Two models immediately spring to mind when most of us think about midsize luxury crossovers--the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE and the BMW X5.
Both have high quality German engineering and a brand name long associated with luxury. Let's see who comes out on top in a head-to-head comparison.
The GLE, previously called the M-Class, has a refreshed look to go along with its new name. Mercedes has succeeded in making this model more attractive than ever. In coupe form, it's an absolute stunner, but even the SUV version is a very good-looking luxury midsize crossover. BMW has held back on updating its styling over the last few years,so X5 is now starting to look a little frumpy, especially compared to the Mercedes GLE. The current model probably looks too close to the 1999 original, so the Mercedes easily wins in styling.
Interior Comfort & Styling
If other automakers want a blueprint for crossover luxury interiors, they need to get their hands on a 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE. There's plenty of space for five people and all their stuff. It's the style and the quality, however, that really set the cabin of the GLE apart from most of its rivals. You can get something more luxurious in another brand, but you'll have to pay a whole lot more to get it. You can get the BMW X5 as a seven-seater, but you will sacrifice interior space. The cabin is stylish, comfortable, and, yes, luxurious. However, it's not as opulent as the GLE. Also, the ride in the X5 is not as smooth as the GLE in many trims, so the Mercedes takes the honors.
Power & Performance
Mercedes and BMW like to offer buyers a lot of choice when it comes to engines, and these two models are no exception. The smallest engine in the GLE is a 3.5-liter V-6 with 302 horsepower, and at the other end of the spectrum is a 5.5-liter handcrafted twin-turbo boasting 577 horsepower. In between, there are four others to choose from. If we include AMG® versions of the GLE, we have to include the X5 M. The base engine in the X5 is a 3.0-liter six-cylinder producing 300 horsepower, while the X5 M has a 4.4-liter V-8 boasting 567 horsepower. There is also a turbodiesel for anyone who's interested. Both sport plenty of power but the GLE has just a little more muscle.
Features & Equipment
Standard equipment in the GLE 350 is comparable to top trim models from some luxury brands. Those features include: power adjustable heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a power sunroof, a power liftgate, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, and an infotainment system with an 8.0-inch display. In the base model of the X5, however, even more goodies come standard including a satellite navigation system with traffic information. Even though you have to pay more for it, the fact that these features come standard gives this category to the BMW.
For some buyers, a choice between these two will simply come down to which badge or brand they prefer. If we look at them objectively, though, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE is a much more attractive vehicle than the BMW X5. The GLE is more luxurious, with more powerful engines, and the Mercedes even costs less. In short, the GLE is the better buy.