Mercedes GLE Vs BMW X5: A Tale Of Two Brand-New German Premium SUVs

Even though there’s no shortage of contenders in the full-size premium SUV segment, two nameplates stand out above all others, as they’ve been at it for a very long time.

Nowadays you can’t mention the Mercedes GLE or BMW X5 without also thinking about the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90 or even the VW Touareg. Heck, you can throw the Range Rover Sport in there, too, as well as the Lexus RX.

We could go on about current Coupe variants, too, or perhaps other upcoming models, but the point here is simple: Mercedes and BMW were the first European automakers to make a move in this segment, and they have launched their all-new models a few months apart this year.

Finally, a fair fight

If you think about it, the two models were rarely on perfectly equal ground when it came to technology. The original ML was unveiled years before the X5, and aside from the second-generation models, BMW has mostly launched their product way after Mercedes, which gave the X5 a slight advantage.

When the ML was renamed the GLE, for which was basically a facelift for the old W166 ML, BMW already had a brand new X5 on the market, but only because they kept the second-gen X5 around until 2013.

Now, the two nameplates are all-new, 2019MY cars, which means that you’re very unlikely to be put off by either of them as far as available on-board tech, performance and driving dynamics are concerned.

But what about looks? Surely even people looking for a generous family SUV care about aesthetics, so in the end, in which direction does one lean? Towards the modern and aggressive-looking 2019 X5, or perhaps the sleek and “sensual” 2019 GLE? These are two distinctive design philosophies going head to head.

Top notch luxury and tech

Both models should be at the top of their game when it comes to interior quality and on-board tech. While their dashboard design differs greatly, they’re both jam-packed with top-notch safety and convenience features, the likes of which previous-generations could barely dream of.

Starting with the instrument clusters and infotainment displays, the X5 has also gone all-digital, rocking a gorgeous 12.3-inch screen on top of the center console, angled towards the driver. While the GLE’s screen is equal in size, the Mercedes has two of them positioned in such a way that you’d think it’s all one big display. So while you could still argue about graphics and UI, the general consensus is that Mercedes is currently dominating the dashboard display game.

Otherwise, they both have ambient lighting, beautiful leather and other top quality materials, premium sound systems, third-row seats and an assortment of driver assistance technologies that are pretty comparable.

And the winner is…

Honestly, we can’t really choose one – that’s how close they are. In the end, it all comes down to personal prefferences. Some buyers will likely prefer the overall sportier nature of the X5 with its more dynamic styling (just look at the size of that double kidney grille!) and driver-oriented dashboard, while others will appreciate the new GLE’s more elegant, flowing exterior lines and opulent interior.

So, what say you? If you were in the market for a luxury SUV, which of these two would you pick? Sound off in the comments right below.

  • Ronald Roman

    All those comparisons, for cars, cellphones, sneakers, what have you, end up in a tie. As of not to upset any sponsors whatsoever.

    • Dennis James

      Well, only very few from the industry afford the luxury of openly stating their opinion 🙂

  • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    After careful considerations, I’d choose the BMW X5 with its sportier and, to me, the exterior just looks better and more edgier than the Mercedes-Benz, but I like the GLE’s interior a lot better than the X5; however, the Bimmer in my eyes is the winner. Now let’s talk about performance and price …

    • Dennis James

      For me, the X5 rear cancels the rest of the pluses.

      • Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        To me, the rear-end of the Mercedes-Benz GLE cancels the rest of the vehicle because I am not a fan of that CLS-inspired designed.

  • sean tooher

    the taillights on bmw are very kia

    • MoveOnPorsche

      the taillights on mercedes are very audi

      • PK

        audi or kia. which one would you choose?

        • MoveOnPorsche

          Koreans are coming up FAST. Quality and value (not to mention reliability) putting others to shame. KIAs head-designer (Peter Schreyer) is straight from Audi too!

  • Bash

    Now how do I put this…
    I want the exterior of the BMW with the interior of the Mercedes.

    • Belthronding

      volvo xc90

      • donald seymour

        And @Bash Laugh out Loud… please stop.

  • dtd

    It’s not easy but, I’d go with the Mercedes.


