BMW X7 Facelift vs Mercedes-Benz GLS

There are plenty of luxury three-row SUVs on the market but BMW X7 has only one real competitor – the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. Mercedes-Benz was the first in this fight for more than a decade, then called GL-Class. Now that both German giants have their own three-row luxury SUV, it’s time to see which one looks best.

As much as I think consumers buy cars based on driving speed, road feel, ride quality and build quality, they don’t. They buy cars based on style, image and interior technology. So this comparison is probably more important than comparing how they feel on the street. Now that the X7 has launched, it’s time to see how their style compares.

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It is clear that BMW’s design team has taken a boxer, sharper and more aggressive approach than Mercedes. The split headlights, their sharp LEDs, the square-ish kidney grilles, and the more steep front edges all make the two look like more aggressive vehicles. Although the Mercedes-Benz is a bit softer-edged, slightly rounded and less steep. I think this new X7 LCI looks significantly better than the pre-LCI siblings but if I had to choose between this and the GLS-class, I still think I would take the Benz. It just looks a little more integrated and I like the grill even better.

In profile, both cars are really similar. They are both large, tall, two-box, three-row SUVs with slab side and tank-like proportions. Again, personally I think the GLS looks the best car, because the roof line looks a little smoother and sportier, but I understand why some might prefer the X7’s more steep looking glass, for external visibility.

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On the back, the BMW X7 LCI is the most beautiful looking car. The rear edges of most modern Mercedes-Benz look like their taillights are melting and this is true for GLS. I like how the Mercedes hunches are a little more pronounced but the X7 LCI’s taillights and real exhaust pipes make it look even more beautiful.

Inside, I’m taking the X7 LCI as well. Both cars are nice on the inside but look a little more premium with the X7 LCI’s floating iDrive screen, wide wood dash, wood center console trim and heavier sculpted doors. Also, the X7 comes with better practicality for second- and third-tier passengers, including a third-tier sunroof, a USB-C port everywhere, and more clever power seat adjustments. I definitely spent time in both of the X7’s more practical cases.

This comparison becomes like a wash, as both cars have won in two categories and both cars are excellent three-row luxury SUVs. I prefer the exterior of most of the Mercedes but the interior of the BMW is good. If I could put them together, it would be perfect. Alas, I can’t, so I’m taking insurance, because I can’t see outside while driving. The cabin of the BMW X7 LCI is even better and that’s where customers will spend most of their time with it.

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