Mercedes GLB interior
The Mercedes GLB’s interior looks and feels great, but the infotainment system in entry-level models looks pretty dated compared with the top-spec bells-and-whistles unit.
At a glance, the Mercedes GLB’s interior looks pretty similar to that in an A-Class hatchback. You get a similar minimalist design, metal-effect air vents and plenty of glossy plastic and shiny metal-effect trim, but the staggered dashboard design is new and makes you feel more like you’re sitting up high than hunkered down low.
The dual-screen infotainment system looks just like the one you’ll find in many other Mercedes cars and outclasses even the triple-screen arrangement you’ll find in a Land Rover Discovery Sport for outright flashiness.
Entry-level Sport versions come with fancy velour floor mats and some man-made leather seats, while all AMG Line versions come with partial faux-leather seats, suede-effect trim and contrasting red stitching. These sportier cars also get stainless steel pedal trims and a Nappa leather steering wheel with a set of lovely metal gearshift paddles.
Pay extra for an AMG Line Premium or Premium Plus model and you get 64-colour ambient lighting, although you’ll find particularly garish colours produce distracting reflections in the side windows and door mirrors at night.
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Unfortunately, the Mercedes GLB’s interior is slightly let down by the two rather small 7-inch infotainment displays you get as standard in Sport and AMG Line models. These, while bright and fairly crisp, are framed by a huge black plastic shroud that serves as a constant reminder that you should have forked out for an AMG Line Premium model with its beefier 10.25-inch displays.
You can control and customise these screens using buttons on the steering wheel, the touchpad on the centre console, or as a touchscreen – whichever you prefer.
Sure, the scroll wheel you get in a BMW X2 is more intuitive to use on the move, but the Mercedes GLB’s menus are much easier to navigate through than the confusing setup in a Land Rover Discovery Sport and they look much more futuristic than the rather plain white-on-black screens in a Skoda Kodiaq.
The Mercedes GLB also comes with one of the most advanced voice-command systems around. This MBUX personal assistant feature lets you change the cabin temperature, alter the stereo tuning and program the sat-nav using the phrase ‘Hey Mercedes’. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as reliable as the similar system you can get in many modern BMWs.
Even without this system, which comes as standard in AMG Line Premium Plus cars, It’s easy to input an address into the sat-nav, and you can easily swipe and pinch to preview your route on colourful, high-resolution maps. The directions are easy to follow, too – especially in Premium and Premium Plus models with their clever augmented reality feature that displays direction arrows over a video feed taken from a front-facing camera.
The Mercedes GLB comes with Apple and Android smartphone mirroring as standard, so you can use your phone’s navigation apps through the car’s built-in display if you aren’t a fan of Mercedes’ system. These are dead easy to set up, but you can’t view your phone’s maps on the digital driver’s display, which is a shame.
The standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems also let you play tunes from streaming apps such as Spotify through the Mercedes GLB’s stereo. That said, you won’t be particularly impressed by the entry-level 100W stereo in Sport and AMG Line models, but the 10-speaker 225W unit in Premium and Premium Plus models sounds much punchier.