Merc’s biggest hauler goes toe to toe with the vehicle that rejuvenated the niche of fast SUVs

LISTEN 28:02

I picture you glancing over this article and thinking, "How can he compare these two SUVs, they’re not even playing ball in the same field?", and while that is true, it’s not an exercise in futility. Both the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS and the 2020 Porsche Cayenne offer buckets of luxury and are expensive, so it’s worth putting them head to head to see what type of SUV is, ultimately, better.

In this matchup, you’ve got on the one hand the bear-like, full-size GLS SUV or the mid-size, sporty Cayenne SUV. The latter doesn’t offer as much interior room but can get you from A to B quicker. Also, it’s worth comparing these two mean peddlers because comparing the new GLS with the X7 is all too predictable - but we’ll tackle that too, don’t worry!

From the outset, you can probably guess who the winners will be in each category, right? I mean, just look at the GLS: it has a straight roofline and an almost straight back end to round things off. It features a longer wheelbase and up to seven full seats with all the amenities one could ask for. It must be the winner when it comes to the interior category, right? And the Cayenne must be the winner in the drivetrain department due to its higher output engines in the more expensive trim levels and, by and large, it also looks a bit nicer due to its lower stance, right? But things aren’t as simple as they seem from the outside.


2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836133

These two SUVs are very different from one another style-wise. The Cayenne, as an offspring of the Porsche family, looks wider, meaner, lower, and every attribute that you’d think of when describing a crossover that tries to bully its way into making people think it’s closer to a sedan than it actually is. Or maybe not a standard sedan but something along the lines of a Panamera Sport Turismo. Meanwhile, the GLS knows it’s a full-blown SUV and doesn’t try to believe its size through any sort of design wizardry. The front fascia is almost straight with high-mounted headlights, the waistline on the sides is perched high up as well, and the tailgate is rectangular and almost straight as well. Roundness isn’t really what the GLS is about.


left right

In the front, the Cayenne features a three-element grille. The main one in the middle sports three polished bars (although their tips on either end are covered by plastic elements). The top bar actually connects with the bars of the other two outboard grilles giving it a continuous appearance. Blacked-out plastic bits frame the outboard vents on the outer side and help with airflow control. The headlights up above are pointier on the latest Cayenne than on the previous-generation model, but the design of the light cluster itself is similar with all other Porsches: there’s one main beam in the middle with four daylight running lights positioned in the four ’corners’ of the main beam. This is something that was first seen on Porsche’s racing cars before trickling down to production models.

The two creases on the front hood continue into the front bumper itself, underlining the ferocity of the engine that sits below the hood bulge. Below the main grilles in the nose, there are two more narrow openings on either side of a central one that’s partially hidden behind the number plate. The underbelly is covered by a plastic bit.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836156
The Mercedes looks entirely different. The nearly-oval-shaped grille on the GLS can house different designs within its perimeter depending on trim level.

On the GLS seen at the New York Auto Show, the center-mounted three-pointed star logo is guarded by four thick chromed bars, two on either side of the logo. These thick bars are pierced by small holes, three on each bar, that feature some tiny horizontal fins within them. It’s clear that big SUVs such as the GLS need to have a big imposing grille and that’s very evident here with the headlights pushed as far on the corners of the front fascia as possible.

Talking about the headlights, they are now narrower than before with a boomerang-shaped strip of LEDs (the Cayenne is equipped with LED lighting too) that curves around the top inner corner of the light cluster where there’s also one main beam placed outboard and two smaller beams. Given the size of the grille, Mercedes didn’t place the side grilles next to the main one as in the case of the Cayenne; instead, they sit a little lower in each corner. Again, these side grilles can alter in appearance depending on the trim level. On the model seen in New York, two bars cross each inlet and then there’s also a trapezoidal, horizontal grille at the bottom of the front bumper, above the underbelly cover that can be chromed on the GLS for a proper off-road look.


left right

From the side, the Cayenne, as I said, is the sportier of the two. Indeed, the five-inch difference in height beyond the two is not negligible and can be seen with the naked eye. Porsche fitted the Cayenne with some protruding flares to make it look purposeful, and the rocker panel also pokes forward a bit for a more muscular look. The roofline slightly curves down towards the tail end, but this is masked by the presence of a roof spoiler.

