- Dynamic design
- Top-level technology
- High quality materials
- Versatile interior space
With SUVs and compact cars being bestsellers for Mercedes-Benz, the premium German carmaker argued that combining the two for an extra model in their already extensive range made perfect sense.
After driving the GLB AMG Line Premium trim, it is difficult to argue. This fairly small SUV is enjoyable to drive and combines great space and practicality with the usual high-end features that are expected of the brand.
Engine and Performance
There are a range of trims and engines to choose from for the GLB model, as well as all-wheel drive being available as standard on all diesel versions, offering genuine off-road potential.
Our test car was the mid-range AMG Line Premium trim with all-wheel drive, powered by the more potent of the diesel engines - a 187bhp, 2.0-litre unit - mated to the 8-speed automatic gearbox, which offers an attractive blend of punchy performance and reasonable fuel economy.
The GLB shifts from 0 to 62mph in a brisk 7.6 seconds and on to a top speed of 135mph while still returning up to 47.9mpg on average.
Power is delivered promptly and smoothly with the 4x4 system offering plenty of grip and traction, while the ride is comfortable and surprisingly refined for an oil-burner, even under sharp acceleration.
Motorway miles are eaten up in a relaxed manner, while the GLB is equally at home in city areas, where its well-weighted steering and relatively compact proportions make it is easy to manoeuvre.
Design and Practicality
The GLB is the first compact Mercedes-Benz to offer 7-seat versatility, with a couple of fold away perches in the boot being standard across the range.
Reflecting these adventurous possibilities, the GLB has a more traditional 4x4 design than the GLA and GLC, with an upright, boxy stance and rounded edges to soften the angular form.
A muscular nose and similarly powerful looking vertical rear end give it real presence, while AMG body styling adds a bold grille, extra chrome detailing, a rear splitter and twin tailpipes.
The extra seats in the rear can rise or collapse easily from the boot floor and when they are not in use there is 500 litres of load space, which rises to 1,680 litres by folding down the 40-20-40 split middle row seats.
Equipment and Technology
The interior offers plenty of familiarity for anyone who has driven other compact Mercedes-Benz models. Twin screens - infotainment touchscreen and configurable driver display - are housed behind a single glass panel dominating the dashboard, while turbine-style rotary air vents are a stylish touch.
Setting the GLB apart though, is the tubular, aluminium effect detailing to the dashboard, doors, and centre console which complement the rugged exterior styling.
Passengers in the collapsible back seats are not left wanting for the basic creature comforts available to those in the permanent seats either, with all three rows getting their own USB ports, cup holders and air vents.
Typical of premium German brands, standard equipment is generous, but there is also a long list of optional features to choose from.
Our car had all the essentials and some, including navigation with a nifty augmented reality feature, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, keyless entry and ignition, lane keep assist, emergency brake assist, drive mode selector and colour-changing ambient internal lighting - which the family particularly enjoyed.
Overall, the Mercedes-Benz GLB model in the mid-range AMG Line Premium trim was an exhilarating and dynamic model to drive. The extensive features available made the drive more enjoyable for both the driver and passengers.
The contemporary design and plenty of trims and engines to choose from makes the GLB model a perfect addition to the Mercedes-Benz range.