If you’re in the market for a luxury SUV, two models you’re likely to compare to each other are the 2011 BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. If you favor a sporty flavor in a vehicle, the BMW might seem an obvious choice. But performance is just one area in which the X5 excels. A closer look reveals the X5’s numerous advantages over the M-Class.
In a comparison between the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class, the BMW shows a sportier demeanor and more powerful performance. That probably won’t sound surprising. Sporty though it may be, the X5 is far from a one-trick pony.
Still, the BMW X5 offers such a compelling performance lead over the Mercedes M-Class that any comparison simply must start there. You do not need to be a “gearhead” to appreciate the differences; you can feel the X5’s superior performance even in every day errand runs. It’s simply a more engaging vehicle to drive.
Both the 2011 BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class offer customers a choice between six-cylinder, V8 and clean diesel powertrains. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that the X5’s powertrains offer more power across the board, yet the BMW also offers a fuel economy advantage, showing the substance behind the brand’s “Efficient Dynamics” label.
Starting with the entry models, the BMW X5 xDrive35i model produces 300 hp from its 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine with TwinPower turbo technology. The latter ensures plenty of “oomph” with 300 lb/ft of torque at the touch of the accelerator from just 1,200 rpm to 5,000 rpm. That means maximum torque is at your command at every day driving engine speeds. This combo handily beats the Mercedes ML350’s 268 hp and 258 lb/ft. When you need the extra power for a highway merge or to pass a tractor-trailer, the X5 xDrive35i delivers.
Here’s where the plot thickens: The X5 xDrive35i performs better than the ML350 while using less fuel – 23 mpg highway vs. 21 mpg for the Mercedes. Take note that the “xDrive” in the X5 model’s name means a standard advanced all-wheel drive system. That might be something you’d expect in a luxury SUV with the X5’s base MSRP of $46,300. But don’t expect it in the 2011 Mercedes ML350 with an MSRP of $46,490; you must add it as an option for an additional $2,500, and when you do, the ML350’s highway fuel economy drops down to 20 mpg, further reducing value.
The X5 xDrive35i gets its power to the road through an eight-speed automatic transmission, versus the ML350’s seven-speed. That’s not just a case of one-upmanship; the additional gear ratio contributes to both performance and fuel economy.
Going up the line, the BMW X5 maintains its performance advantage over the M-Class. The BMW X5 xDrive50i puts 400 hp from a TwinPower turbo V8 at your disposal while matching the six-cylinder ML350 in its 20 mpg highway fuel economy. The V8 ML550 offers a lower 382 hp and 18 highway mpg.
Again, that’s BMW Efficient Dynamics at work. Comparing clean diesel performance, the BMW X5 xDrive35d cleans the Benz’s clock with 265 hp vs. the ML350 BlueTEC model’s 210 hp, and this X5 uses less fuel than the diesel M-Class, too.
Like all BMWs, the X5 models perform with a sporty precision that makes them feel more fun to drive without compromising comfort. Both the BMW and Mercedes offer plenty of luxury and option choices. One choice not available for the M-Class, however, is standard High Definition (HD) Radio. The X5 also offers a third-row seat to make it a seven-passenger vehicle; the M-Class is strictly a five-passenger vehicle.
The X5’s value advantages continue with the standard BMW Maintenance Program, part of BMW Ultimate Service™. With it, BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items for four years/50,000 miles, which covers the entire standard limited warranty period. The plan even covers brake pads and rotors.
You can get a maintenance plan for the M-Class that covers four years or 40,000 miles, but it will cost you an additional $2,686. And finally, both Kelley Blue Book and Automotive Leasing Guide project higher resale value for the BMW X5 than the Mercedes M-Class.
Come in and test-drive a 2011 BMW X5. Feel the performance and think of how the added value can make your life easier.