Indeed, and this is the one Middle England has been waiting for: the MkII Audi Q5 in sporty S line trim with the sensible 189bhp, 2.0-litre diesel, automatic gearbox and quattro all-wheel-drive. Samey recipe, samey looks.
Just as the Q5 is an A4 Avant on tiptoes, the Mercedes-Benz GLC jacks up a C-Class estate powertrain, interior and tech. This is the most powerful four-cylinder version, with 201bhp (plus 369lb ft of torque) and nine gears.
Which is more practical?
Plenty of rear legroom and headroom in the Q5, but the sculpted rear seats mean three across the back is going to be more uncomfortable than in the Benz. Smaller rear doors impede access, too.
The GLC wins points for slightly longer rear doors, a flatter rear seat and flat loading sill where the Audi has a ledge in the boot. Both cars offer 550 litres seats-up. The Audi is better for all-round visibility.
I’m doing big distance: Audi or Mercedes?
Proper split decision, this. The Audi is unbelievably quiet for a four-pot diesel – the cold start is so smooth you’ll wonder if it’s petrol-powered, and there’s a mite less wind noise than the Merc. But, beyond the initial getaway, the Q5 is a bit more sluggish and the high-speed ride is choppy. No SQ5 dynamic sharpness has been transplanted.
Things are different in the Mercedes. Air suspension, so you can pump the ride height and have comfy or sporty modes, is a £1,495. Like all Airmatic Mercs, it makes the body control lollopy, pitching around at speed with body roll at odds with the fast steering… but it is comfier over big bumps than this Q5. Ageing 2.1-litre engine is a proper rattlebox; bring on the new 2.0-litre from the latest E-Class.
Can the Q5 be beaten inside?
Not material-wise. The bits you touch are simply more tactile and the infotainment is friendlier. However, it’s a much more austere place to be, where the Mercedes feels rich and welcoming.
The Merc wins on baroque design but feels plasticky in places. There’s more stowage space up front thanks to the gear lever cleverly migrating to behind the steering wheel, though.
What’s the verdict?
Audi: Ace refinement and top-notch cabin undone by unsettled ride. The Mercedes? A good cruiser. Pleasant to sit in. But that diesely rattle needs sorting. Exceptionally close, but the Mercedes clinches it.