For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes M-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW X6 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The M-Class’ front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X6 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes M-Class are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW X6 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
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 X6 offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
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 X6 doesn’t offer a night vision system.
The M-Class’ optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The X6 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
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 X6 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the M-Class and the X6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.
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 137 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The X6 has not been tested, yet.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 9th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 10th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.
The M-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 155 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 300) than the X6 xDrive35i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The M-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 155 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 300) than the X6 xDrive35i M Performance Package’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The M-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 450) than the X6 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8. The M-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 450) than the X6 xDrive50i M Performance Package’s standard 4.4 turbo V8.
On the EPA test cycle the ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the X6 xDrive35i (20 city/27 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the ML350 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the X6 xDrive35i (18 city/23 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).
The M-Class 350 BlueTEC’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the X6 (24.6 vs. 22.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The M-Class 350/550’s standard fuel tank has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the X6 (27.7 vs. 22.4 gallons).
For better stopping power the ML550’s brake rotors are larger than those on the X6:
For better maneuverability, the M-Class’ turning circle is 3.3 feet tighter than the X6’s (38.7 feet vs. 42 feet).
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 X6 (.35 to .37). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the M-Class get better fuel mileage.
The M-Class has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 2.5 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the X6.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the M-Class’ rear seats recline. The X6’s rear seats don’t recline.
The M-Class has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the X6 with its rear seat up (36.2 vs. 25.6 cubic feet). The M-Class has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the X6 with its rear seat folded (80.3 vs. 59.7 cubic feet).
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 X6’s liftover is 33 inches.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the M-Class. The X6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the M-Class has a standard rear wiper. The X6 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the M-Class offers optional dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The X6 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.
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 X6 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 X6 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Insurance will cost less for the M-Class owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the M-Class will cost $4605 to $7625 less than the X6 over a five-year period.
Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mercedes M-Class will be $14028 to $41068 less than for the BMW X6.