You can see the curvature by the way the rear window is tilted, following the line of the angled C-pillar. The pillar is a bit more angled than before, and this is evident by the smaller rear quarter window aft of the back doors. There are o less than 17 rim options available of varying sizes (anywhere between 19 inches and over 20 inches just like on the Merc that can be equipped with rims in excess of 23 inches in diameter).

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836135

The Mercedes, meanwhile, is a lot more boxy with a straight roofline and an almost straight back section but even it features a slightly curved rear quarter window that makes the back end seem a bit less blocky than, say, the back of a Lincoln Navigator with its rectangular windows all around.

As you'd expect, the GLS features bulging fender flares, the body featuring a sort of a cut before the actual flare comes into its own.

Also, there’s something on the 2020 GLS that you’ll never see on any 2020 Cayenne (or any Cayenne ever for that matter): a stepper to help you get in and out of Merc’s full-size SUV.


left right

The rear of the Cayenne is very familiar. It shares its DNA with most other Porsche models, and by that, I mean that you’ll find the same narrow light clusters with a narrow strip of LEDs going across the width of the rear fascia, just above where the Porsche name is spelled out in the middle of the hatch. The rear window itself is actually quite small, framed by the roof spoiler and the pillars on the sides and it’s also angled so rearward visibility is very limited meaning that you will have to rely on the cameras no matter how old school you are.

The lower bumper features the hazard lights and the quad exhaust tips that can be two on the standard model (with a more edgy design) or four (with a round design) on the Cayenne S and the Cayenne Turbo. There’s also a small diffuser in between the exhaust outlets with four short fins sprouting out of the plastic cover of the back end.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836134
The GLS boasts a redesigned back end. Is it nicer than before?

Frankly, I’m no fan of the X7-esque narrow taillights that wrap around the corners of the back end, but they’re not too bad. The light cluster itself features two LED strips, one inboard, within the narrower part of the taillight that’s on the hatch, and one outboard on the part of the taillight that goes around the corners of the vehicle. The number plate is placed on a recessed center panel on the hatch - the hatch itself is pushed in by comparison to the edge of the rear bumper anyway. The GLS seen at the 2019 New York Auto Show sports two horizontal exhaust tips placed coming out of the plastic cover that comes on top of the lower bumper area.

Overall, the Cayenne wins the battle of the exteriors.

It’s simply sleeker and easier on the eyes than the GLS with its stocky back end and ungainly taillights. In my view, the front end of the third-generation Mercedes looks better, but you can’t compare it with the refined look of the Porsche that’s just got prettier as years rolled by (remember the original Cayenne with those 996-inspired taillights on top of what seemed to be some 996 Turbo-esque air vents?)

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior
- image 728783

Size-wise, though, the GLS is the one that’ll be harder to park. Its 123.4-inch wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than that of the Cayenne, and this is also reflected by the overall length, the GLS measuring in at 205 inches while the Cayenne is a lot shorter at 193.6 inches. As I said, the GLS is five inches taller but also 1.4 inches narrower than the Cayenne, and this combo makes the Merc look more like a bus next to the low-slung Cayenne. But, then again, if you wanted a sleek Mercedes SUV, you’d go for something like a GLC that could easily do battle with Porsche’s newest maybe, the Cayenne Coupe.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS vs. 2020 Porsche Cayenne exterior dimensions
2020 Porsche Cayenne 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
Wheelbase 117.51 inches 123.4 inches
Length 193.62 inches 205.0 inches
Width (including mirrors) 78.07 (86.37) inches 84.9 inches
Height 66.77 inches 71.8 inches
Track width, front/rear 66.14/65.86 inches TBA


left right

Mercedes-Benz says the third-generation GLS is more luxurious than ever. The automaker talks about a lot of new features, but most of them revolve around the seats: the fact that all of them (all seven that is) are electronically adjustable, that you get "two fully-fledged seats" in the third row, and that all seats fold down at the push of a button. What is more, if two "luxury individual seats" aren’t your thing in the second row, you can opt for a bench seating three instead. Also, you get five-zone climate control (standard on the GLS580 and an option on the GLS450), and there are USB charging ports for the third row as well as the second row - the total number of USB ports is now up to nine.

