Audi Q8 Vs. BMW X6 Vs. Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe: What’s Your Pick?

While coupe-crossover designs remain controversial within the automotive community, the numbers don’t lie. Coupe SUVs have proven to be immensely popular around the world, and now, there’s a brand new one straight outta Ingolstadt.

It’s the Audi Q8, a car whose looks could by no means take us by surprise, seen as how it’s nearly identical to the Q8 Sport Concept, itself a variation of the Q8 Concept unveiled in January of 2017 in Detroit.

Sure enough, just because we knew what the final product would look like, doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate its appearance. Although we’re sure that a case could be made in favor of either the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe or the BMW X6 as being better looking than the Q8.

In fact, let’s go ahead and do just that, starting with the Bimmer.

The X6 kicked off this whole luxury Coupe SUV trend back in 2008, which just goes to show how long Audi have waited until coming up with a direct reply. Now in its second generation, the X6 (F16) has a more dynamic appearance compared to its predecessor thanks to its muscular profile, large haunches and less rounded edges.

It certainly looks aggressive, like it’s ready to pounce. On the other hand, we’re pretty sure we’ve never heard anybody call it “beautiful” or “gorgeous” or any other similar superlative.

While Mercedes followed a very similar recipe with the GLE Coupe (C292), if you look at all the glass surfaces, you’ll notice that they follow the sloping roofline all the way down to the shoulder line, giving the Merc a sleeker appearance than you get with the X6 and its overly exposed C-pillar.

The Audi Q8 is playing a different game

You know what? You can make a case for the Q8 as more of a high-riding wagon, rather than a Coupe SUV. Or you could just say it’s a crossover and call it a day. It’s form factor is a lot more conventional than that of its two German rivals, from the B-pillar rearwards.

Sure, the roof does slope down a bit, but then again, so does the roof of the all-new VW Touareg, which is just as tall as the Q8. Interesting, isn’t it?

But, the Q8 is what Audi is going with in their battle against the X6 and the GLE Coupe, so it’s not like we have a choice here – the three nameplates will now forever be tied together.

Other notable styling features of the Q8 include the octagonal singleframe grille, aggressive spoiler, contoured air inlets, the quattro blisters above the wheel arches and the light strip at the rear with the Audi quattro-like black insert.

Overall, it’s sporty, somewhat aggressive and modern, sure. Is it in any way elegant/beautiful though? Hopefully you guys can chime in on that.

It’s an inside job

If you’re a gadget hound, then the new Audi Q8’s dashboard has probably already stolen your heart. It mirrors what the Ingolstadt-based automaker has been doing with its latest models, boasting three massive displays. Two of them are for the MMI infotainment system, with a 10.1-inch screen on top, and an 8.6-inch one right underneath. And then there’s the virtual cockpit display, which measures a massive 12.3-inches.

By comparison, the cockpit design of the GLE Coupe is downright antiquated. In fact, it’s no wonder Mercedes chose the movie Jurassic World for the GLE Coupe’s first big screen appearance – it’s a dinosaur compared to the Q8 when it comes to on-board tech.

Playful banter aside, the GLE Coupe’s cabin is nothing more than an updated version of the third-gen 2011 Mercedes ML-Class’ cockpit. It’s very well put together and all, but if this was a poker game, both the Q8 as well as the BMW X6 would have better hands.

Latest and greatest?

Since the Audi Q8 is the newest car here, logic dictates that it’s also the most advanced. It’s hard to argue against that. But if your goal is to simply drive the best-looking Coupe SUV, would that still be the Audi? Discuss.

  • caddy45

    The Q8 definitely has the best profile and back-end, but the front-end is a bit messy. I’m sure it would look a good bit better in a darker color though.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      Agreed.
      Can’t believe the Mercedes’ interior is so dated and bland. The X6 is kinda dated now, but with the G05 leaked, I think the X6 version will look better than the Q8.

      • caddy45

        I was thinking the same thing, I really like the new X5’s interior. It finally looks like a modern version of the same BMW interior we’ve been seeing. That being said, I like the Q8’s interior a lot more anyway.