    • donald seymour

      I agree completely.

  • chris

    sorry but the back of the GLE is atrocious. and the interior of the GLE is nice but looks all over the place next to the X5. X5 >

  • roy

    Interestingly both cars tail lamps looks like they were heavily inspired by other automakers. Aside from that particular issue I think for me X5 is the winner.

  • donald seymour

    Well, the BMW to me seems to be out of place concerning many design elements. The Mercedes is way more robust and resolved. It really does have the future is here vibe. Now the previous generation (Mercedes GLE) I completely loathe. But I’m completely smitten by this new model.

    • Nordschleife

      I thought it was just I who thought the previous GLE was hideous. Whoo hoo.

  • Galaxium

    I’d take the X5. The only downside is the rear fascia. It doesn’t seem BMW-like at all.

    The new GLE looks really odd to me. Feels like the design is somehow older than the preceding one. The rear end makes it look like a small hatchback. The front looks really vague and bland. Also looks cheap with the excessive use of fake honeycomb pattern everywhere. I also don’t understand the giant fake vent to the right of the screen. It’s gonna collect so much dust and debris.

  • SteersUright

    The BMW somehow manages to look more expensive inside and out, despite the MB’s fancy screens. But that new kidney grille design on the BMW, talk about an eyesore.

  • Nordschleife

    I feel like the pic comparison is unfair. I think you should only show the silver GLE with the sports package in comparison to the White X5. While I still prefer the GLE I feel like you’re not showing the models on equal footing.

    • Alx

      my thoughts exactly.

  • Harry_Wild

    I just hope one or both of these new luxury crossovers are more reliable the current models. If they are, I will buy one new!

  • Ary Wisesa

    I would choose Range Rover Velar.

  • David De Fortier

    The only visual part of the bmw that i feel looks beter, is the front end. Can they just stick that onto the mercedes and it will be perfect

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    X5 got a much more width to height proportion, it feels neat and athletic in comparison to the GLE which made me remembered the old LR Discovery proportions

    X5 also win from front and back with GLE winning from the side with all design elements including the the blacked out rear pillar which some may hate

    Interior is mixed the top from GLE with it’s double 12.3 each other will be X5 including the I drive and the top gear

  • GSMT

    For me too early to see in person but BMW gets the nod. Looks like a BMW and, I suspect, will drive like one as well. GLE can pass for an Acura or a Buick just as easily. MB shift to floating screens in almost all their cars looks cheap and inexpensive. In front of the vents? WTF? MB always was a bit quirky but ahead, this interior is atrocious. Nothing German or luxurious about the GLE. Rear lights look Acura. The interior is a bit too space age for me, needs warmth and not sure correct package will accomplish this.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    I’d give it to the GLE. And it’s not even close to me.

    Give me the XC90 please.

  • lapirk

    lol that gle is a droopy mess. last gen is far better looking. x5 wins this hands down

  • nauticalone

    Of these two, I’d take the X5! Looks edgier, more sporty…and has a console mounted gear lever.

  • DMax

    No thanks

  • driv3r

    Well the photo comparison is a bit odd since the pictures compare the standard GLE model with the M Sport Line model of the X5. Comparing the AMG Line GLE to the M Sport X5 would be an even comparison.

  • botornot387

    BMW! It looks so much better from the outside and prefer the interior and graphics on iDrive to MBUX

  • S3XY

    One thing they have in common is that they are both equally ugly

  • Alx

    The GLE front end looks juvenile!

  • Six Thousand Times

    That’s an easy “neither.”

  • Kagan

    Who cares about either of them!

    • Ronald Roman

      I do.

      • Kagan

        Your choice.

        • Ronald Roman

          Yeah, but what should I choose? X5 or GLE? 🙂

          • Kagan

            Neither of them.😀

          • Ronald Roman

            OK, I’ll get the A6 then.

          • Kagan

            Atleast it looks better.

  • Dan Facciolo

    Look like Mercedes gave up on dash design… Not digging the giant iPad look

  • Ryan50
  • Ryan50

    That screen on the mercedes looks dumb

  • Epaminondas


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