Mercedes-Benz GLS vs Range Rover Vogue vs BMW X7 : here’s our winner.

Mercedes-Benz GLS vs Range Rover Vogue vs BMW X7 : here’s our winner.

The Mercedes GLS is the S-Class of SUVs. Here we detail the latest model’s highlights and offer insights into two rivals, the BMW X7 and Range Rover Vogue.

The latest version of the Mercedes-Benz GLS was introduced here just on a year ago, in August 2019. Think of an SUV version of the S-Class sedan, and you will get an idea of the kind of specification that the GLS enjoys.

The new car has grown  in some vital areas to impart more space to its occupants. For instance, the wheelbase has been lengthened by some 60 mm and this has freed up more leg room, specifically for the second seat row passengers. However, as a 7-seater, it should be noted that the third row of two seats can be occupied by adults measuring up to 1,92 metres in height!

All seats are electrically-adjusted

All the seats are electrically operated, and this means you can use buttons to shift the seats around to gain access to the second or third row. There is also a special option that allows a passenger in the left-hand or middle seat in the second row to press a button and shift the front seat forwards, to gain a maximum amount of leg room. Presumably the front seat passenger has the option of blocking this function out, otherwise you could have some interesting debates ensuing as the GLS wafts its way along the highways and byways!

 

 

Seat heating for all seats is also optional

The first and second row of seats are heated as standard. But an option is available to have heating in the third row of seats as well. Ventilation for the front and rear seats, as well as a seat massaging function is one of a very long list of comfort options you can specify. Another is a bespoke tablet for rear seat passenger entertainment.

Infotainment for front and rear passengers

The MBUX Rear Seat Entertainment System includes two 11.6-inch touchscreens that allow passengers in the second row to watch   movies, listen to  music, use the integrated web browser, and also access trip information. Each screen displays the content selected by the individual user.

Engine choices

The Mercedes Benz GLS comes in two basic models. These are the GLS 400d 4Matic at R1 787 840, and the GLS 580 4Matic at R1 971 160. The 400d is the diesel model and uses an in-line 6-cylinder diesel that produces 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque. The 0-100 km/h time is 6,3 seconds, top speed is 238 km/h and claimed average consumption is 7,9 litres/100 km.

The GLS 580 4Matic uses a 4,0-lite turbocharged petrol V8. Outputs are 360 kW and 700 Nm of torque. This engine also has short-duration 48 volt hybrid power that provides an over-boost function that adds an additional 16 kW and 250 Nm of torque for use in what Mercedes-benz calls EQ Boost over short periods.

 

The standard 0-100 km/h time  is an impressive 5,3 seconds and the top speed is 250 km/h. This is an extremely quick time for a vehicle weighing some 2 545 kg un-laden!

Air suspension and more

Both variants come standard with air suspension and adaptive damping,  which provides an extremely cushioned ride over all surfaces. This also has the advantage of allowing the ride height of the GLS to be raised for some mild off-roading. Incidentally, a special off-road pack with a different transmission can also be ordered for the GLS.

Another option is the E-Active Body Control which individually controls spring and damping forces on each wheel. Thus it contains body roll during fast cornering, limits a tail-down-nose-high attitude under fast acceleration, and prevents nose-diving during hard braking.

Summary

With an effortless progress dictated by the 9-speed automatic transmission, supreme ride comfort combined with a high degree of agility for such a large vehicle, and a raft of safety features, the GLS is some vehicle! Of course, it should be, at prices between R1,78-million and R1,97-million.

The Competitors:

BMW X7

This is one huge vehicle and it is hugely competent. The most striking thing about the X7 is its extremely prominent large kidney –shaped grille, which ushered in a whole new face for BMW models. The X7 can match the GLS for equipment levels of course, and having sampled the new top-of-the-range BMW Sports Activity vehicle at its Gauteng launch I can affirm that it has an extremely high standard of ride quality, yet retains that special BMW agility for which the company is known.

Power-wise, the X7 comes with more engine options than the Mercedes-Benz GLS. You can choose the 30d model with 195 kW and 620 Nm, the M50d which delivers 294 kW and 760 Nm of torque, and the M50i, the only petrol model in the range, which enjoys 390 kW and 750 Nm from its 4,4-litre turbocharged V8.

 

Range Rover Vogue

Land Rover, and its brand-within-a-brand, Range Rover,  has the most confusing model line-up of any manufacturer in the country. There is a huge amount of pricing cross over between the seven model ranges on offer here, and each model range is huge. For instance, the newly-announced Defender lists no less than 30 model derivatives.

The model under discussion here, simply known as the Range Rover, has 23 derivatives. When referring to this model, it is easier to call it a Range Rover Vogue, as this denotes the largest, most luxurious model type. But some of the derivatives in this 19-model line-up aren’t badged as Vogues, but referred to by other titles such as “Autobiogrphy” and “SV”, and “Supercharged”, names which are in fact used in other model line-ups too.

 

Now that we have that out of the way, the Range Rover Vogue is included here because it is quite likely to be on the radar of a well-off individual who may consider a Benz GLS or a BMW X7.

The Range Rover name plate carries a huge amount of prestige, and GLS and X7 customers are not likely to settle for one of the less-expesnive Raneg Rovers.

It should be noted that the Range Rover Vogue is far more off-road orientated than the Mercedes GLS or the BMW X7, with rock-climbing abilities that put it right up there with the best off-roaders on the market.

As for performance, the TDV6 model makes do with a mere 190 kW and 600 Nm of torque, while the very expensive SVAutobiography Supercharged model weighs in with a 416 petrol V8 which blasts it to 100 km/h in a claimed 5,1 seconds.

Verdict

Picking a winner here is more about taste than anything else. The Mercedes-Benz GLS is the ultimate in Teutonic efficiency with a sprawling spread of connectivity features, clad in first rate materials, with a magic carpet ride. You can pretty much ditto that for the BMW X7, but add a little more on the dynamic handling front, in case you feel frisky on the way  to your favourite game lodge.

As for the Range Rover Vogue, think old-world charm as far as the cabin is concerned, an on-road driving experience that is more about wafting than sensing every change of tarmac surface, and an off-road acumen that will stun you, given the luxury profile of this British icon. Yes, price-wise the Range Rover Vogue is stratospheric compared to the Mercedes-Benz GLS and the BMW X7. But in this league, customers seem to operate in a completely different financial realm.

If you have the kind of money these cars command, we suggest test driving all three of them. Whatever moves you will be the one you’ll buy.

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