2020 Porsche Cayenne vs. 2020 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Cayenne has a standard Multi-collision Brake System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The GLS 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 Cayenne 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 GLS doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Cayenne and the GLS 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, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Cayenne’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLS’ (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Porsche fourth in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The Cayenne has more powerful engines than the GLS:

Horsepower

Torque

Cayenne S 2.9 turbo V6

434 HP

406 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne E-Hybrid 3.0 turbo V6

455 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne Turbo 4.0 turbo V8

541 HP

568 lbs.-ft.

Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid 4.0 turbo V8

670 HP

663 lbs.-ft.

GLS 450 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

GLS 580 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid

483 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Cayenne E-Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GLS 450 (46 city/46 hwy MPGe vs. 19 city/23 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Cayenne E-Hybrid running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the GLS 450 (21 city/23 hwy vs. 19 city/23 hwy).

The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 31 miles. The GLS must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Transmission

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The Cayenne’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The GLS doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Cayenne S

Cayenne Turbo

Cayenne opt.

Cayenne

GLS 450

Front Rotors

15.4 inches

16.3 inches

17.3 inches

17.3 inches

14.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

14.4 inches

16.1 inches

16.1 inches

13.6 inches

The Cayenne offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The GLS doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The Cayenne Turbo has standard air brakes, which adjust the spoiler automatically during high-speed braking in order to shorten stopping distances. The GLS doesn’t offer air brakes.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Cayenne’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GLS (F:285/40R21 & R:315/35R21 vs. 255/50R19).

The Cayenne’s optional 285/35R22 front and 315/30R22 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series front and 30 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLS’ 50 series tires.

The Cayenne 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 GLS; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The Cayenne offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The GLS doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For better maneuverability, the Cayenne’s turning circle with optional rear wheel steering is 4.3 feet tighter than the GLS’ (35.1 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Porsche Cayenne may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 1100 pounds less than the Mercedes GLS.

The Cayenne is 11.3 inches shorter than the GLS 450, making the Cayenne easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Cayenne uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLS doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Servicing Ease

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

Ergonomics

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The Cayenne’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The GLS does not have an oil pressure gauge.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Cayenne offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The GLS doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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