In-depth reviews

Mercedes GLB review - Engines, performance & drive

The GLB is smooth and comfortable, but not in the least bit exciting to drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Seven-seat practicality
  • Efficient engines
  • Impressive tech
  • Dull to drive
  • Small boot in seven-seat mode
  • Can get expensive

The Mercedes-Benz GLB is competent to drive without offering any real involvement. The large alloy wheels are shod in relatively high-profile rubber, which means the GLB rides pretty well for a German SUV.

The suspension is conventional, with the GLB featuring MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Handling is reassuringly predictable and there’s a hint of body-roll to remind you that you’re driving a relatively high-sided vehicle, but generally it’s very good. Only the overly light steering lets the side down, but even this comes into its own in the city and when parking.

Only the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 gets adaptive dampers, but frankly, you won’t miss them. Every model has standard steel springs, with no option of air suspension. This gives the GLC a point of difference from the GLB.

Although 4Matic four-wheel drive is available on some models, the GLB is never going to rival a Land Rover Discovery Sport off road. However, it’s ideal for grass car parks, gravel tracks and slippery roads.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

Although diesel-powered vehicle sales might be in decline, Mercedes-Benz expects the majority of GLBs it sells to have a diesel engine. Despite this, the entry-level engine is the 161bhp 1.3-litre turbo petrol in the GLB 200, which will accelerate to 62mph in 9.1 seconds, before hitting a top speed of 129mph. It’s fine for school runs and urban commuting, but with only 250Nm of torque, it’s not ideal for travelling with seven people and for long journeys.

The GLB 200 d is the entry-level diesel option. It uses a 148bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine to give a 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 127mph. There’s also a useful 320Nm of torque. It’s an engine that’s used to good effect in larger Mercedes-Benz SUVs, so it feels plenty quick enough in the GLB. It’s also available with 4Matic four-wheel drive.

The GLB 220 d uses the same diesel engine, but with the power increased to 187bhp. It gets 4Matic as standard which, when combined with 400Nm of torque, makes this the best GLB for towing. The 0-62mph time is 7.6 seconds, while the top speed is 135mph.

Finally, the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 306bhp. It’ll hit 62mph in 5.2 seconds, with a top speed limited to 155mph. Thanks to adaptive damping, it’s surprisingly good fun to drive, but it’s likely to be a niche seller in the UK.

A fully electric Mercedes-Benz EQB crossover is expected to go on sale in 2021.

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