With the Mercedes-Benz GLS launched in India in its latest avatar, the Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90 is sure to face some serious heat. We see how these flagship luxury SUVs fair against each other in a one-to-one specification comparo.
All SUVs here are around the 5-metre mark in length, but the Mercedes is the longest here at 5.16 metres. It is also the widest and tallest of the lot and has the longest wheelbase here. The GLS looks like a tweaked GL-Class with changes to the front fascia with new headlights and bumper and new detailing in the taillights and lower portion of the rear bumper. The latest generation Audi Q7 shrunk in size over the previous car and looks a lot leaner than before. It has an sophisticated air about it but isn’t as distinct looking as before. The Volvo XC90 on the other hand attracts a crowd towards it when at standstill due to the Thor’s Hammer LED detailing in the headlight and a more upright stance. It is the shortest of the lot and the lightest as well, but keeps up well with the other two here with its no-nonsense Scandinavian flair.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS is a facelifted and updated GL-Class, but is not an all new car, hence equipment levels are a tad behind the other two here. The Audi and Volvo get a fancy all digital instrument cluster with numerous functions and themes while the Merc makes do with traditional dials and needles. The Volvo gets a huge 10.1-inch Sensus touchscreen infotainment system and a Bowers & Wilkins sound system which can turn the cabin into an opera hall. The Audi Q7 gets a 8.3-inch touchscreen MMI infotainment system and a Bose 3D sound system while Mercedes-Benz gets a tablet like touchscreen COMAND Online system and a Bang & Olufsen sound system. All three cabins use high quality leather and plastics and there is little that can separate them from each other.
On the safety front, the Volvo is the best equipped here with city safety, pilot assist, park pilot assist, cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, blind spot detection etc. The Audi too gets features like automatic braking, night vision with animal detection, adaptive cruise control with a traffic jam assist, blind-spot monitoring system, cross-traffic alert etc. The Mercedes-Benz GLS is fairly loaded too with features like cross-wind assist, Pre-Safe system, attention assist, 360-degree camera etc. All three cars get adaptive LED headlights that automatically reduce glare on the traffic coming from the opposite side of the road.
Engine and Transmission:
The Mercedes-Benz GLS and Audi Q7 come with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel that develops 258 BHP and 620 Nm, and 272 BHP and 600 Nm respectively. The Mercedes comes with the latest generation 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic gearbox while the Audi Q7 gets an 8-speed automatic gearbox sourced from ZF. The Volvo XC90 has the least displacement and power here. It gets a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder twin turbo diesel that develops 225 BHP and 470 Nm, which is channeled through a 8-speed automatic gearbox sourced from Aisin Japan. While the Q7 is undoubtedly the quickest of the lot, the XC90 is expected to be the most fuel efficient due to its smaller displacement and almost 400-kilo weight advantage over the GLS.
The oldest of the lot is the Volvo XC90 which was launched last year in India followed by the Audi Q7 earlier this year and the Mercedes-Benz GLS earlier this month. The top variants of the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and Mercedes-Benz GLS cost Rs. 77.50 lakhs, Rs. 80.23 lakhs and Rs. 80.40 lakhs respectively ex-showroom, Delhi. The Audi Q7 feels every bit upmarket with the Audi Virtual Cockpit and overall quality of the interior. The Mercedes-Benz GLS charms you with a more traditional looking interior and a very spacious cabin. The Volvo XC90 seems to mix the technology and traditional appeal of both the cars with things like the digital instrument cluster and the Sensus infotainment system, and is expected to be the lightest on your wallet. So the Volvo makes most sense on paper, but we will keep our final verdict until we test all three cars head to head, very soon. Stay tuned to this space.