Copper- and Iron- based metal-zeolite SCR catalysts are widely used in US and European diesel aftertreatment systems to achieve drastic reduction in NOx emission. These catalysts are highly selective to N2 under wide range of operating conditions. Nevertheless, the type of transition metal has a significant impact on the key performance and durability parameters such as NOx conversion, selectivity towards N2O, hydrothermal stability, and sensitivity to fuel sulfur content. In this study, we explained the differences in the performance characteristics of these catalysts based on their relative acidic-basic nature of transition metal present in these catalysts using practically relevant gas species present in diesel exhaust such as NO2, SOx, and NH3. These experiments show that Fe-zeolite has relatively acidic nature as compared to Cu-zeolite that causes NH3 inhibition and hence explains low NOx conversion on Fe-zeolite at low temperature under standard SCR conditions. Similarly, relatively basic nature of Cu-zeolite results in more prominent SOx storage and performance deactivation in the presence of acidic contaminant like SOx and required higher temperatures for desulfation as compared to Fe-zeolite.