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Car Comparison

Mercedes-Benz GLC vs. Audi Q5

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Mercedes-Benz has long been an honored brand in the automotive industry, and today Audi also enjoys that same powerhouse status. These two brands are one of the most valued in the world, and now they’re doing battle in the 2016 SUV niche. The Mercedes-Benz faces off with the GLC while the Audi rides forth with the Q5. Which one will you choose?

To help you decide, let’s take a closer look beyond their appearance. After all, whether a car looks attractive or not is entirely subjective, and no responsible car buyer will buy simply for how cute a car looks.

Interior

Mercedes-Benz GLC: Every technogeek will feel at home inside the cabin of the GLC. The center screen resembles a huge tablet, and you get speed and satnav instructions from the digital readout located between the tachometer and the speedometer. It offers a refined luxury, accentuated by the white stitching in the leather seats, the relaxed ambient light, and the metallic touches on the air vents.  The headroom and the legroom offer enough space, though the load area is somewhat disappointing. And that’s with the free space you get under the false floor because there’s no spare tire.

Audi Q5: The interior of the Q5 does seem good-looking enough. It manages to look somewhat fresh even though the Q5 hasn’t had a drastic makeover for the last few years. The overall layout isn’t overly complicated, and you also get high quality finishes. The infotainment menu and controls are more intuitive, but the instrument panel readout is comparatively dated and the center screen is even smaller. The load area is much more useful and you also get more space under the false floor, but then you have to deal with less legroom.

Tech

GLC: You have automatic parking along with a 360-degree view camera. There’s also a digital radio and ambient cabin lighting. Options include a better audio system, a larger screen, a heads-up display, and a panoramic roof.

Q5: You can get sensors for the front and rear, satnav, xenon headlights, and keyless entry.

Engine

GLC: You don’t get as much oomph with the Mercedes powerplant (7.3 seconds from 0 to 100 kph), but then again it’s more refined and quieter. You only need 7.2 liters to cover 100km. Also, despite the comparative lack of power the 9-speed automatic transmission makes full use of what it gets, and so speeding along the highway is a breeze. If you wish for sportier drive, you can transform the throttle and gear shifts with just a center console switch.

Q5: This one is more enthusiastic with just 6.9 seconds from zero to 100kph. That’s due to the more powerful engine and the way it gets going very quickly. However, you do need 7.3 liters for 100km and you also get a somewhat louder noise from the engine. Gear shifts go quickly with the 8-speed automatic transmission. And if you want enhanced throttle response and gear-shift patterns you can just use the Driver Select function.

Driving Experience

GLC: Navigate through curvy roads and the turns feel sharper with the GLC. It’ll seem to you that the steering is direct and more accurate, and somehow the SUV seems enthusiastic on the bends. You get a terrific grip from the low-profile rubber and the 20-inch wheels. But at low speeds, the suspension can offer a somewhat bumpy ride. Even in comfort mode, the GLC sometimes staggers over the bumps and you’ll feel that thump through the floor when you bottom out. Choose sport mode and you get more control, but you’ll need to be ready for an even firmer ride.

Q5: It may be heavier, but the all-wheel drive offers great grip that lets you have superb control on the corners. You also remain flat even when you constantly change direction, and that’s due to the setup of the suspension. Still, it doesn’t seem as agile as the GLC, and you don’t get that same feel from the steering wheel. But it offers superior performance over the bumps on the road, so you’re more comfortable without too much wallow when you go over the larger bumps.

Safety

GLC: Standard features here include not just the 9 airbags. You also get automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, cross-traffic alert, and lane departure warning.

Q5: It comes with 8 airbags, which should be good enough. Unfortunately, high tech safety features such as the blind spot monitoring and the automatic emergency braking are both optional. These features are already standard in more affordable cars.

So which will you choose? On the face of it, both the Mercedes GLC and the Audi Q5 offer excellent value for money and so your choice depends on your own preferences and priorities. Hopefully you choose wisely, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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