The Mercedes-Benz GLB Class is the often-overlooked entry-level luxury sport utility from the German automaker that deserves more attention than it gets. It’s a well-designed Merc that checks most of the boxes for the segment. The GLB is spacious, comfortable, technologically rich, and engaging to drive. Its only downside is cost once add-ons are selected from the options list. But for the money spent, it’s better than most entry-level luxury options competing with it.
Alongside the more station wagon-like GLA, the GLB offers a small SUV entry point for the Mercedes-Benz marque. The GLB is more traditionally designed as a square-shaped SUV and adds all of the interior room that shape implies. So while the GLA and GLB have much in common, including a shared platform, the GLB is the larger of the two in terms of interior room and overall dimensions. Comparables to the GLB include the BMW X1 and the Volvo XC40.
There are two powertrain options for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and that same engine upgraded to a high-performance output of 302 hp and 295 lb-ft. The GLB 250, which has the less aggressive engine, comes in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive (called “4Matic” by Mercedes) options. The GLB 35 has the high-performance tuning and comes in 4Matic only. Both use a dual-clutch, eight-speed automatic transmission. And that transmission is a beauty. It’s clean, shifts quickly, and is very precise.
The standard version of the 2022 GLB 250 in front- or four-wheel drivetrain comes pretty well equipped as a base model. The 18-inch wheels may be the only serious downside for onlookers as the LED lighting, aluminum roof rails, and beautiful bodywork are also standard. Rain-sensing, automatic windshield wipers, heated side mirrors, power liftgate, dual-zone climate, power-adjustable front seating, slide/recline rear seats, and push-button ignition control are also standard. So is Mercedes’ well-done MBUX infotainment system with natural voice recognition and 7-inch digital instrument cluster. Plus four USB-C ports, advanced safety systems, and advanced driver’s aids.
For upgrades, we’d recommend the Premium package with its larger (10.25-inch) infotainment and instrumentation displays, auto-dimming mirrors, and hands-free keyless entry and liftgate. All nice convenience options. The Driver Assistance package is another good choice, adding adaptive cruise control, lane departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and more safety and convenience techs.
We’d also recommend getting the heated and ventilated front seating, wireless charging pad, head-up display, and upgraded Burmeister stereo as ala carte additions.
Other upgrade options include the Multimedia package with navigation and speed limit assistance and the Parking Assistance package with a surround-view camera system and semi-automated parking.
Whatever you put in your GLB, it will be a great machine to drive. The 2022 GLB is tuned as only Mercedes can balance a vehicle. It’s smooth, gives nice road feedback, and is quiet on the highway. The GLB 250 is not a race car and shouldn’t be expected to jump off the line at high-G sprints, but the dual-clutch transmission does its job without asking for credit and definitely makes the GLB 250’s “just enough” engine feel like more than it is. Confidence remains high with this one.
For most, the greatest downside to the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB will be its price tag. It starts at around $40,000 but most buyers will find themselves getting closer to $50,000 after adding on the upgrades they’d like and taking delivery. For what’s being delivered, though, that’s not a bad return in our minds.