THE Mercedes-Benz GLB model was previously unveiled to the public at the Shanghai Auto Show in April 2019 as a concept car.Less than a year after world launch, the GLB 250 will be in Zimbabwe, courtesy of Zimoco, the only official Mercedes-Benz dealership in Zimbabwe. It is arriving next month.
Mercedes-Benz claims that the GLB is the most versatile compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) they have ever built. The GLB is selling so well in Europe that demand is outstripping supply.
The GLB 250 is a practical SUV that has fashionable grandeur and comfort on offer, combined with the electronic sophistication you expect at this segment of the market. This makes the GLB a worthy contender on the luxury motoring market.
The sixth SUV model from the storied German marque, the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class is positioned between the GLA and GLC. Zimbabweans love SUVs and they have an affection for a prestige badge. Boxier than both the GLC and the outgoing GLA (which itself will soon be replaced by an even sportier, high-riding five-door crossover model), the new Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class shares its front/all-wheel drive MFA II compact-car platform with the new A-Class and CLA-Class models.
Judging how all crossover niches have expanded in recent years, the GLB is a necessary addition to the Mercedes-Benz line-up. With BMW and Audi already present in this segment, Merc needed to step up and offer a solid competitor.
The fact that the GLB has a boxy, G-Class-inspired design plays an important role here, as it allows drivers access to a more affordable, more city-friendly version of the military-style SUV. That is something BMW and Audi cannot offer right now. And the only option available is the Jeep Renegade, which is no match for the GLB in terms of premium features and technology.
The GLB joins the Land Rover Discovery, as well as the mainstream Volkswagen Tiguan, in a fairly new group of compact SUVs with a small third-row available; you might fit the Lexus RX-L into that group, as well. It is bigger also than the Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Pitched as a versatile and spacious family SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class claims class-leading headroom of 1 035mm, 967mm of rear legroom in the second row.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class will arrive in Zimbabwe as a petrol-only for now.
The GLB 250 will roll on 18-inch alloys. They are fitted with adaptive dampers and steel springs. There is no air suspension option on the GLB.
It has off-road electronic aids fitted, such as hill descent control and 50/50 front/rear drive lock, which Mercedes claims gives the mid-size SUV some off-road “capability”.
The roof height is carried rearwards all the way to the powered tailgate, delivering good headroom even in the rearmost row.There is a very welcoming feel to the interior. It is light and spacious — even without the optional sunroof.
At the same time, the beltline is lower than we often see in this class of vehicle. There iss plenty of glass and combined with a slight “theatre seating” effect, smaller adults and children will easily be able to see out of both the second and third rows. Rear three-quarter visions is also excellent.
A familiar dual-widescreen cockpit display based on the latest version of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment platform greets the driver and front passenger in the new Mercedes-Benz GLB. If you thought your wife was talkative now add a talking car to the equation.
Simple “analog” climate controls also look like they have been crafted from alloy. The overall effect is substantial and suits the GLB’s “can do” character.
It has Led High-Performance headlights and Multibean Led headlights, LED fog lights, Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Steering Assist, Active Lange Change Assist and Active Parking Assist with Parktronic.
When the GLB was tested by Euro NCAP it was awarded a maximum five-star crash rating. The GLB250 is quiet and refined and both ride exceptionally well. Indeed, even on its 18-inch wheels, it simply soaks up road irregularities — big and small
Its cabin is cultured and quiet and there is a very grown up feel to the way the 250 rides and responds to inputs. The relatively long wheelbase means there is little pitch on throttle or brake and lateral control is excellent.
Two aspects above all impress — the cabin packaging and execution, and the on-road refinement. The GLB 250 4MATIC is quiet, comfortable, rides like a limo and provides the space and the family-friendly proportions that should make it a hit.
Can you ask for more in a mid-size seven-seater? Even if it does not win awards, the success of the GLB is almost a given. It is the right size, it is wearing the right badge, it is got all the tech you would expect and it is an SUV.
All that aside, however, the GLB still deserves to be a runaway success.
It might be the newest Mercedes-Benz SUV, but I reckon, it is the best . . . By a margin.
Engine: 2-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol
0-100km/h Time: 6,9 seconds
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch, all-wheel drive
Fuel: 7,2L/100km petrol
Safety rating: Five-star (Euro NCAP 2019)