2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the GLE. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the e-tron Sportback.

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 e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the e-tron Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

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, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLE its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The e-tron Sportback has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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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

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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 Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The GLE 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 81 more horsepower (483 vs. 402) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 490) than the e-tron Sportback’s electric motors.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The GLE 350’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 607.5 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The e-tron Sportback’s range is only 204 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 9 hours.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the e-tron Sportback (F:275/45R21 & R:315/40R21 vs. 265/45R21).

The GLE’s optional 315/40R21 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the e-tron Sportback’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE 580 offers optional 22-inch wheels. The e-tron Sportback’s largest wheels are only 21-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 e-tron Sportback; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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

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 e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the e-tron Sportback (117.9 inches vs. 115 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 66.8 inches wider in the rear than on the e-tron Sportback.

For better maneuverability, the GLE’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the e-tron Sportback’s (39.4 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes GLE may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 750 to 1050 pounds less than the Audi e-tron Sportback.

Passenger Space

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The GLE offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the e-tron Sportback can only carry 5.

The GLE has 2.4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the e-tron Sportback.

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

Cargo Capacity

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The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the e-tron Sportback with its rear seat up (33 vs. 27.2 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the e-tron Sportback with its rear seat folded (75 vs. 54.5 cubic feet).

Towing

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The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the e-tron Sportback’s (7700 vs. 0 pounds). The e-tron Sportback’s maximum towing capacity is only 4000 pounds.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The GLE’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The e-tron Sportback’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The GLE offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLE’s Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/15

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

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