Sprint Review: 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLB250

Sometimes, just sometimes, I actually enjoy the taste of humble pie. Mercedes-Benz just dished up a delicious slice for me when they gave us this silver GLB250 to test for a week…

You should know: The reason for my sarcastic intro is that I’ve been droning on for years about how modern Benzes are too brash and brawny, and while this relatively new compact crossover won’t win any prizes for design delicacy, it shows a friendly roundness at the front, simple but practical silhouette and a semi-agro-looking tail end.

More info: Typing of which, I’ve also often lamented the demise of yesteryear’s practical box SUV’s (think Freelander or first X-Trail) whose square rear quarters offered extra packing space, easy loading and a distinctive shape to the rump. And now – oh, happy days – we have a sole new member in the club: this Mercedes GLB.

What else? For our market, the entry-level compact SUV range is available as a 2L turbo-petrol (GLB250) in Progressive or AMG Line trim, with two identical 2L turbo-diesel (GLB220d) 4Matic all-wheel drive models as well. Prices range from about R970,000 to just over 1 million ZAR. So if you want AWD, you have to buy the diesel.

Why you shouldn’t: Everybody promised me that the GLB220d diesel is even better than this car… and then cancelled our booking for it. Of course the diesel will be lighter on fuel and offer more torque, but I for one was perfectly happy with this reasonably punchy yet frugal petrol motor.

The 8-speed DCT can be laggy at low speeds and ground clearance is just 135mm!  

Umm, what else? Stay away from the shiny AMG trinkets and you even get a smooth ride *by modern standards* thanks to sensible 215/65R17 wheels. 18’s, 19’s and 20’s are optional, while the 19’s come standard on all AMG derivatives with only one more inch left to upsize the discomfort of your ride.

Why you should: The cabin is spacious and comfy, highly intuitive and packed full of goodies. The LED lights and sound system are great, so are the half-cloth seats, visibility is good for a modern cross-over, the boot swallows between 565 to 1800L, and Mercedes includes a 2-year warranty and 5-year/100,000km maintenance plan.


Engine:1,991cc i-4 Turbo-petrol
Transmission:8-speed DCT, FWD
Max. Power:165kW @ 5,500rpm
Max. Torque:350Nm @ 1,800rpm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 7.4L/100km
0-100km/h:7.40 seconds (claimed 7.1)
Top Speed:Claimed 240km/h
List Price:From R965,437

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