Quick, Enticing and Versatile Mercedes-Benz’ GLB 250 Dares to be Different
The Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 is a most interesting SUV proposition. It sits between the GLA and the GLC, second from the bottom, to complete Benz’ utility ladder. And it even comes as seven-seater. It’s biggest plus however, is that it’s quite different. See, rather than just pumping another sausage of a different length squeezed out of that Stuttgart machine, this one is nothing like the GLA below and GLC above.
GLB Looks Very Much its SUV Part
It looks far more like the utility vehicle it is, than just another pumped up saloon. GLB has more of a classic squared-off G Class look. Which is pretty cool all on its own. GLB also has a cavernous and spacious cabin. To set a spacious cat among those compact SUV pigeons. Merc says GLB redefine the versatile compact SUV market. We tend to agree…
But there’s more to the GLB. Quite a bit more, truth be told. Let’s start with its modernised, more powerful, torquier, thriftier and cleaner-burning four-cylinder petrol and engine and its bang up to date driveline. This 165 kW 350 Nm front-wheel drive GLB 250 is quick. The completely updated turbo 2-litre turns Merc’s 8G-DCT automatic transmission. They claim a GTI-chasing 6.9 second 0-100 km/h dash and 235 km/h top speed.
We got closer to six and a half. It sips an average 7.4 l/100km. And runs smooth and steady as you’d imagine in everyday driving, is more than versatile enough off it. Push a little and GLB 250 rewards energetic driving with aplomb, too. It’s compelling to drive. All that said, there’s far more to this car than just its GTi scaring street ability.
Powerful GLB 250 Proportions Look the Part
As we said, it’s different. GLB’s powerful proportions, unique LED headlights and short overhangs set it apart as a spacious and versatile family car that speaks to a whole new Mercedes-Benz audience. That off-road-focused G-wagon-inspired design features an upright nose, a rising waistline and muscular haunches. Stylised skid plates front and rear and protective cladding emphasise that off-road character.
GLB’s wide-opening doors reach down over their sills for easy access and you soon notice that GLB has class leading front row headroom and especially comfortable rear legroom in this one’s five-seat get-up. The 40:20:40 split folding second row bench can be moved fore and aft to grow GLB’s handy 570-litre trunk to 1800 litres deliver the versatility of a true estate car. The load cover shield can fold and stow in the handy and sizeable extra compartment under the height-adjustable boot floor.
GLB of course comes with Merc’s full state-of-the-art widescreen ‘My Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment. That offers powerful computing, brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation and full-colour head-up display. Ours even had the optional augmented reality navigation with learning software and voice activated ‘Hey Mercedes’ prompting.
GLB 250 Hits the Spot
Driving assistance systems are drawn from the S-Class, with improved camera and radar that allow the GLB to see up to 500 metres ahead and drive in semi-automated mode in certain situations. All very cool kit!
All in all, the all-new Mercedes-Benz GLB is a most interesting car that fills a needy void in Merc’s range. As well as in the market in general. This car’s biggest plus is probably however how different it is. It certainly seems Mercedes has hit the sweet spot again. Yes it’s still a relatively small car. But it certainly knows it’s big! – Michele Lupini
Images & testing: Giordano Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 Progressive Engine: 165 kW 350 Nm 2-litre turbo petrol I4 Drive: 8-speed dual-clutch Automatic FWD TESTED: 0-60 km/h: 2.88 sec 0-100 km/h: 6.53 sec 0-160 km/h: 16.89 sec 400m: 14.8 sec 153 km/h 80-120 km/h: 4.75 sec 120-160 km/h: 7.89 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 235 km/h Fuel City: 7/4 l/100 km CO2: 168 g/km Warranty/Service: 2y Unl./5y 100K km LIST PRICE R889K RATED: 8