      • BGM

        Ditto on the MB’s interior. That was old and ugly when it was being designed, never should have made it onto a car. Tiny screen with huge bezel, 1-9 number key pad (for what?!) and the ever present column shifter. The exterior is nice and clean, I just wish they’d so something about that gigantic star on the grill.

        • driv3r

          As stated in the article: The GLE Coupé is based on the ML from 2011. As the new GLE SUV arrives this year it shouldn’t take too long until the new GLE Coupé arrives.
          The X6 is from 2014 and the Q8 simply brand new.

          • Adi

            Yeah the GLE is basically 7 years old and simply can’t compare with the Q8 but once the new GLE will be revealed it will crush both Q8 and X6

          • Geralt

            dont think so when X6 is the king of suv coupé. The merc is very ugly and its not fare to compare a new Q8 with X6 from 2014, compare with the new one and it will smoke Audi out of the biusness

  • Gary

    Whereas the BMW and MB do look like brute coupes, the Audi looks like just another CUV or oversized station wagon with raised ride height. It does not resemble a coupe at all.

  • Merc1

    The Audi smokes them! The interior in the Q8 makes the GLE interior look 10 years old. The BMW looks terrible exterior wise. BMW and MB will respond. We pretty much know what the next X6 looks like based on the new X5 that came out today.

    M

  • Touareg wins…

  • TrevP

    I love the way the Mercedes looks, but it does need some updating, which is on its way cause we have seen test mules of the new GLE. X6 will be updated soon so we just have to be patient. The Q8 is obviously ahead of the game right now cause its brand new. It does look really good doing it tho

  • lagunas3ca

    X6. Might be closer once GLE Coupe gets high-res dual displays.

  • pjl35

    A year from now, this will be a totally different contest seeing as the GLE Coupe and the X6 are going to be replaced soon.

  • Jason Panamera

    Only Audi doesn’t look like coupe-SUV.

  • D3X

    Don’t understand these SUV Coupes, should get a wagon/estate instead!

    • I agree. I don’t even know how they can call the Q8 a coupe. It’s a huge, jacked-up hatchback. Or more likely, a conventional SUV, with a slightly unusual tailgate.

  • TheBelltower

    The Q8 is definitely the looker of this bunch.

  • Tan Lee

    Audi always find a way of making theirs cars look more futuristic and concept car like compared to the competition. I’m sure they spend more money to build the car and sacrifice profits in order to WIN against the competition.

    BMW are the innovators however AUDI just copy.

    • ivan

      I’m pretty sure Audi is spending less money, since this platform is shared with other VAG cars. And I can really see how Audi copied BMW. (not an Audi fan)

      • Daniela Wolf

        And Audi has by far less debts in comparison to BMW.
        140 billion € … geez…

    • Daniela Wolf

      interesting …. higher margin ……

      “BMW are the innovators” ?

      BMW doesn’t even offer autonomous driving level 2 while Audi offers level 3 and meanwhile they research level 4!

      This game is not ruled by Tesla anymore,
      it’s ruled by Audi.

  • ErnieB

    Q8 is from the future.. the other two are ugly rotten eggs with Salmonella..

  • The Merc has the best front-end, but overall, the Audi is the most handsome.

  • Autoexperte

    Lexus RX?

  • rodriguez256

    Audi for sure, I don’t like the other two at all.

  • Nordschleife

    The Q8 for me but if it just between the GLE COUPÈ and the X6 it would be the GLE.

  • Bleach.

  • Autoexperte
  • d’Aforde

    The BMW X6 is the best looking coupe-SUV thingamajig. However, the Audi Q8 looks amazing because it is not a copy of the X6. It looks like the Audi Quattro, and it has its own unique Audiness that makes it bad-ass.

  • Eduardo Palandi

    the Q8 is the only acceptable one

  • Ary Wisesa

    I would pick the X6. It’s the only one that has proper “coupe” styling, IMO. From 3/4 front view, the GLE’s rear end somehow looks like sedan trunk. The Q8 is not “coupe” at all. But I have to admit that the interior of Q8 is the best looking here.

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