Written by Tim Marsh:
While the trend these days is toward smaller, more efficient SUVs, both the Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GL Class stay true to the traditional large and spacious SUV design. If you’re trying to figure out which of these comfortable 7 seaters is right for you, check out our 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL Class review side by side with our 2014 Audi Q7 review and comparison below.
Exterior and Styling
The Q7 adds slight variations to its exterior for 2014. The U-shaped daytime running lights are a new feature, as are the LED tail lights. Additionally, it now has a larger chrome grille along with newly-designed alloy wheels. Overall, we find this SUV to be bold and imposing yet sleek at the same time. As big as the Q7 is, the GL Class is actually bigger and has a more muscular appearance. Along with chrome trim, the lighted aluminum-look running boards not only make for a more luxurious appearance but also make it much easier to get into and out of the vehicle.
Interior and Comfort
The GL Class’s list of standard features is extensive and includes alpaca grey leather trim, woodgrain dash and door inserts, and metallic accents. It also offers the COMAND Online multimedia system, which features a 7″ touch screen with an Internet browser and 10 GB music register. This SUV has comfortable seating with plenty of legroom in the second row of seats, and ample legroom for kids in the third row. Overall, it has slightly more room and storage space than the Q7. Like the GL, the Q7 also has a 7″ touch screen but no Internet browser. It’s high-quality interior features new trim and inlays, and the TDI 4.2DDT model offers a 14-speaker Bose sound system standard, while the 14-speaker Harmon Kardon system for the GL is an upgrade.
Under the Bonnet
At the entry level, the Q7’s diesel engine offers slightly better fuel economy and slightly faster acceleration than the GL’s BlueTec diesel engine despite being about $30,000 cheaper. The more expensive GLs have petrol engines that have more power and much faster acceleration times than the Q7 line-up. However, the Q7 offers better fuel economy across the board. The fairest comparison is the GL 350 and the TDI 4.2DDT, since they are roughly the same price. Here, the 350 is less thirsty (7.7 versus 10.2L/100Km), but not as quick off the line (7.9 versus 6.4 seconds/100Km).
On the Road
Compared to their large size, the GL and Q7 both have an impressive turning radius. However, they can still be difficult to maneuver in and out of parking spots. The Q7’s Quattro AWD and adaptive air suspension make for a smooth ride and impressive off-road capabilities. The GL also has AWD in the form of its 4MATIC system, which offers increased stability and traction on and off-road. While the GL offers 7-speed transmission, the Q7 has a transmission with 8 speeds.
The Q7 and GL both have an impressive list of safety features, but the Mercedes Benz GL Class has a few standard features that the Q7 doesn’t, including blind-spot assist and cruise control with a variable speed limiter.
Value for the Money
While the 2014 Audi Q7 price ranges from $90,500 to $129,300, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL Class price starts at $129,930 and goes up to $216,930, so the Q7 4.2DDT and 350 models offer the best comparison. The GL offers better value in terms of standard safety features and acceleration, while the 4.2 has a better standard sound system for the money.
If you want a slightly bigger, more athletic-looking SUV with nice-looking running boards and more standard safety features, go with the GL. But if you’re looking for a sleek yet imposing vehicle that is slightly more fuel-efficient and comes with a 14-speaker system standard, the Q7 is the better choice. Of course, the more expensive GL models do have the edge over the Q7.
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