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Car Review

Mercedes-Benz GLB review

£38,055 - £46,505
710
Published: 28 Nov 2023
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

It’s quite an old-fashioned drive, the GLB – which is no bad thing. It embraces its wafty SUV credentials, offering a calm, unfussy ride. Driving the GLB smoothly is easy thanks to progressive, consistently weighted steering and pedals, which encourage a relaxed driving style and ought to keep your passengers happy.

Tyre roar on the motorway is minimal, even with big wheels fitted, but there is a bit of buffeting around the large door mirrors.

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What are the engines like? 

The best all rounder is the 220d with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The 2.0-litre diesel is a solid engine: quiet if you don’t clog it, transmits no nasty vibrations through the bulkhead, pedals or steering wheel, and delivers its 187bhp in smooth, linear fashion. It’s plenty fast enough too: 0-62mph takes 7.6 seconds and the top speed is 135mph.

It's a good mate for the eight-speed dual-clutch auto, which is smoother, quicker shifting and more cleverly calibrated than the old seven-speed still used by the petrol-engined, front-wheel drive GLB 200 and many A-Classes. It’s more than happy to make use of the 295lb ft offered up from just 1,600rpm.

The 200d uses the same four-cylinder diesel engine as the 220d, just with 40 fewer horsepower. It can accelerate from 0-62mph in nine seconds and has a top speed of 127mph (or 9.3 seconds and 125mph if you choose all-wheel drive). We’ve not tried it, but you could probably save some money and go for the less powerful car. A family bus like the GLB doesn’t need to be quite so fast as the 220d.

What about the petrol engine?

The GLB 200 is worth thinking about if you spend a lot of time driving in town (the diesel is a great companion for motorway cruising) but can’t quite stomach the thought of the EQB electric version of the car. 

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Performance is acceptable (0-62mph in 9.1s) but load it up with people/things and it may struggle as it only has 184lb ft of torque to the 200d’s 236 and 220d’s 295. The 1.3-litre motor, shared with Renault/Nissan, gives 161bhp. Largely quiet but a bit thrashy at high revs. The seven-speed auto feels better here than it does in the A-Class or B-Class, but it remains inferior to the eight speeder.

And what about the AMG version?

The GLB 35, meanwhile, is a curious item. It shares an engine with the A35 hot hatch, but added size (and therefore weight) means it’s a little slower. ‘Only’ 5.3 seconds to 62mph, which, trust us, is plenty fast enough. It’s an effective engine, this 302bhp 2.0-litre turbo, but not an especially exciting one. The exhaust note is droney, and the power delivery a bit flat.

The 35 is obviously firm but controls its heft well, rolls progressively and isn’t all that uncomfortable. This is a safe, secure feeling car that majors on grip – something it has vast reserves of – but lacks nuance. It’s all a bit one-dimensional, as evidenced by the fact even if you turn the ESP all the way off, the car still cuts power long before you get anywhere near the limit. Not that any owners should or indeed will care. Cross country, it's still rather rapid.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

GLB 200 AMG Line Premium Plus 5dr 7G-Tronic
  • 0-629.3s
  • CO2
  • BHP160.9
  • MPG
  • Price£46,505

the cheapest

GLB 200 Sport Executive 5dr 7G-Tronic
  • 0-629.3s
  • CO2
  • BHP160.9
  • MPG
  • Price£38,055

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