Mercedes-Benz GLS580 vs. BMW X7: Picking the Best German Three-Row Luxury SUV

In the event you learn our larger comparison story pitting the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 4Matic in opposition to the 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i, the 2020 Lincoln Navigator 4×Four Black Label, and the 2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV 4WD Premium Luxurious, you already understand how this one shakes out. However inside MotorTrend’s larger-field comparos, there are all the time head-to-head matchups that demand deeper examination—and the 2020 Mercedes Benz GLS580 4Matic versus the 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i is a pure throwdown.

Neither the Mercedes-Benz—inbuilt Vance, Alabama—nor the BMW—hailing from Spartanburg, South Carolina—is new to the SUV recreation, however the latter is a brand new combatant in the luxury full-size SUV battle.

BMW launched the X7 as an all-new model in late 2019 for the 2020 mannequin 12 months, making it the 7 Series of SUVs when it comes to the corporate’s product array. For this overview, we employed our long-term 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i. Within the case of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class, the full-size three-rower is now in its third generation, which started with the 2020 mannequin 12 months. Sticking to the identical analogy, take into account our GLS580 4Matic check automotive the S-Class of Mercedes SUVs.

In the event you’ve famous one factor up to now, it’s possible the very fact Mercedes has fairly a leg up on BMW in terms of its expertise promoting SUVs of this dimension—going again to the predecessor of the GLS-Class, the 2007 GL-Class. That’s an enormous on-paper benefit when it comes to growing and refining a specific car idea, however the gulf between the big-boy GLS-Class and X7 doesn’t put them an ocean aside in the actual world.

An essential word about costs and powertrains, and the 2 automobiles we didn’t have current for this check: BMW makes an X7 M50i powered by a 523-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, with a beginning value of $100,795. Mercedes-Benz provides a GLS450 with a mild-hybrid I-6 engine making 362 hp, and a base value of $76,195. These various trims symbolize a greater apples-to-apples cash and engine comparability to the fashions we examined, because the GLS580 begins at $99,795, and the X7 xDrive40i at $74,895. Nonetheless, value and horsepower didn’t contribute considerably to the result of this comparability check.



2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 vs. 2020 BMW X7: Inside

Neither certainly one of these luxurious three-row SUVs’ interiors prompted our testers to cease of their tracks. (The Lincoln Navigator that received our total contest was the one entrant to encourage something approaching that response.) Between the BMW and Mercedes, although, we have been unanimous in our opinions: The X7 wins this spherical.

The BMW’s inside is quieter whereas driving than the Benz’s is, and its quilted brown leather-based (full with an attention-grabbing waveform sample on the seats’ higher parts and spines) was notably engaging. In the meantime, our check automotive’s mixture of walnut, satin metallic, and black inside trim seemed nice. Frankly, BMW’s total match, end, and supplies selection make the 2020 X7 xDrive40i really feel like a considerably costlier automotive than the Mercedes—despite the fact that its as-tested value of $96,895 undercuts the Benz’s by $11,240. That’s an enormous win proper there.

A few of our drivers discovered the 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i’s seats, even when adjusted as a lot to their liking as potential, notably flat. Options editor Scott Evans mentioned the seats do “little or no to attempt to maintain me in them, besides poke me within the thighs.”

Whereas the X7’s inside is crammed with good supplies, the general design is nothing recent from BMW, and the wooden’s gloss end displayed a stunning quantity of orange peel, making the wooden itself seem faux. In the meantime, the entire management buttons surrounding the shifter look and feel the identical, so it’s just about not possible to make use of any of them whereas driving with out staring down on the middle console as an alternative of the street. And as options editor Christian Seabaugh famous, “With iDrive and MBUX, Mercedes and BMW look like they’re in a race to the underside to see who can take advantage of irritating infotainment system. They’re each profitable (dropping?).”