It's worth pointing out that if you go for the two ministerial seats in the second row, you'll get tons of massaging options.

Ambient lighting is an industry must in this class, and the GLS offers plenty of it and, besides the cool lighting, your ears will be soothed with music coming from the Burmester sound system. An automated in-car fragrance dispenser is also available. If you go for the bench seat and you plan on stuffing your GLS with stuff, Mercedes says that the second row has a 60:40-split folding ability with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836147

The passengers in the third-row seats can get in and out of the GLS easier than before thanks to the ’Easy Entry’ feature whereby the seats in the second row automatically move forwards and fold when you want to get in or out. Mercedes says that people with a height upwards of 6.4 feet can ride in the rearmost row of the GLS. We don’t yet know the interior dimensions of the full-size SUV, but we do know that the middle row legroom has been increased by 3.4 inches which is significant since the legroom of the old GLS already exceeded what the BMW X7, for instance, offered - 38.5 inches versus just 37.6 inches in the BMW.

MotorTrend, whose reporter sat in both the Navigator and the GLS, said that "speaking of third rows, the GLS’ is just spacious enough for my six-foot frame, with the biggest compromise being legroom. Headroom - something most three-row SUVs lack - is ample in the Mercedes." Sadly, we don’t have all the figures when it comes to the Porsche’s interior although the current Cayenne has already been on the market for a few years but with a six-inch-shorter wheelbase (and 2.4 inches longer than on the old GLS), you can imagine space is limited in the Cayenne in comparison to the GLS.

This is not to say the Porsche is cramped buy due to a more curved roofline, headroom in the back isn't as good as in an SUV with a straight roofline.
2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836182

Going back to the features available inside the GLS, the ministerial seats in the second row come with an added posh option: a 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station that through which you can control all the features of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. This means you no longer have to pray that the driver listens to your wishes, you can simply change the radio station at your own will, for example. Mercedes adds that "it is even possible to order rear seats with a lumbar massage function and climate control as an additional option for the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus in the second row."

The system can obviously be operated by the front-seated passengers who've got at their disposal two 12.3-inch screens.

One is meant to display the gauges while the other is for the infotainment system. This screen mounted atop the center console is gesture-sensitive, and you also benefit from the presence of an in-car voice assistant that can learn your habits and predict when you’re about to ask it to do stuff that leads to moments of you thinking to yourself that the vehicle you’re in has started to read your mind. That’s not the case - yet! - but machine learning is undoubtedly a welcomed addition. Of course, the GLS offers Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility with any of the two versions available thus far, and you can opt for open-pore wood trim on the dash and interior door panels. A heads-up display is available too.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Interior
- image 728900

The Cayenne, meanwhile, can seat just five people but those five people will be hugged by well-bolstered, Alcantara-wrapped seats in the front and a comfy bench in the back. The front seats are eight-way adjustable, and the seats in the back can recline and slide with a 40:20:40 split. You will at least need sensors with the Cayenne due to its tiny rear window (although a camera in the back would be the best choice), but they don’t come in standard with the cheapest trim level.

With this being said, you do get plenty standard features: dual-zone climate control (the GLS can also be had with three-zone or four-zone climate control), a seven-inch touch-screen display, navigation, a USB port, Bluetooth, and the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system. The digital screen on the center console is lacking in size compared to what Merc offers but I reckon Porsche will amend this in the near future as part of the standard equipment.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Interior Wallpaper quality
- image 728784

If you have money to spend, though, you can have Porsche fit your Cayenne with quad-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof (the GLS’ options list also includes a panoramic sunroof that’s bigger), a proximity key, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a 14-speaker Bose audio system. A 16-speaker Burmester surround system is in the list too for true audiophiles.

As you'd expect from any vehicle (not only any luxury car) made these days, both the Cayenne and the Mercedes GLS try their best to keep you safe.

