2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e vs. 2020 Mercedes GLE

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The X5 xDrive45e has a standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The X5 xDrive45e offers optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The GLE doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X5 xDrive45e. But it costs extra on the GLE.

Both the X5 xDrive45e and the GLE have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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.

The BMW X5 xDrive45e weighs 681 to 976 pounds more than the Mercedes GLE. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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The X5 xDrive45e’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLE’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X5 xDrive45e 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’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in initial quality. With 26 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 30th.

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 X5 xDrive45e’s 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 134 more horsepower (389 vs. 255) and 170 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 273) than the GLE 350’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The X5 xDrive45e’s 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (389 vs. 362) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 369) than the GLE 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the X5 xDrive45e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GLE 450 (47 city/54 hwy MPGe vs. 19 city/24 hwy).

The X5 xDrive45e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The GLE must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Transmission

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The X5 xDrive45e’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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The X5 xDrive45e’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.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the X5 xDrive45e has larger standard tires than the GLE (265/50R19 vs. 255/50R19).

The X5 xDrive45e’s optional 275/40R21 front and 315/35R21 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLE’s optional 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X5 xDrive45e can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The GLE doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the X5 xDrive45e uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the GLE, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The X5 xDrive45e’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (47.7% to 52.3%) than the GLE’s (53.5% to 46.5%). This gives the X5 xDrive45e more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the X5 xDrive45e has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GLE (8.3 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the X5 xDrive45e to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the X5 xDrive45e uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLE doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The X5 xDrive45e has .3 inches more front headroom and .7 inches more front shoulder room than the GLE.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the X5 xDrive45e’s available third row seats recline. The GLE’s optional third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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Both the X5 xDrive45e and the GLE offer second row automatic folding seats. The X5 xDrive45e’s optional third row seats also fold down at the press of a button. The GLE doesn’t offer automatic folding third row seats.

The X5 xDrive45e’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The GLE’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

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