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Need a luxury SUV: Mercedes GLS vs Land Rover Discovery 5

I own a BMW 530d. However, I will need to travel in the 7-seater whenever I do travel for the next 3-5 years. Might not make sense to have a nice sedan and a not-as-nice 7-seater when I am certainly going to spend all my time on the road in the 7-seater.

BHPian tofuswan recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Looking to get a 7-seater SUV with a budget of  Rs. 1.3cr on road. This is mostly going to be self-driven, occasionally driven by a driver. Will spend most of its time in the city (on needless to say, horrible/terrible/flooded/water-logged roads).

So far, I've narrowed the options to a) Discovery 5 - P300 or b) the GLS 400d.

Would love to hear thoughts about which of these you would choose and why.

I've test driven both. Based on initial impressions:

Land Rover Discovery 5:

Postives:

  • Relatively smaller, easier to maneuver.
  • (Might not be objective) Interiors felt nicer to me than the GLS.
  • Excellent ride quality over broken roads at city speeds.
  • Available immediately.

Negatives:

  • Unknown reliability.
  • P300 is much less capable overall than the 400d.
  • Lesser cargo space behind the third row.
  • Petrol (vs Diesel).
  • CBU and taxes.

Mercedes GLS:

Postives:

  • Much more spacious.
  • Much much better engine.
  • Looks / feels like / is a segment above the Discovery 5.
  • Known devil - I've owned Mercs/BMWs in the past (in terms of brand/reliability etc.).

Negatives:

  • Side-side movement over bad roads at slower speeds.
  • Space in middle/center of 2nd row is limited because of the large A/C vent/tunnel.
  • Longer wait times.

More context: I own a BMW 530d. However, I will need to travel in the 7-seater whenever I do travel for the next 3-5 years. Might not make sense to have a nice sedan and a not-as-nice 7-seater when I am certainly going to spend all my time on the road in the 7-seater.

I love my 530d, absolutely. I try really hard to take this anywhere I go, with a little care it makes it through most bad patches - but there have been a few too many bent rims and punctures. Also Bangalore (where I live) roads are getting worse every day.

  • 6 cylinder Discovery: I'd love to get this, but there is a long/uncertain waiting period for new orders. If possible I'd like to avoid the wait time. About the facelift, I'm thinking of getting the 2021 version which I think was facelifted. Is there another facelift in the works?
  • GLS: Ajmat's comment about boring is spot on I think. Its a nice car no doubt, but doesn't cause a flutter. Doesn't help that the wait time for this is super long, and with Merc's D2C switch, dealers don't even know how to accept a new booking for this at this point.
  • X7: The 7-seater variant seems to be out of production at this point. None of the dealers I spoke to said they'd be able to get me one, even if I was willing to wait for 4-5 months. It is expected to come back soon but nobody knows when.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

My vote is for the GLS or X7.


Also, wouldn't it be cheaper to swap your wheels + tyres to 17" rims? You could either go for what the 520d & 525d came with, or get a good looking set from the after-market? This will solve the rim bending woes due to the taller tyre sidewall. I have also suffered too many bent rims due to the stupid 18" size, so much so that I recently bought an extra full set of alloys from OLX!

Here's what BHPian ajmat had to say on the matter:

For bad roads, the Discovery 5 is king. Reliability might be better, but parts availability is an unknown long wait if anything happens. It’s got character, however the P300 engine might be overwhelmed in that body. Stretch to a 6 pot if possible.


The Merc is a solid "bought by the head" choice, but it is boring. And everyone has one.

Here's what BHPian SShandilya had to say on the matter:

If it’s strictly between these 2 then I’ll choose GLS because it’s new, has all the tech, feels much more premium.


The Discovery 5 will soon undergo a facelift so why bother spending so much on an outdated product?

If you’re okay with other options I’ll suggest the X7 for same reasons as for GLS + driving experience + lower maintenance cost.

Here's what BHPian Pedalmasher_20 had to say on the matter:

If you want a 7 seater luxury SUV on urgent basis, then I'd recommend you to visit the Volvo showroom and check if they have the XC90 available in the 7 seater format. Do note that Volvo only offers a 4-pot diesel and a petrol-hybrid engine on it as of now. If you want a 7 seater SUV from a luxury brand, but expect smaller footprints from it which will make your drives within the city a bit easier, then I'd ask you to have a look at the Discovery Sport as well. Just keep in mind that last two rows in this SUV are just for kids and having adults sit on it would be a tight affair.


If I were in your shoes, I'd choose either the GLS or the X7 in the 7 seater format, and stand in the waiting line and would completely ignore the Land Rovers due to their unreliable nature and frequent maintenance intervals. But if you can't really wait, then start searching for sparsely driven X7 and GLS in the used market and get it. Read the guide on Team BHP regarding buying used cars to find the best condition car amongst the ocean of rash or high driven vehicles. Or else, if you think you're okay with the high maintenance costs of the Land Rovers, then get the Discovery. Hope you have many happy kilometers on your choice buddy.

Here's what BHPian androdev had to say on the matter:

I am just curious, what stops you from buying another 4-seater sedan/crossover and using it along with your 530D if more than 4 people have to travel? Somehow, 7 seater vehicles come across as compromises esp given the $$$.

Here's what BHPian AirbusCapt had to say on the matter:

The GLS is an 'S' Class only by nomenclature. It is just named so to cater to the US market for a full sized SUV. There are no S class bits inside it for now. The way the car rides, the bad road ability, the rear seat comfort all are sub par when compared with the S class and its counterparts.


The Discovery 5 is again not a luxury off-roader as such. It's mainly a luxurious alternative for a 'gentleman farmer'. Unless it's a 6 cylinder or the torquey diesel, the P300 is not exactly suited to the character of the car.

If you choose back seat comfort, then you are left with a good sedan or may be a luxury van like a Viano.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

 
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