The Mercedes ups the ante with adaptive cruise control with the traffic-jam assist option that cuts vehicle speed as it approaches accidents detected by real-time traffic data. The system can maintain control of the car’s acceleration and braking up to 37 mph. Blind-spot monitors and surround-view cameras come standard. The Porsche is available with adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, lane departure warning, emergency brake assist, and a surround-view camera on top of the rear-mounted camera I talked about before.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Interior
- image 729008

While nobody has taken the new GLS out on the open road to test its prowess at eating miles, it’s fair to assume it offers a very comfortable ride, one that’s more dampened than in the sportier Cayenne whose seats offer slightly better lumbar support. Still, this is to be expected as a Porsche that completely lacks a sporty side is no longer a Porsche in my book.

Talking cargo space, there’s really no contest. We don’t know how roomy the 2020 GLS is but the old model came with 16 cubic feet of space in the back with all three seats up versus 23.6 cubic feet in the back of the Cayenne with the second row up. If you fold the second row, you end up with as much as 62.9 cubic feet of cargo space in the base Cayenne and 62 cubic feet in the Cayenne S and the Cayenne Turbo. Meanwhile, if you fold the third row in the previous GLS, you get upwards of 93.8 cubic feet of room. I guess the new model will come with similar values (may be smaller due to the larger size of the "fully-fledged" third-row seats).

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS vs. 2020 Porsche Cayenne interior dimensions
2020 Porsche Cayenne 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS
Front headroom 40 inches TBA
Front shoulder room 59 inches TBA
Front hip room 58 inches TBA
Luggage capacity (second row up) 23.7 cubic feet TBA
Maximum cargo capacity 62.9 cubic feet (62 cubic feet Cayenne S/Cayenne Turbo) TBA
Rear headroom TBA TBA
Rear shoulder room TBA TBA
Rear hip room TBA TBA


2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836144
Upon launch, Mercedes-Benz unveiled two versions of the GLS: the GLS450 4-Matic and the GLS580 4-Matic.

The first one is a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six (not the same 3.0-liter six-pot available in the old GLS but a close relative). This engine puts out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on its own which translate to naught to 62 mph time of 5.9 seconds, a full second quicker than the retired 3.0-liter, inline-six. I say on its own because Mercedes fits both engines with the EQ Boost starter generator, a 48-volt system that can offer a short-lived dose of extra oomph and also powers the clever active suspension. When you activate the EQ Boost, you get a further 184 pound-feet of twist and 21 horsepower on top of what the engine produces.

The GLS580 4-Matic sports a new 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 that cranks out 489 horsepower and 516 pound-feet unaided. With the EQ Boost, on, those numbers grow visibly, up by 184 pound-feet and 22 horsepower. According to Mercedes-Benz, "the integrated starter generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology." Both engines are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission.

2020 Mercedes GLS drivetrain specifications
Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4MATIC Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC
Engine V-8 with 48-volt on-board electrical system six-cylinder in- line engine electrified with 48-volt technology
Horsepower 483 HP 362 HP
Torque 516 LB-FT 369 LB-FT
EQ Boost 184 LB-FT and 21 HP 184 LB-FT and 21 HP
Transmission 9G-TRONIC automatic 9G-TRONIC automatic
2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836151
All GLS' come in standard with the Airmatic suspension system with the Adaptive Damping System Plus feature that adapts the damping characteristics to the road conditions.

As an option, there’s the E-Active Body Control suite which, in effect, does largely the same job as the Airmatic suspension, only better. It uses the energy that comes from the 48-volt EQ Boost system to activate the hydropneumatics in the suspension "that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body." The same system has its own ’Recovery’ mode for when your GLS gets stuck in a ditch somewhere. When in that situation, just enable the ’Recovery’ mode and witness as the suspension has the SUV jerking back and forth (coupled with changes in the air pressure of the tires) in an attempt to free itself from the ditch, with help from your inputs behind the wheel, obviously.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 828817

In the Porsche camp, the Cayenne is available in four trims: the standard one, the Cayenne S, the Cayenne Turbo and the Cayenne E-Hybrid. We know for a fact that there won’t be an electrified GLS, so Porsche has the higher ground with its hybrid version.