Shifting rearward within the cabin, the second-row bench seat’s power-operated backside slides fore and aft. We have been joyful to see BMW maintained the front-passenger house’s supplies high quality and trim via the second-row space; the second row even options the identical stitching sample as discovered on the backbone of the entrance seats, and the bench seating was comfy and supportive.

Third-row entry, nevertheless, is sluggish by way of energy actuation. So sluggish, the truth is, the seats could as nicely be manually managed; we’d commerce the pace of doing it ourselves for the “comfort” of pushing a button. The third row itself is tighter than the Benz’s, and we deem it match to be used solely by kids on something however brief journeys. Conversely, whereas getting within the third row takes eternally—and, not like the Mercedes, the X7’s is slender and restricted to 2 seats—it is usually simply the nicer of the 2, with wooden trim carried all the best way again. You even get your personal local weather controls and studying lights.

Different notable factors: Affiliate editor Eleonor Segura known as the X7 “by far probably the most comfy” and praised “the attractive crystal” shift lever. We additionally loved the entrance seats’ eight completely different therapeutic massage choices that handle you from rump to shoulders.

Just like the X7, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580’s inside is definitely good, nevertheless it doesn’t break new floor. It’s successfully the identical previous inside design Mercedes has, for higher or worse, used for the previous few years. In comparison with the producer’s newest merchandise—comparable to the brand new, precise S-Class sedan—it comes off as dated.

Certainly, the leather-based, wooden, and metallic trim items inside the GLS580 are all the real articles, however they now not really feel significantly particular—particularly not in a car with a beginning value of $99,795. There are cheaper SUVs with options comparable to an Alcantara headliner, as one instance, which you don’t get right here. As Seabaugh noticed, “This seems like a base mannequin, and for $115Okay, you shouldn’t be reminded in regards to the choices you didn’t purchase.”

We proceed to seek out the MBUX infotainment interface finicky and at instances irritating to make use of, however you may mitigate a few of that after you spend a good period of time with the system to construct your fluency with it.

From a perceived-luxury standpoint, the GLS580 delivered extra tire, wind, and engine noise than the BMW did. In contrast to the X7, nevertheless, the second row options power-operated particular person captain’s seats with properly shaped shells. You may favor this setup, as a few of us did, however a few of our testers additionally leaned towards the X7’s bench seat, because it felt at instances like we have been sitting in a bucket. Blame completely different physique varieties for that one; your mileage could range. Evans was irritated to find the second row’s USB ports and energy outlet hidden in a pop-out cubby beneath the second-row local weather controls, making them harder to achieve than he wished.

General, the seats within the GLS-Class are firmer than the X7’s, however they’re comfy and straightforward to regulate—apart from the front-seat bolsters. To fine-tune these, it’s essential pull up the seat menu on the infotainment display screen and make changes accordingly. Talking of which, one unbelievable characteristic is Mercedes-Benz’s Energizing Consolation operate, which mixes sound, graphics, ambient lighting, and therapeutic massage settings to ship a calming expertise.

Shifting to the third row, the seating place is relatively upright, however the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 boasts extra third-row headroom, legroom, and shoulder room than BMW’s X7, principally by an inch or two. In actuality, leaping from one to the opposite doesn’t really feel vastly completely different and ends in the identical conclusions: Adults is not going to wish to experience within the way-back for lengthy journeys. Accessing the third row may also be annoying: The second-row seat drops ahead by way of energy, however solely on the SUV’s passenger facet, and it’s once more a painfully sluggish course of.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 vs. 2020 BMW X7: The Drive

Throughout a comparability like this, we all the time take into accout the very fact these will not be efficiency SUVs. However for patrons who benefit from the driving expertise as a lot or greater than they get pleasure from hauling individuals and cargo round city, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 is the straightforward selection.

The GLS feels and drives way more like a passenger automotive than the X7 does, with a agency, responsive setup from its air-spring suspension. The BMW additionally options air springs, however Mercedes has tuned its model additional towards the sporty facet of the equation.

