2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 BMW X4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and middle 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 X4 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the GLE and the X4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.


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.


J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.


The GLE 350’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 7 more horsepower (255 vs. 248) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the X4 xDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. The GLE 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 7 more horsepower (362 vs. 355) and 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 365) than the X4 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the GLE 450’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The X4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The GLE has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X4 (22.5 vs. 17.2 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 X4.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLE 450’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X4:

GLE 450

X4 xDrive30i

X4 M40i

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13 inches

13.7 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the X4 (255/50R19 vs. 245/50R19). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X4 (F:275/45R21 & R:315/40R21 vs. F:245/40R20 & R:275/40R20).

Suspension and Handling

The GLE 450 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. BMW doesn’t offer an active suspension on the X4.

The GLE has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLE’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The X4 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 X4 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the X4 (117.9 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the X4.

Passenger Space

The GLE offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the X4 can only carry 5.

The GLE has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.4 inches more rear headroom, 5.4 inches more rear legroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the X4.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLE’s middle row seats recline. The X4’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the X4 with its rear seat up (33 vs. 18.5 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the X4 with its rear seat folded (75 vs. 50.5 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLE’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The X4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.


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 X4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X4, 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 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 X4 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The GLE is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The X4 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.


The Mercedes GLE outsold the BMW X4 by almost 11 to one during 2018.

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

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