Audi Q7 3.0 TDI vs. Mercedes GLS 350 D: 5 meter SUVs in comparison test

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At Mercedes the refreshed GL is now called GLS, posing, of course, as the S-Class for any occasion. This is a good reason to compare the Mercedes GLS with Audi Q7 and trace the appeal of true size. FIRST COMPARISON test via

Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLS offer considerable transport talents. The GLS comes as standard with seven seats. Two extra seats fold electrically from the trunk space and offer even adults a comfortable and gently domineering seating position. In order to get to the rear, the second row folds at the push of a button. The GLS is now assigned to the S-Class clan in the model organization chart of Mercedes.

What more can be said about the price – with all test-relevant extras it costs 85,000 euros. Since the GLS differs little from the smaller GLE, which is hardly different from its pre-facelift version, the ML, the is again almost identical to its GL forebear. As the major innovation of the facelift, we nominate the higher positioned central TFT screen and the fresh combination between the rotary knob and the touchpad for infotainment.

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Living-room atmosphere in the interior
You are still required to rotate, press, tap, or click to select all the functions. But oh, the wide, heavy armchairs in front are a nice place to stagger around for a few hours or to measure smaller continents. Meanwhile, the cupholder keeps the coffee warm (or the cola cold, for 250 euros). Perhaps this detail reflects the essence of the GLS best: to feel right at home. A home on wheels that is.

Push ahead and the 3-liter turbodiesel stomps loose, so deep and sound-insulated in the engine room, that the sound of the V6 hardy comes inwards. Both the GLS and the Q7 feel more compact when driving. But on the size and mass of the Mercedes there is nothing to relativize, they dominate. In old cities or car parks alike, the GLS is confronted with incomprehension and pushes effortlessly out of the city to the highway.

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355 kilos Weight savings in the Q7
The automatic gearbox selects the gears gently and the standard air suspension infuses a flattering serenity to the day. Before, on short bumps, the GLS jostled with its quite unnecessary 21-inch wheels over short unevenness. Also the suspension speaks a little bit more than expected from a two and a half-tone. Long waves weigh it gently. But everything fits as long as it’s comfortable. Hurry, however, and the automatic is frightened and no longer very accurate. It makes the engine spin, which makes the effort grow up. Meanwhile, the Q7 is unstoppable.

What is so difficult to explain, a number does: It is 355 kilos lighter. Yes, well, the GLS has 14 hp more, but they just barely fall into it, because of the weight. It is better to enjoy the finer manners of the V6, in which hydraulic engine bearings dampen noises and vibrations.

The tested Q7 comes with an insulating glass, while the measurement always remains two decibels below the noise level of the Mercedes and also has a subjectively lower noise. The eight-speed automatic looks for the gears in a hurry and clever, goes at idle into sailing mode and thus contributes to the significantly lower consumption (9.5 l / 100 km instead of 10.9 l/100 km with the GLS).

Old school GLS
The Audi is modern in all respects – although the old-school nature of the Mercedes is part of its concept and is a good reason to particularly like this car. With the full-digital cockpit (600 euros) and the center touchpad, the Audi reduces the number of commands, but not the operating complexity. Even so it takes a little shorter than in the GLS, until you have configured through all the menus.

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To this end, the Q7 has more space, six centimeters more inner width, and 3.5 centimeters more space on the rear seat. It consists of three individual places (all with Isofix), which can be adjusted separately and moved separately. In addition, they fold away from the luggage compartment to form a plain level loading area. The luggage compartment can be furnished for 1.390 Euro with two additional seats, but the test car does without. Instead, it brings the outstanding air suspension (2.050 Euro) and cuddly individual seats (3,400 Euro) to increase the comfort, to promote the driving dynamics 20-inch wheels and the four-wheel steering (1,150 Euro). At low pace, the rear wheels steer up to five degrees towards the front, which increases the handling speed. At higher speeds they steer parallel, which stabilizes the handling. In addition, the rear axle gets as much as 60% of the power via the all-wheel drive system.

The Q7 sweeps over land, neutrally, very securely, because it is not broad and heavy, but lighter and more agile than expected. Still, the steering may be precise, but gives sterile feedback, even in the dynamic mode.

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Little agility in the Mercedes
A sports mode for steering, transmission, engine and suspension is also available in the GLS. But there is so much unnecessary in the world. Curves are an event that the Mercedes encounters without great enthusiasm. He steers into them, pondering them with discreet feedback in the calm steering, and with marked wavering.

Until you see in the equipment list that the system called Active Curve is quite on board. It costs 3,749 euros, but there is little cause for concern that the GLS is discovering agile aggression. He drives safely, brakes like the Audi, is nearly as comprehensive secured with new assistance systems and overcrows heavy terrain with the large all-wheel drive deck (optional support and lock for the center differential).

But the comfortably easy-to-handle GLS is, adjusted to the equipment (it comes as a standard with halogen lights) about, 16,500 euros more expensive than the Q7. He is striving for perfection and is here to stay.

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1. Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro
Yes, how should the Q7 not win? It is faster, more agile, more economical, more spacious and more comfortable than the Mercedes, but less expensive to maintain.
2. Mercedes GLS 350 d 4Matic
Yes, how would you like the GLS? It is not as modern or agile as the Audi. But one of the cars that you could imagine driving the rest of your life.

Technical Data
Mercedes GLS 350 d 4Matic Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro
Base price 75.154 € 61.700 €
Lenght x Width x Height 5130 x 1934 x 1850 mm 5052 x 1968 x 1741 mm
Trunk volume VDA 680 bis 2300 L 890 bis 2075 L
Engine 2987 cm³ / 6-Cylinder 2967 cm³ / 6-Cylinder
Power (Torque) 190 kW / 258 PS (620 Nm) 200 kW / 272 PS (600 Nm)
Max speed 222 km/h 234 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 7,8 s 6,3 s
Consumption 7,1 L/100 km 5,7 L/100 km
Consumption in test 10,9 L/100 km 9,5 L/100 km

Source; Auto-motor-und-sport