2020 Mercedes GLS vs. 2020 Porsche Cayenne

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The GLS’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cayenne doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLS and the Cayenne have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.

Warranty

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There are over 2 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Porsche dealers, which makes it much 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 Porsche vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Porsche is ranked 15th.

Engine

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As tested in Consumer Reports the GLS 450 is faster than the Porsche Cayenne 3.0 turbo V6:

GLS

Cayenne

Zero to 30 MPH

2.4 sec

2.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

14.9 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLS gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne running its gasoline engine:

MPG

GLS

3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

19 city/23 hwy

4.0 turbo V8 Hybrid

16 city/21 hwy

Cayenne

3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

20 city/22 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

19 city/23 hwy

2.9 turbo V6

18 city/22 hwy

4.0 turbo V8

15 city/19 hwy

The GLS has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Cayenne E-Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 19.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Porsche Cayenne (3 to 5). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cayenne 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 Cayenne.

Brakes and Stopping

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

GLS

Cayenne

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The GLS has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

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 Cayenne’s standard 55 series front tires.

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

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 Cayenne, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

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 Cayenne doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 9.4 inches longer than on the Cayenne (123.4 inches vs. 114 inches).

For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 1.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Cayenne (10.1 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 1.7 inches higher than on the Cayenne Air Suspension (11.3 vs. 9.6 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 lower than the Cayenne (.34 to .35) 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 standard seating for 7 passengers; the Cayenne can only carry 5.

The GLS has .4 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and 2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Cayenne.

Cargo Capacity

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

GLS

Cayenne

Third Seat Folded

42.7 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

27.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.7 cubic feet

60.3 cubic feet

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

GLS

Cayenne

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

22.2”/48.1”/81.3”

n.a./39.6”/74.9”

Max Width

49”

42”

Min Width

42.5”

42”

Height

34.7”

30.4”

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

Ergonomics

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The GLS 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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The GLS’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Cayenne.

If the windows are left open on the GLS the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Cayenne can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GLS’ 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 Cayenne’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the GLS has standard extendable sun visors. The Cayenne doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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

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 for the rear passengers. The Cayenne doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/07/11

The Mercedes GLS outsold the Porsche Cayenne by 17% during 2019.

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