2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB 220d 4Matic AMG Line Premium X247
With the marketplace more competitive than ever, car manufacturers are increasingly looking to base their new models on a common platform, and Mercedes-Benz are masters at it. The MFA2 chassis that underpins the A-Class is utilised across eight different models, from the Chinese-only A-Class long wheelbase saloon, to the European hatchback and saloon, the CLA four-door Coupé and Shooting Brake, to the B-Class and GLA-Class baby SUV. While most of those cars were direct replacements for models already in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, one final iteration, the GLB-Class, is set to expand the reach even further for the company’s range of compact cars. The GLB is a chunky seven-seat SUV that is designed along the same lines as a mini G-Class, without the sky-high price tag.
The interior of the GLB is quite simply glorious. It builds on the style and layout of the smaller A-Class, with classy night time mood lighting, propeller-like air vents and displays for the infotainment and instruments looking like one continuous screen. Other car makers have attempted to copy the brilliant design, but none pull it off with the elegance of Mercedes-Benz. If there’s any criticism to be made, though, and I’d stress that we’re nit-picking here, it’s that there’s a lot of different surfacing going on, including piano black, brushed aluminium, and faux carbon fibre. All the materials are of the best quality, with padded surfaces wherever you touch.
The command-like driving position gives a good view all around the car, and thanks to the deep windows, visibility is excellent. The seats on our test car were a faux leather and suede mix and these were grippy and supportive all at the same time. With the gear selector on a steering wheel mounted stalk, there’s plenty of space along the centre console, including a large storage area in front of the infotainment’s touch pad, as well as deep and wide door pockets, a sizeable glovebox and expansive space underneath the armrest that opens up in a butterfly fashion. There’s lots of headroom for all three rows, and wide opening rear doors makes access to the rear seats pretty easy. Legroom is generous in the first two rows, but it’s quite tight in the third row, though you can slide the middle row forward to balance it out. With all seats in place there’s enough boot space for a few squashy bags, and with the back seats folded down, there’s 500 litres of room up to the top of the back seats. The 218bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine does a great job of propelling the GLB along, with swift performance from rest.
Mid-range torque is plentiful and the eight-speed automatic kicks down quickly when needing some extra overtaking muscle. There’s a choice of four driving modes – Individual, Sport, Comfort and Eco – and paddleshifts allow you to take over manual control, if you feel like you want to. The engine is decently refined when warm, and you’ll only notice it’s there when you’re making liberal use of the accelerator pedal. Road and tyre noise are muted and at a motorway pace you’re likely to hear some wind flutter from around the driver’s door seal. The steering is pleasantly weighted, but ultimately doesn’t offer a great deal of feel, but handling is tidy through the bends and the grip is generous thanks to the 4Matic all-wheel-drive. Ride comfort is generally good, too, with all but the scruffiest of surfaces sufficiently isolated from occupants.
“The interior of the GLB is quite simply glorious.”
On sale | Now
In showrooms | Now
Prices | £37,380 to £46,855
Bodystyles | 5-door SUV
Engines | 2.0 diesel automatic (148bhp), 2.0 diesel automatic (188bhp)
Trim levels | AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Plus
Also consider | Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
Model tested | 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB 220d 4Matic AMG Line Premium X247
Price | £43,855
Built in | Aguascalientes, Mexico
Codename | X247 Platform | MFA2
Bodystyle | 5-door SUV, 7-seats
Layout | Four-wheel-drive
Powerplant | 1,950cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbo diesel
Transmission | 8-speed automatic
Stop-start | Yes SCR | Yes
Max power | 188bhp @ 3,800rpm
Max torque | 295lb ft @ 1,600-2,600rpm
Top speed | 135mph 0-62mph | 7.6secs
CO2 emissions (WLTP) | 156g/km (Euro-6d RDE2)
Economy (WLTP combined) | 47.1-47.9mpg
Fuel tank size | 60 litres Range | 632 miles
Insurance group | 35
BIK rate (2020/2021 tax year) | 34%
Size (length/width with mirrors) | 4,634/2,020mm
Boot space (min/max) | tba/500/1,680 litres
Kerb/max towing weight | 1,735/2,000kg
Euro NCAP crash rating | Not yet tested
Warranty | 3 years/Unlimited miles
Verdict | Pint-sized G-Class looks and seven seats are combined with the best interior in the business.