Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Mercedes Benz GL-Class VS 2016 BMW X5 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 Mercedes Benz GL-Class

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2016 BMW X5

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GL-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 X5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The GL-Class’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The X5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GL-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 X5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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

Both the GL-Class and the X5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, front parking sensors, available crash mitigating brakes, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GL-Class second among large premium suvs in their 2015 Initial Quality Study. The X5 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 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 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th.

Engine Comparison

The GL-Class has more powerful engines than the X5:



GL450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

GL550 4.7 turbo V8

429 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

GL63 AMG 5.5 turbo V8

550 HP

560 lbs.-ft.

X5 s/xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

X5 xDrive50i 4.4 turbo V8

445 HP

480 lbs.-ft.

The GL-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 413) than the X5’s 3.0 turbo diesel.

As tested in Motor Trend the GL63 AMG 5.5 turbo V8 is faster than the X5 s/xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.:



Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108.3 MPH

95.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The GL-Class has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the X5 (26.4 vs. 22.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the GL-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the X5:

GL350 BlueTEC/GL450



X5 xDrive50i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

15.4 inches

13.1 inches

15.2 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

The GL-Class stops much shorter than the X5:



60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the GL-Class has larger standard tires than the X5 (275/55R19 vs. 255/50R19). The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the X5 (295/40R21 vs. 275/40R20).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GL550/GL63 AMG has standard 21-inch wheels. The X5’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The GL-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 X5 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

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

The GL-Class’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The X5 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GL-Class’ wheelbase is 5.6 inches longer than on the X5 (121.1 inches vs. 115.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the GL-Class is .7 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the X5.

The GL63 AMG handles at .86 G’s, while the X5 xDrive35i xDrive pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the GL-Class’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the X5’s (40.7 feet vs. 41.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GL-Class has a 2.7 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the X5 (10.9 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GL-Class to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GL-Class’ minimum ground clearance is 3.8 inches higher than on the X5 (12 vs. 8.2 inches).

Passenger Space Comparison

The GL-Class has .7 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more rear headroom and 1.9 inches more rear legroom than the X5.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The GL-Class’ cargo area provides more volume than the X5.



Third Seat Folded

49.4 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


22.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

93.8 cubic feet

66 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the GL-Class’ optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The X5 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The GL-Class’ liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The X5’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the X5, the GL-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.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GL-Class has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The X5 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The GL-Class has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The X5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations Comparison

The Mercedes GL-Class won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The BMW X5 only won one award.

Motor Trend selected the GL-Class as their 2013 Sport Utility of the Year. The X5 has never been chosen.

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