The standard Cayenne is powered by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 that puts out 340 horsepower between 5,300-6,400 rpm and 331 pound-feet of torque between 1,340–5,300 rpm.

0 to 60 mph is achieved in 5.9 seconds without the Chrono Pack that slashes 0.3 seconds off that time. The Cayenne S, meanwhile, is urged on by a twin-turbocharged, 2.9-liter V-6 with 440 horsepower between 5,700-6,600 rpm on tap and 405 torques between @ 1,800–5,500 rpm. 0-to-60 mph takes no more than 4.9 seconds (4.6 seconds with the $2,370 Chrono Pack). Top speed ranges between 152 mph and 164 mph. Expect the Mercedes-Benz GLS to be electronically limited to 155 mph.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior
- image 728781

For ultimate performance, there’s the Cayenne Turbo with its 541 horsepower 4.0-liter V-8. Torque is rated at 567 pound-feet while 0-to-60 mph is achieved in just 3.9 seconds (3.7 seconds with Performance Start). Top speed is 177 mph, incredible for a car that weighs about 4,500 pounds (to be precise, between 4,377 and 4,795 pounds depending on version). With this being said, the GLS will be much heavier since the current GLS63 AMG weighs almost 5,800 pounds, so you’ve got to give praise to the Mercedes engineers for that sub-six-second 0-to-62 mph time (which means the 0 to 60 mph time is in the region of 5.6 seconds). The Cayenne comes with the usual eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels.

2020 Porsche Cayenne drivetrain specifications
2020 Porsche Cayenne 2020 Porsche Cayenne S 2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo
Engine Type V6 turbo V6 bi-turbo 4.0-liter V-8
No. of cylinders 6 6 8
Displacement 3.0-liter 2.9-liter 4.0-liter
Bore 84.5 mm 84.5 mm 86.0 mm
Stroke 89.0 mm 86.0 mm 86.0 mm
Max. power output 340 HP @ 5,300-6,400 RPM 440 HP @ 5,700-6,600 RPM 550 HP @ 5,750-6,000 RPM
Max. torque 331 LB-FT @ 1,340–5,300 RPM 405 LB-FT @ 1,800–5,500 RPM 567 LB-FT @ 1,960 - 4,500 RPM
0 to 60 mph (with Sport Plus) 5.8 seconds (5.6 seconds) 4.9 seconds (4.6 seconds) 3.9 sec (3.7 sec with Performance Start)
Top Speed 152 mph 164 mph 177 mph

The Cayenne E-Hybrid doesn’t offer any surprises in the engine bay as there sits the same 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 as in any other standard Cayenne. The engine delivers 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque while the electric motor delivers 134 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Total system output is, thus, rated at 455 horsepower between 5,250 and 6,400 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque that maxes out between 1,000 and 3,750 rpm. The E-Hybrids needs just 4.7 seconds to reach 60 mph en route to a top speed of 157 mph. According to our full-blown review on the model, "the battery is a 14.1-kWh unit that’s 30-percent larger than the outgoing model and can offer as much as 27.3 miles of all-electric range. If you plug into a 230-volt, 32-amp outlet with the optional 7.2 kWh charger, you can recharge the battery in as little as 2.3 hours."

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior
- image 728778
Now, as you can tell, the Porsche is the more powerful and, overall, quicker model - as expected.

But here’s something you wouldn’t expect: the Cayenne can tow more than the previous-generation GLS! A 2020 Cayenne can tow, if properly equipped, up to 7,700 pounds of load while a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS, regardless of the engine you choose, can only tow up to 7,500 pounds. I guess the new model might break past the 8,000-pound mark, but we’ll have to wait and see the official numbers from the German automaker.


2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836156
When you start thinking about buying a luxury SUV, no matter the niche, you know it's going to be an expensive ride.

You know that the base MSRP is merely an illusion as every option inflates the final price substantially. Take the Cayenne for instance. A base model costs just $65,700, but this price too is deceiving because it doesn’t include taxes, delivery, processing or any other sort of dealer fees. So, once you remember that, you go into the process of ’building’ your car.

