The GLE has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Q5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The GLE’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Q5 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The GLE’s 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 Q5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the GLE and the Q5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
The Mercedes GLE weighs 607 to 1421 pounds more than the Audi Q5. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLE its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q5 has not been tested, yet.
There are over 29 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.
The GLE350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (302 vs. 252) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The GLE400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 77 more horsepower (329 vs. 252) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG GLE43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 110 more horsepower (362 vs. 252) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The GLE550e’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid produces 184 more horsepower (436 vs. 252) and 206 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 273) than the Q5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the GLE550e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Q5 SMG (39 city/50 hwy vs. 23 city/27 hwy).
The GLE550e can drive on battery power alone for up to 18.6 miles. The Q5 must run its internal combustion engine to move.
Regenerative brakes improve the GLE Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Q5 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLE’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Q5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The GLE Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q5 (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE’s standard fuel tank has 6.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Q5 (24.6 vs. 18.5 gallons).
For better stopping power the GLE550e/GLE400/GLE43’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Q5:
For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the Q5 (255/50R19 vs. 235/60R18). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Q5 (265/45R20 vs. 255/45R20).
The GLE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q5’s standard 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Q5.
The GLE 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 Q5 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.
The GLE has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Q5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
The GLE’s 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 Q5 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Q5 (114.8 inches vs. 111 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Q5.
For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Q5 (10 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.
The GLE has .8 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Q5.
The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Q5 with its rear seat up (38.2 vs. 26.8 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Q5 with its rear seat folded (80.3 vs. 60.4 cubic feet).
The GLE has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Q5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Q5, the GLE offers an optional 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.
Heated windshield washer fluid is optional on the GLE to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Q5 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the GLE detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Q5 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLE offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Q5 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GLE also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GLE has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Q5 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the GLE offers an optional Distronic Plus, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Q5 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
The GLE offers an optional 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 Q5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The GLE’s optional Parking Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Q5 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Insurance will cost less for the GLE owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the GLE with a number “3” insurance rate while the Q5 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the Q5 because typical repairs cost less on the GLE than the Q5, including $128 less for a fuel pump and $190 less for a timing belt/chain.