Steering response is comparatively fast, and the GLS580 will really present some enjoyable on a twisting nation street. This attribute may be irrelevant for a car on this section, however the chassis is impressively buttoned down. It permits you to push it via curves with giggles whereas offering you an excellent sense of the forces constructing via the tires and steering.

The trade-off is somewhat passenger head toss and, at instances, a much less coddling experience than consumers may at first count on. However we’re speaking in relative phrases right here: Even with the drive-mode change set to Sport, the GLS is much from overly stiff. Some drivers might be joyful to go away it within the extra aggressive setting on well-maintained roads. The Benz’s total suspension damping is superb throughout a variety of driving circumstances and simply trumped its challenger.

The 2020 BMW X7 xDrive40i prompted all of our check drivers to complain about its experience. Whereas the GLS settled down over all method of bumps and suspension impacts, the X7’s physique felt prefer it was transferring consistently. It’s not an enormous deal whenever you’re driving within the entrance seats, nevertheless it’s straightforward to think about rear passengers having a worse expertise. The general experience is busy and underdamped, with a good quantity of physique roll, as well.

As Evans mentioned, “The physique management is simply disappointing, particularly for a BMW. The steering could be very sharp instantly off-center, and each time you flip the wheel it pitches the automotive over on the entrance exterior wheel. The physique is all the time transferring round—facet to facet, diagonally, back and front, and it’s by no means settled for lengthy. The one upshot right here is, the ultimate experience high quality is fairly good on account of the very smooth suspension, however no higher than the Mercedes. Put it in Sport mode to repair the physique management, and also you lose the experience high quality.”

As for powertrains, this contest wasn’t a good battle if uncooked acceleration is your bag. The GLS580 comes with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8—plus an electrical motor—producing 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a nine-speed automated, and the mixture is nice for a 0–60-mph run of 4.7 seconds and 1 / 4 mile time of 13.2 seconds at 105.9 mph.

The X7 xDrive40i options an eight-speed auto and BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, which makes 335 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. It ran from 0–60 mph in 5.6 seconds and coated the quarter mile in 14.2 seconds at 96.Eight mph.

That mentioned, as {smooth} because the three-pointed star’s mild-hybrid “EQ” powertrains are, we discovered the transmission of the GLS was vulnerable to the occasional jerky downshift, particularly after we caught the engine about to close right down to its fuel-saving “sail” mode. This normally occurred when passing slower site visitors and was accompanied by a second of hesitation when doing so. The likewise fuel-saving cease/begin system is normally very {smooth}, however greater than as soon as we additionally caught it abruptly after we launched the brake pedal proper because it was about to kill the engine. It gave an enormous, unbecoming clunk in these situations because it reengaged.

As for the X7, we favored the smooth-revving I-6. However whereas it’s simply highly effective sufficient for metropolis driving, it begins to expire of bang north of 70 mph on the freeway—and that’s with only one individual aboard. You’ll positively really feel it sweat with a full load of passengers and kit. Nonetheless, its transmission is ultrasmooth and customarily unnoticeable, and we by no means caught it asleep on the job. It performs and feels precisely as a gearbox ought to in a luxurious car.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 vs. 2020 BMW X7: The Winner Is

The Mercedes-Benz GLS580 is our choose over the BMW X7 xDrive40i primarily for its superior driving dynamics, and particularly for its experience high quality. Regardless of Mercedes offering a extra highly effective mannequin for this check, the related acceleration numbers didn’t issue a lot into our evaluation.

Whereas some may favor the BMW’s inside to the Benz’s, the general expertise and performance isn’t practically superior sufficient to swing the vote within the X7’s favor. We can also’t overlook the marginally bigger third-row lodging of the GLS or its 17.Four cubic toes of rear cargo capability with the third row in use (evaluate that with the BMW’s 10.Three cubic toes).

