• The Mercedes-Benz GLB is the latest premium compact SUV to launch locally.
• It slots in between the GLA and GLC models in the carmaker's line-up.
• We look at two compact premium rivals the GLB will contend within the fierce c-segment.
The recent launch of the Mercedes-Benz GLB is yet another entry into the competitive premium compact SUV C-segment.
The demand for SUVs and compact cars is growing exponentially, and manufacturers are responding to the market with new products. The latest compact premium SUV to land locally is the GLB. It's underpinned by the same architecture as the new A-Class hatch
The Audi Q3 and BMW's X2 are the GLB's closest rivals.
The Stuttgart model's unique selling point is that it's available with seven seats, but only as an optional extra. The Audi and BMW, on the other hand, only come with seating for five passengers.
Internally, the GLB slots in between Mercedes-Benz's GLA and bigger GLC models.
Bring out the measuring tape
It's 4634mm long, 1834mm wide and has a height of 1658mm. In comparison, the X2 is the same length as the Mercedes, although not as wide and is around 100mm shorter.
The Q3 is 4484mm long but offers more width at 1856mm and splits the GLB and X2 in terms of the height measuring 1585mm in height.
Engine line-up and model depth
At launch, the GLB is available in two models: a front-wheel-drive 250 turbocharged petrol model with 165kW and 350Nm and the 220d 4MATIC with 140kW and 400Nm.
Both engines are fitted with eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Prices start from R831 000 for the petrol-powered model and R10 000 more for the diesel.
The Q3 offers two engine options a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, badged 35 TFSI with 110kW and 250Nm. The range-topping engine is a 2.0-litre derivative with 132kW and 320Nm wearing the 40 TFSI nomenclature.
Prices for the Q3 start from R629 500 for a 35 TFSI S Tronic model and top out at R705 500 for the 40 TFSI S Line Quattro S Tronic.
BMW's X2 line-up is far more extensive than the GLB and Q3's model range. The Bavarian's entry-level engine is a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol motor with 103kW and 220Nm. It wears the sDrive18i badge and sends it power through the front wheels.
There's another petrol engine available and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel (140kW / 400Nm) engine that power a front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive derivatives.
The X2 has a flagship M35i model 225kW and 450Nm from a 2.0-litre turbocharged motor. Pricing starts at R677 924 for the sDrive18i and tops out at R899 374 for the performance model.