The BMW X5 LCI came just in time, as its main rival—the Mercedes GLE-Class—received its own facelifted last week. These two SUVs are among the most popular in their segment and, since the two brands have been rivals for about a century, they’re the two closest competitors. Now that they’ve both been given facelifts, before their eventual replacements, let’s take a look at how their new looks compare.

Of course, we haven’t driven either the new X5 or GLE, so we can’t comment on how the new cars drive, even if they’re likely near identical to their predecessors. So we’re just going to stick to comparing their looks and interior.

Up Front

Both SUVs were handsome before their facelifts and both are still handsome after. Typically, I like Mercedes’ front end designs over BMW’s modern ones, as the latter are often too obnoxious and overly styled. However, the new X5 isn’t either of those. Instead, it’s handsome, sophisticated, and understated. Just like the Mercedes GLE, whose face is even more understated, despite its large grille. However, if I have to pick one, I’m gonna take the X5, for its sharper headlights and sportier look.

In Profile

As handsome as the GLE-Class has always been, it’s never looked great in profile. On the other hand, the BMW X5 has always had a great looking silhouette. It’s muscular, well-proportioned, and premium looking. It also looks more like a proper SUV, rather than the GLE-Class which is a bit soft from the side. The new X5’s wheels are a bit much but there will be better options for customers. Overall, though, the X5 is the better looking car from the side.

Out Back

Where most Mercedes designs struggle is out back. While the designers in Stuttgart nail front ends like few other brands, their rear ends are typically a bit droopy, as if they’re melting. The GLE is no different, even after its facelift, so the BMW X5’s more structured taillights and back end look better. Even more so now that the X5’s taillights are more three-dimensional and interesting looking. So it wins here, too.


In most cases, Mercedes interiors are nicer looking than BMW interiors. However, the X5’s cabin is great looking and features simple looking, but high-end, technology. The design is more driver-focused and it seems a bit easier on the eyes. The Mercedes is nice looking inside too, and if spec’d better than it is in these photos, it could probably be every bit as good looking, but judging from what we can see right now, the BMW X5 looks better inside.


I don’t think I’ve ever written a BMW-vs-Mercedes photo comparison and had the BMW give the Mercedes a clean sweep but that’s what happened here. The BMW X5 is just better looking, inside and out, than the Mercedes. Now, its tech might leave some to be desired but, in terms of pure design, I think the Bimmer takes it.