Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 Mercedes Benz M-Class VS 2013 Lexus GX460 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2013 Mercedes Benz M-Class

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VS

2013 Lexus GX460

Safety Comparison

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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 GX460 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 GX460 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the M-Class uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The GX460 uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the M-Class and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 GX460 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

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There are over 58 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the M-Class’ warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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The camshafts in the M-Class’ engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The GX460’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the GX460’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Engine Comparison

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The ML550’s standard 4.7 turbo V8 produces 101 more horsepower (402 vs. 301) and 114 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 329) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8.

The M-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 329) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Consumer Reports the ML350 is faster than the Lexus GX460:

M-Class

GX460

Zero to 30 MPH

2.5 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

89.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the ML350 BlueTEC 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the GX460 (20 city/27 hwy vs. 15 city/20 hwy).

The M-Class 350 BlueTEC’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the GX460 (24.6 vs. 23 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The M-Class 350/550’s standard fuel tank has 4.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the GX460 (27.7 vs. 23 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the ML550’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GX460:

ML550

GX460

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.3 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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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 GX460’s standard 60 series tires. The M-Class’ optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the GX460’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M-Class has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the GX460. The M-Class offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes M-Class has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Lexus GX460 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M-Class’ wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the GX460 (114.8 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M-Class is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the GX460.

The ML350 4MATIC handles at .85 G’s, while the GX460 pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The ML350 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GX460 (27.8 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the M-Class Airmatic has a 3.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the GX460 (11.2 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the M-Class to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

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The Mercedes M-Class may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 550 pounds less than the Lexus GX460.

Unibody construction makes the M-Class’ chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The GX460 doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The M-Class has .9 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, 4.3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the GX460.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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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 GX460’s liftover is 33.8 inches.

The M-Class’ liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The GX460’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the M-Class has a standard power rear liftgate, which opens and closes completely automatically by pressing a button on the key fob. The GX460 doesn’t offer a power right swing out.

Ergonomics Comparison

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the GX460, 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 Keyless-Go the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote; on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the GX460 can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 GX460 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The M-Class’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The GX460’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Optional Mercedes-Benz Apps for the M-Class allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including searching the internet and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The GX460 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

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 GX460 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the M-Class owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the M-Class will cost $695 less than the GX460 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the M-Class is less expensive to operate than the GX460 because typical repairs cost much less on the M-Class than the GX460, including $263 less for a starter, $98 less for fuel injection, $126 less for a fuel pump and $102 less for a power steering pump.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mercedes M-Class will be $749 to $5251 less than for the Lexus GX460.

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