The paint on a Cayenne costs $800 if the two gloss colors available, white and black, don’t float your boat and you’d rather have a metallic tint. The most expensive wheels, namely the black Cayenne Sport Classic ones, cost $6,630 and Porsche will charge you $190 even for the painter center wheel caps with the Porsche logo on them. If you want a full-leather cabin, you’ll have to pay anywhere between $3,7450 and $5,740 depending on the color combos and types of leather you pick. The sports seats cost $2,320 while the panoramic roof a cool $1,850. The interior handles wrapped in leather add a whopping $1,380 if you want’em wrapped in Alcantara leather and if you crave for the exterior ’Sport Design’ package with carbon fiber trim pieces, you’ll see $8,370 vanish from your wallet.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior
- image 728998

All in all, while a top-of-the-line Cayenne Turbo starts at $124,600, you can push it all the way to $166,310 if you fill it to the brim with options. A Cayenne S starts at $82,900 which is $3,000 more than the price of a Cayenne E-Hybrid.

We don't know the full price list of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS, but we do know the old one ranged between $70,150 (GLS450 4-Matic) and $126,150 (GLS63 AMG).

The model that bridges the gap is the GLS550 4-Matic with a base MSRP of $95,750. The AMG model is the one powered by a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 capable of 577 horsepower, 561 pound-feet of torque and a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. The AMG is, thus, 27 horsepower more powerful than the current Cayenne Turbo and less than $2,000 more expensive. Then again, once you start adding in the options...

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836171

I’d expect the prices of the new GLS to go up a bit and, of course, the upcoming GLS AMG will be even more expensive but also offer even more oomph for the buck. For the fun of it all, I also looked at how much Mercedes-Benz charges you for things as mundane as the paint of the outgoing GLS. Like in Porsche’s case, only white and black come free of charge. A darker tint of metallic red costs $1,080 while a creamy white will set you back $1,515. And yes, I call it creamy white because I reckon "Diamond White" is entirely too pretentious for what it is. I used to like BMW’s way of naming the M colors on their palette, stuff like Avus Blue, Sebring Grey, Misano Red, Daytona Grey or that awesome tint of blue you see on some E46-generation M3s called Laguna Seca Blue.

Anyway, moving on from colors, I’ll have you know that the panoramic roof costs $1,090 and the ’Lighting package’ with active LEDs will grab $1,390 from your pocket. The leather inside can also cost you a pretty penny, and if you go for Nappa leather you’ll pay as much as $4,900 but, at least, the wood trim is cheap at just $160. The grab-all Premium Package for the cabin costs $3,390 and offers a plethora of gizmos like heated mirrors, seats, steering wheel, active this, and electric that. It’s one of the things that’s probably worth the money, unlike the $6,000 "Grand Edition" package.

Which is Better?

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 728779
The Porsche Cayenne is a great SUV, you can't deny that, and I'm pretty sure the GLS we've just seen debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show will become popular in its own segment.

They both do their jobs well but, because they cater to different people, it’s hard to say who does its job better.

If you’re worried that quick sedans or coupes will leave you in a cloud of dust at a red light, pick the Cayenne. If road trips are your thing and you’ve got a big family, pick the GLS. If you want a sleeker SUV that doesn’t resemble a modern-day International Harvester Scout, pick the Cayenne. If you enjoy all the extra creature comforts offered by the Merc, pick the GLS. If, for you, the three-pointed star just isn’t posh enough, pick the Cayenne.

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836138
At the end of the day, it's all about what you want from the SUV that's about to be parked in your lane.

The GLS is more practical, a tad cleverer while still being no slouch in terms of performance. The Cayenne looks better, is quicker, but is also refined enough to satisfy just about anybody who’s not sat in a mundane Honda Accord for decades being too busy exchanging BMW 7 Series for Mercedes-Benz S-Classes and so on and so forth. Pricing-wise, it isn’t much to choose from between the two when you start adding options.

Further reading

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne
- image 836136

Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS.

The 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo: An SUV with Attitude and Sports Car Performance High Resolution Exterior
- image 731157

Read our full review on the 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

2020 Mercedes GLS vs 2020 Porsche Cayenne High Resolution Exterior
- image 729002

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche Cayenne.

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert -
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: