Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2012 Mercedes Benz M-Class VS 2012 Audi Q7 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2012 Mercedes Benz M-Class

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2012 Audi Q7

Safety Comparison

The M-Class offers optional PRE-SAFE Brake, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Q7 doesn't offer crash mitigation brakes.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the M-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Q7 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The M-Class’ 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.

The M-Class has standard mbrace, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Q7 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the M-Class and the Q7 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the M-Class as a “Top Pick” for 2012, a rating only granted to 120 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q7 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 18 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the M-Class’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 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 fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 18th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

The ML350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 22 more horsepower (302 vs. 280) than the Q7 3.0T’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6. The ML550’s standard 4.7 turbo V8 produces 69 more horsepower (402 vs. 333) and 118 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 325) than the Q7 3.0T S line ®’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6.

The M-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 15 more horsepower (240 vs. 225) and 49 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 406) than the Q7’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel.

As tested in Motor Trend the ML350 BlueTEC is faster than the Q7 TDI:



Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

8.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87.7 MPH

82.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the Q7 TDI (20 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/25 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the ML350 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the Q7 3.0T (17 city/22 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

The M-Class 550’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q7 (27.7 vs. 26.4 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the ML550’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Q7:



Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.8 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The M-Class’ standard 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 M-Class has standard 19 inch wheels. Smaller 18 inch wheels are standard on the Q7.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The M-Class has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Q7’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The M-Class has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the M-Class flat and controlled during cornering. The Q7’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The M-Class 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 Q7 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The ML350 4MATIC handles at .85 G’s, while the Q7 TDI Premium pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The ML350 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Q7 TDI Premium (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the M-Class’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Q7’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the M-Class Airmatic has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Q7 air suspension (11.2 vs. 9.4 inches), allowing the M-Class to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The Mercedes M-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 pounds less than the Audi Q7.

The M-Class is 11.2 inches shorter than the Q7, making the M-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the M-Class Diesel has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount and conventional liquid-filled engine mounts (standard liquid front mount on M-Class gas engine). A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The Q7 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Mercedes M-Class amounts to more than styling. The M-Class has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .35 Cd. That is lower than the Q7 (.37). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the M-Class get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

The M-Class has 1.3 inches more rear legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q7.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the M-Class easier. The M-Class’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29 inches, while the Q7’s liftover is 32.9 inches.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional in the Q7, the M-Class offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

If the windows are left down on the M-Class the driver can raise them all using the keyless remote; on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the Q7 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the M-Class detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Q7 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the M-Class has standard extendable sun visors. The Q7 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To help keep rear passengers entertained, the M-Class offers optional rear seat controls for the radio which can play a separate audio source. The Q7 doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.

The M-Class offers an optional 115 volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters which can break or get misplaced. The Q7 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The M-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Q7 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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