New 7-seater is pragmatic and effective GLB from Mercedes-Benz

Every now and then, writes Iain Robertson, a new model arrives (or will in December) that makes you step back in amazement but demands a closer look, because it bucks trends in several key areas and may even change your views.

Although I admit to being ‘lost’, when attempting to unravel Merc’s model-naming policy, the latest GLB is one-up (I think) from GLA but offers practical seven-seat accommodation, in a square-rigged but handsome vehicle that is only marginally larger than a VW Tiguan but carries a similar but good value price premium. In fact, that is not a bad summary at all.

Available with either front-wheel, or all-wheel drive, GLB is powered by a choice of 163bhp turbo-petrol, or 150/190bhp turbo-diesel engines. They can accelerate the car from 0-60mph between 7.3 and 9.0s, with top speeds ranging from 120 to 135mph, while delivering between 47.1 to 56.5mpg, with CO2 emissions running from 133 to 146g/km, to keep road tax within affordable bounds. They drive through an 8-speed, twin-clutch, automated-manual gearbox.

The entry-level Sport version is equipped as standard with 18.0-inch diameter, five-spoke alloy wheels, Dynamic Select, which provides a choice of four driving modes, comfort suspension, LED headlights and tail lights, a 180° reversing camera, aluminium roof rails, two-zone Thermotronic climate control system, heated front seats, a Light and Sight customisable interior illumination package, ‘Artico’ man-made leather upholstery (no cows died for this Merc), a DAB tuner, allied to a six-speaker/100 watt sound system, a seven-inch digital cockpit display and seven-inch touchscreen media display, the MBUX multimedia system. It includes ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation, plus Mercedes me connect (which includes emergency call system, eCall, accident recovery, breakdown management and maintenance management). It is a most comprehensive package.

Standard safety and driver assistance programmes include Active Brake Assist, Active bonnet, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, Speed Limit Assist and Keyless-Go locking and unlocking. Upgrade to AMG Line models and they add 19.0-inch diameter, five-twin-spoke alloy wheels, AMG body-styling, privacy glass, combined ‘Artico’  and Dinamica microfibre upholstery.

Premium models come as standard with 64-colour ambient lighting, Mirror package that includes automatic folding exterior mirrors and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a parking package that includes reversing camera and parking sensors, pre-installation for trailer coupling, Augmented Reality Navigation, 10.25-inch infotainment display and 10.25-inch digital cockpit display, allied to a Mercedes-Benz 10-speaker/225 watt sound system, with smartphone integration and wireless charging. Finally, the range topping GLB AMG Line Premium Plus model, which is the only one available with just five seats, incorporates Multibeam LED headlamps, with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, a panoramic sunroof, Driving Assistance pack and Traffic Sign Assist.

Pre-discount pricing starts at a modest £34,200 for the GLB200 Sport, while the top-of-the-shop 5-seater commands a price tag of £45,950. I am sure that I am not alone in perceiving the GLB as the best value model in the extensive ‘Three-Pointed-Star’ line-up. Just in case Merc has made a mistake, I would advise placing orders early, before the company changes its mind!

FCD Summary

Typical of Merc, the GLB handles well and offers plenty of space for the modern family, we believe genuinely that it represents one of the best new cars the firm has launched in ages.

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