What is it?
With the launch of its new GLB compact SUV, Mercedes-Benz has trained its guns directly on Land Rover and its formidable Discovery Sport. For a long while now, the baby Disco’s seven-seat layout and unrivalled off-road ability has allowed Land Rover to enjoy a monopoly of sorts in the premium family SUV market. The GLB, it seems, is here to make the SUV from Gaydon sweat a little.
Beneath the GLB’s boxy, baby GLS exterior lies Mercedes’ MFA2 platform - essentially the same architecture that underpins the A-Class hatch and, unsurprisingly, the B-Class compact MPV. Here, however, it’s been stretched out to accommodate the GLB’s third row of seating, so that it’s now a little over 4.6m in length. That makes it longer than a Discovery Sport, don’t you know.
There’s a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines to choose from presently; although a plug-in hybrid, a couple of hotter AMG models, and a fully electric version are all in the pipeline. Here, we’re sampling the range-topping GLB 220d diesel variant, which packs 189bhp and 295lb ft of torque - all of which is deployed to the road via an eight-speed auto ‘box and Mercedes’ 4Matic front-biased four-wheel-drive system. Suspension is by way of MacPherson struts and multiple links, with adaptive dampers available but not optioned on our £43,280 AMG Line Premium test car.