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 Q8 Prestige 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 Q8 Premium Plus/Prestige has a standard Top View Cameras 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 Q8 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 Q8 and the G-Class 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
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 vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Q8 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The G-Class has not been tested, yet.
The Q8’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the G-Class’ (12 vs. 5 years).
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 7 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.
On the EPA test cycle the Q8 gets better fuel mileage than the G 550 with its standard engine (17 city/21 hwy vs. 13 city/17 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the Q8 gets better fuel mileage than the G 550 (17 city/21 hwy vs. 13 city/17 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Q8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The G-Class doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
For better stopping power the Q8’s brake rotors are larger than those on the G-Class:
The Q8’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 550’s standard 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Q8 has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the G 550.
For superior ride and handling, the Audi Q8 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.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Q8’s wheelbase is 4.1 inches longer than on the G-Class (117.9 inches vs. 113.8 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Q8 is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the G-Class.
The Q8 Prestige handles at .83 G’s, while the G 550 pulls only .61 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Q8 Prestige executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.8 seconds quicker than the G 550 (26.9 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 30.7 seconds @ .53 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the Q8’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the G-Class’ (43.5 feet vs. 44.6 feet).
The Audi Q8 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 850 pounds less than the Mercedes G-Class.
The Q8 is 10.2 inches shorter in height than the G-Class, making the Q8 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).
Unibody construction lowers the Q8’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 Q8 has standard flush composite headlights. The G-Class has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.
The Q8 has 2.9 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.
The Q8’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The G-Class’ swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Q8’s power cargo door can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The G-Class doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.
The Q8’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the G-Class’ (7700 vs. 7000 pounds).
The Q8 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction 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 shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Q8 has standard extendable sun visors. The G-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.
A manual rear sunshade is optional in the Q8 and power rear side window sunshades are standard in the Q8 Prestige to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The G-Class doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.
Insurance will cost less for the Q8 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Q8 will cost $1930 to $3780 less than the G-Class over a five-year period.
The Q8 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Q8 will retain 45.57% to 45.71% of its original price after five years, while the G-Class only retains 43.42%.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi Q8 will be $40941 to $49167 less than for the Mercedes G-Class.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Q8 second among midsize premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The G-Class isn’t in the top three.
The Audi Q8 outsold the Mercedes G-Class by almost two to one during 2019.
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