Could you be the talk of the town with the latest SUV? – Can the new GLE walk the walk or will you opt for the X5 at full chat?
We have chosen three heavyweights from the luxury SUV sector – the BMW X5, the Lexus RX and the Mercedes GLE. This is going to be a titanic battle.
BMW X5 from £47,240
BMW has introduced a new look X5 in to the fray, the chunky silhouette remains, however, the headlights are new and take their lead from the BMW 3 Series. The front is more impressive and gives the X5 even more road presence than before thanks to the redesigned front bumper.
On the inside, the BMW oozes class. There are plenty of packages to choose, from entertainment to lighting while access to the third row has been made much easier making the X5 a more pleasant experience for all passengers.
Five TwinPower Turbo engines are available and include four diesels and one petrol, all mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The most frugal diesel, according to BMW, will return around 50.4mpg and emits CO2 emissions from 149g/km.
BMW also introduced a plug-in hybrid xDrive40e version. This version combines a 2.0-litre turbo petrol and an electric motor producing 309bhp while BMW claims it will return 85.6mpg and produce CO2 emissions as low as 77g/km of CO2.
Weighing in at 2.2 tonnes, the X5 is a bring and even though BMW are highly skilled at making their cars handle well, this at the end of the day is still an SUV. The upside is that the X5 has lots of grip, while the steering is well weighted.
The X5 has a load space of 650 litres when the middle row of seats are in place and when folded the load room expands to 1,870 litres. That’s an increase of 30 and 120 litres respectively over the previous iteration.
Lexus RX from £41,495
It’s a little like marmite, you will either like the design of the RX or not. It certainly stands out and it has immense road presence.
Jump inside and you will see that the cabin is decked out in high-quality materials and there’s tons of kit to keep the driver and passenger happy.
Lexus’ most popular version is the hybrid RX due largely to low running costs. It’s also quieter and smoother thanks to the hybrid unit when comparing to petrol and diesel alternatives. Under the bonnet lies a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine producing 259bhp and 335Nm of torque, this is mated to an electric motor producing 68bhp and 139Nm. This gives you a sprint time of 7.7 seconds to 62mph and it will go on to a top speed of 124mph.
The Lexus is more country life than cornering hard. It may look a little sci-fi, however this SUV is not on a par when comparing to the X5. It is more at home on motorways and smooth A roads. The steering is direct but there is little feedback.
Open the boot and you’’ll find a sizeable boot, with the seats in place, there’s 453 litres while this expands to 924 litres when the rear bench is folded. A neat touch is the powered tailgate, standard on Luxury trim and above.
Mercedes Benz GLE from £50,570
Mercedes has certainly arrived in the SUV sector with the GLE. Standing out from the crowd, this car makes a bold statement thanks to its uncompromising looks.
A wide range of engines is covered on the GLE range. This includes two diesel units, one petrol engine and a plug-in hybrid to satisfy all tastes.
The most popular models are likely to be the two diesel engines. These include the four-cylinder GLE 250d producing 201bhp emitting 140g/km of CO2 and has a claimed fuel economy of 52.3 mpg. There is also a more powerful diesel, V6 GLE 350 d 4MATIC producing 254bhp. Mercedes claims it will return 44.1 mpg and emits 169g/km of CO2. Both come with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
On the scales, the GLE is on a par with its rivals weighing over two tonne. So, it’s no sportscar when it comes to handling just like the two rivals above. This car is trumped by BMW’s X5 – the GLE is a lifestyle SUV and it is best utilised on motorways, smooth A roads and ferrying the family around.
Although the Mercedes GLE offers a load space of 650 litres of luggage with the seats in place and this expands to 1,720 when the rear seats are folded, it is, however, slightly hamstrung by the high boot lip. This makes loading and unloading prams a tad more difficult than it should be.
Which is the best?
All three SUV models offer their respective customers plenty in style, luxury, engine choices and equipment levels. There is not much in this one and ultimately it may come down to the choice of badge for many buyers. However, for us, the X5 just pips the GLE and the RX thanks to offering a slightly more rounded package.