It’s essential to notice, nevertheless, the BMW wins the fuel-economy battle, boasting EPA scores of 20/25 mpg metropolis/freeway in comparison with the 16/21 figures of the Mercedes. However in case you’re flat-out seeking to drive the general finest three-row luxurious SUV out there now from a German automaker, then the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 is our primary draft choose.

2020 BMW X7 xDrive40 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS580 4Matic
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Entrance-engine, AWD Entrance-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-6, alum block/head Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads, plus electrical motor
VALVETRAIN DOHC, Four valves/cyl DOHC, Four valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 182.6 cu in/2,998 cc 243.Zero cu in/3,982 cc
POWER (SAE NET) 335 hp @ 5,500 rpm 483 hp @ 5,500 rpm (fuel), 21 hp (elec); 483 hp (comb)
TORQUE (SAE NET) 330 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 516 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm (fuel), 184 lb-ft (elec); 516 lb-ft (comb)
REDLINE 7,000 rpm 6,250 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 16.5 lb/hp 11.7 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automated 9-speed automated
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 3.64:half of.33:1/ — 3.27:1/1.96:1/ —
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Management arms, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Management arms, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks,
anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 18.7:1 18.7:1
BRAKES, F; R 15.6-in vented disc; 14.6-in vented disc, ABS 14.8-in vented, drilled disc; 13.6-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS, F;R 9.5 x 22-in; 10.5 x 22-in, forged aluminum 9.5 x 23-in; 11.5 x 23-in, solid aluminum
TIRES, F;R 275/40R22 107Y; 315/35R22 111Y Pirelli P Zero (star) 285/40R23 107Y; 325/35R23 111Y Pirelli P Zero M0
WHEELBASE 122.2 in 123.Four in
TRACK, F/R 66.3/67.1 in 65.7/66.6 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 203.Three x 78.7 x 71.1 in 205.Zero x 77.Zero x 71.Eight in
GROUND CLEARANCE 8.7 in 7.9-8.5 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 23.1/20.5 deg NA-27.0/NA-24.Zero deg
TURNING CIRCLE, CURB-TO-CURB 42.Eight ft 39.Four ft (wall-to-wall)
CURB WEIGHT 5,530 lb 5,662 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 47/53% 53/47%
TOWING CAPACITY 7,500 lb 7,700 lb
HEADROOM, F/M/R 41.9/39.9/36.6 in 39.4/40.2/38.9 in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 39.8/37.6/33.Three in 40.3/41.9/34.6 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 60.0/58.1/47.9 in 59.3/58.5/50.Three in
CARGO VOLUME, BEH F/M/R 90.4/48.6/10.3 (est) cu ft 84.7/42.7/17.Four cu ft
0-30 1.9 sec 1.Eight sec
0-40 2.8 2.6
0-50 4.1 3.5
0-60 5.6 4.7
0-70 7.3 6.0
0-80 9.5 7.5
0-90 12.2 9.4
0-100 15.3 11.8
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.0 2.3
QUARTER MILE 14.2 sec @ 96.Eight mph 13.2 sec @ 105.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH 110 ft 116 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.86 g (avg) 0.83 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.Three sec @ 0.67 g (avg) 27.2 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,500 rpm 1,400 rpm
BASE PRICE $74,895 $99,795
PRICE AS TESTED $96,895 $108,135
AIRBAGS 10: Twin entrance, f/m facet, f/m/r curtain, entrance knee 9: Twin entrance, f/m facet, f/m/r curtain, driver knee
BASIC WARRANTY Four yrs/50,000 miles Four yrs/50,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY Four yrs/50,000 miles Four yrs/50,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE Four yrs/Limitless miles Four yrs/50,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 21.9 gal 23.Eight gal
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 20/25/22 mpg 16/21/18 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 169/135 kWh/100 miles 211/160 kWh/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.88 lb/mile 1.08 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium Unleaded premium
*Horsepower and torque values utilizing 93-octane gasoline

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