2021 BMW X3 M vs. 2020 Mercedes GLE

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The X3 M has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The GLE doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The X3 M has standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The GLE 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X3 M. But it costs extra on the GLE.

Both the X3 M and the GLE have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, 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, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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The X3 M’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLE’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 M for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLE.

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 BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 4 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The X3 M has more powerful engines than the GLE:

Horsepower

Torque

X3 M 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

473 HP

442 lbs.-ft.

X3 M Competition 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder

503 HP

469 lbs.-ft.

GLE 350 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

255 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

GLE 450 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

GLE 580 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid

483 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 M Competition is faster than the GLE 450 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid:

X3 M

GLE

Zero to 60 MPH

4 sec

5.6 sec

Quarter Mile

12.3 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

117.3 MPH

97.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the X3 M’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Mercedes only offers a regenerative brake system on the GLE 450.

Transmission

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The X3 M’s 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 GLE doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the X3 M’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GLE:

X3 M

GLE 350

GLE 450

Front Rotors

15.6 inches

13 inches

14.8 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

13 inches

13.6 inches

The X3 M’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the GLE 350 are solid, not vented.

The X3 M stops much shorter than the GLE:

X3 M

GLE

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction and acceleration, the X3 M has larger standard rear tires than the GLE (265/45R20 vs. 255/50R19).

The X3 M’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLE’s standard 50 series tires. The X3 M Competition’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the GLE’s optional 45 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 M has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the GLE.

Suspension and Handling

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The X3 M’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the GLE’s (53.5% to 46.5%). This gives the X3 M more stable handling and braking.

The X3 M Competition handles at .95 G’s, while the GLE 350 4MATIC pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X3 M Competition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 4 seconds quicker than the GLE 350 4MATIC (24.2 seconds @ .86 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the X3 M has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GLE (8 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the X3 M to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The X3 M is 8.1 inches shorter than the GLE, making the X3 M easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the X3 M is 1.5 inches lower than the GLE (18.5” vs. 20”). The X3 M’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the GLE’s (18.5” vs. 20”).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X3 M easier. The X3 M’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.5 inches, while the GLE’s liftover is 30.7 inches.

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 2020/08/06

The BMW X3 outsold the Mercedes GLE by 40% during 2019.

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