There are plenty of luxurious three-row SUVs on the market but the BMW X7 only has one true competitor — the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. Mercedes-Benz was first to this fight by over a decade, with what was then called the GL-Class. Now that both German Giants have their own three-row luxury SUVs, it’s time to see which one looks best.

As much as I’d like to think customers buy cars based on driving dynamics, road feel, ride quality, and build quality, they don’t. They buy cars based on style, image, and interior technology. So this comparison likely matters more than comparing how they feel on the road, sadly. Now that the X7 has been launched, it’s time to see how their styles compare.

It’s clear BMW’s design team took a boxier, sharper, and more aggressive approach than Mercedes’. The split headlights, with their sharp LEDs, the square-ish kidney grilles, and the more upright front end all make it seem like the more aggressive car of the two. While the Mercedes-Benz is a bit softer-edged, a bit rounder, and less upright. I think this new X7 LCI looks significantly better than its pre-LCI sibling but if I had to choose between it and the GLS-Class, I still think I’d take the Benz. It just looks a bit more cohesive and I like the grille better.

In profile, both cars are really similar. They’re both big, tall, two-box, three-row SUVs with slab sides and tank-like proportions. Again, personally I think the GLS is the better looking car, as the roofline looks a bit sleeker and sportier, but I get why some might prefer the X7’s more upright looking glass, for better outward visibility.

Out back, the BMW X7 LCI is the nicer looking car. Most modern Mercedes-Benz rear ends look like their taillights are melting and that’s true for the GLS. I do like how the Mercedes’ haunches are a bit more accentuated but the X7 LCI’s taillights and real exhaust pipes give it a nicer looking butt.


Inside, I’m taking the X7 LCI as well. Both cars are lovely inside but the X7 LCI just looks a bit more premium, with its floating iDrive screen, expansive wood dash, wood center console trim, and the more heavily sculpted doors. Also, the X7 comes with better practicality for second and third row passengers, with a third row sunroof, USB-C ports throughout, and more clever power seat adjustments. I’ve spent time in both and the X7’s more practical for sure.

This comparison ends up being a wash, as both cars win two categories and both cars are excellent three-row luxury SUVs. I like most of the Mercedes exterior more but the BMW interior better. If I could combine them, that’d be perfect. Alas, I can’t, so I’m gonna take the Bimmer, only because I can’t see the outside while I drive. The BMW X7 LCI’s cabin is better and that’s where customers will spend the majority of their time with it.