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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS vs BMW X1

You may have decided you want to buy a luxury crossover, but where do you go from there? If you are wowed by the brands with some serious reputations, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS and the BMW X1 will be at the top of your list. They serve different needs, but let's put them head-to-head to see which brand proves that they know luxury SUVs best.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS on the beach by the ocean


Style isn't about substance--it's about image. Which of these models would you want to be seen in? The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS is definitely more wagon-like than a traditional upright SUV, but it has a commanding presence and smart lines that exude quality and prestige. The BMW X1 is an attractive crossover, but you do need to love the distinctive look of a BMW to be wooed. Rounder than previous BMW incarnation, but with a luxury feel, the X1 will fall in the "love it or hate it" camp. Because the Mercedes-Benz has a less polarizing style and wider appeal, we'll give the nod to the GLS.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS at sunset


The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS offers buyers the option of three gas engines and a new diesel unit. The diesel 350 d is the slowest with 0 to 60 mph coming up in 7.7 seconds, while the fastest is the GLS 550 with its 4.7-liter V-8 bi-turbo getting you there in an impressive 5.2 seconds. One advantage of the smaller size of the BMW X1 is its ability to be more nimble around the city and easier to park. However, the only engine available is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that gets the X1 to 60 mph from a standing start in a reasonable 6.3 seconds. It's not bad, but it's no match for the GLS.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS by the ocean

Comfort & Luxury

How plush and equipped are these interiors? The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS does have all the very latest technology and features you could wish for, but it's also all packaged in a refined and opulent presentation. The dash and door materials look and feel high-quality, with nice touches like stitched-leather dash and wood trims. The 2017 BMW X1 probably has one of the nicest cabins in the luxury crossover segment, but it's still a little more functional and austere than the GLS. The overall quality throughout the interior is excellent and the design delivers in both form and function. Front and rear seats are spacious and supportive, and there's good outward visibility for the driver. Still, the Mercedes-Benz beats out the BMW in comfort and luxury.

2017 BMW X1 in a garage

Features & Equipment

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS is bristling with connectivity and features such as a new 8.0-inch screen and digital instrument cluster readout that's much sharper than before and easily navigated. Standard features include a multi-function leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats and a whole host of advanced safety features. Standard features in the current BMW X1 include: push-button start, automatic climate control, Bluetooth®, HD Radio, a seven-speaker audio system, a USB port, and BMW's excellent iDrive infotainment system with a 6.5-inch screen. The truth is that you can probably have anything you want on either model, but the smaller BMW has a very slight edge because of its smaller pricetag, so we'll give it the advantage in this area.

Inventory Contact To be fair, the BMW X1 is one of the very best vehicles of its smaller size and class, but the Mercedes-Benz GLS has more advantages over the BMW than just size. Head to head, the GLS outclasses the BMW in nearly every area. When your nameplate means you compete at every level, you've got to deliver--and the Mercedes-Benz is the model that says game on in this competition.

Learn More About the Mercedes-Benz Lineup:

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

2016 Mercedes-Benz GL

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class