2020 Mercedes GLS vs. 2020 Audi Q7

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The GLS’ 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 Q7 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLS and the Q7 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, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

The Mercedes GLS weighs 619 to 917 pounds more than the Audi Q7. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 GLS’ 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 GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 114 more horsepower (362 vs. 248) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 273) than the Q7 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The GLS 450’s 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (362 vs. 335) than the Q7 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid. The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 148 more horsepower (483 vs. 335) and 147 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 369) than the Q7 55 TFSI’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLS 450 gets better fuel mileage than the Q7 55 TFSI (19 city/23 hwy vs. 17 city/21 hwy).

The GLS has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q7 45 TFSI’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 19.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLS has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q7 55 TFSI’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 22.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLS higher (6 out of 10) than the Audi Q7 (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Q7 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLS, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Q7.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Q7:

GLS

Q7

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The GLS stops shorter than the Q7:

GLS

Q7

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The GLS’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q7’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS offers optional 23-inch wheels. The Q7’s largest wheels are only 22-inches.

The GLS 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 Q7; 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. Some tire options on the Q7 don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Q7, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The GLS 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 Q7.

The GLS has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLS’ 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 Q7 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLS’ 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 Q7 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the Q7 (123.4 inches vs. 117.9 inches).

The GLS 580 handles at .90 G’s, while the Q7 Prestige pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the GLS’ turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Q7’s (39.4 feet vs. 41 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Q7 (10.1 vs. 8.3 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 1.6 inches higher than on the Q7 w/Air Suspension (11.3 vs. 9.7 inches).

Chassis

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The design of the Mercedes GLS amounts to more than styling. The GLS has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Q7 (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GLS get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The GLS has 1.4 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear legroom and 5.4 inches more third row legroom than the Q7.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the Q7.

GLS

Q7

Behind Third Seat

17.4 cubic feet

14.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

42.7 cubic feet

37.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.7 cubic feet

71.6 cubic feet

The GLS’ cargo area is larger than the Q7’s in almost every dimension:

GLS

Q7

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

22.2”/48.1”/81.3”

19.5”/44.7”/80.7”

Max Width

49”

52.5”

Min Width

42.5”

42.6”

Height

34.7”

30”

The GLS has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Q7 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the GLS’ second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Q7 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

Towing

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The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Q7’s (7700 vs. 4400 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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To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLS has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Q7 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GLS also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The GLS has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Audi doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Q7.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the GLS’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The Q7 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

Both the GLS and the Q7 offer available massaging front seats. The GLS also offers optional massaging second row seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging second row seats aren’t available in the Q7.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes GLS has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console and one for the rear passengers. Wireless charging costs extra on the Q7.

The GLS has a 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 Q7 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Q7 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLS is less expensive to operate than the Q7 because it costs $18 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GLS than the Q7, including $207 less for a muffler, $344 less for a starter, $197 less for fuel injection, $246 less for front struts and $1061 less for a timing belt/chain.

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