A few decades ago, if a Car and Driver magazine issue featured a BMW-v-Mercedes battle on the cover, it was between the 3 Series and the C-Class (or the 190E, depending on the decade). German car fans would rush to grab it, as those were always the most important tests for the two brands. While those cars still battle it out today, they’re no longer the most important to their respective brands. Instead, it’s cars like these — the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class — that matter most.
In this recent comparison test from Car and Driver, the new BMW X5 takes on the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class. In today’s modern world of SUVs and crossover, these two cars are hugely important for their brands. So which of the two family haulers is best?
This test pits the BMW X5 xDrive40i against the Mercedes-Benz GLE450 4Matic. So both get single-turbo 3.0 liter inline-six engines, automatic transmissions and all-wheel drive. Though, the Benz is better on paper. Its all-new I6 engine is more high-tech, with its beltless design and 48-volt electric system and mild-hybrid motor. It also makes more power, packing 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. While the Bimmer’s engine is more traditional and makes less power, to the tune of 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
As with most BMW’s though, numbers don’t tell the whole story. So the BMW X5 gets to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, half a second quicker than the Benz. It’s also the more sure-footed and better handling car, despite the Bimmer having much skinnier tires than the Benz (both were wearing all-seasons). Not only is the X5 said to be the sharper handling car of the two by quite a bit, it’s also more comfortable. Car and Driver claimed that it rode harsh imperfections better than the Benz, while both cars had air suspension equipped for their test.
The Benz does fight back, though. Its exterior styling is a bit more interesting and C&D felt it was the more handsome car of the two. The Benz also has a bit flashier of an interior. Though, C&D felt the BMW X5 had better technology and better ergonomics. Also, the Benz was said to have a better back seat.
In the end, C&D gave the win to the BMW X5, as it was deemed the better car to drive, the more comfortable car and the easier one to live with. The Mercedes-Benz GLE is still an excellent car but the X5 is just that little bit better.