Given the recognition of SUVs today, automobile consumers are definitely not in need of choices. It virtually looks as if each market area of interest that exists has a mannequin to fill it, be it one thing small, large, quick, fuel-efficient, electrical and even imbued with some coupe-like styling.
Nonetheless, automakers are all the time on the hunt for brand spanking new methods to develop their market attain, and for Mercedes-Benz, it has recognized that what folks need is a seven-seat SUV, so enter the GLB. However wait, you may be considering; doesn’t the corporate have already got the GLE and GLS – each supplied as seven-seaters – so why hassle making one other one?
Properly, not everybody needs a seven-seat SUV with a premium badge that occupies a big footprint, that’s one. Secondly, those that are hoping for a three-row GLC don’t have such an choice, and the soar to a GLE instructions fairly a hefty premium, so one thing extra reasonably priced is all the time appreciated.
From a enterprise standpoint, this specific area isn’t stuffed with many rivals both, with the Land Rover Discovery Sport being a notable point out, whereas rivals like Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Volvo don’t have any entrants in any respect. As such, there’s a superbly good motive for the GLB to exist, and is primed to be a preferred alternative amongst consumers. However can it distinguish itself sufficient to be related? Is it any good to reside with? Properly, in a not so distant previous, earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic, we sampled the GLB in Andalusia, Spain to search out out.
At first look, the GLB definitely seems to be fairly an oddball within the Mercedes-Benz SUV line-up. In contrast to its stablemates, the SUV seems to be a shrunken down model of the GLS, albeit with a a lot boxier physique that exudes ruggedness. It even will get a singular cue not seen on different Mercedes-Benz SUVs, a slight kink on the window line close to the rear doorways.
The household face with a six-point grille is current on the GLB, however with rectangular-shaped headlamps as a substitute of sleeker items. There’s additionally a much less curvaceous roofline right here, which leads into a big, upright tailgate, and also you get the standard SUV cues like black physique cladding an underguard upfront when specified with sure trim ranges that aren’t the AMG Line.
With every part put collectively, the GLB seems like a good and tough-looking household SUV, with a larger emphasis on practicality fairly than outright model. The ultimate design isn’t overly extravagant and neither is it offensive, however those that hoping for one thing shapelier received’t be enticed.
If the GLB seems fairly large, that’s as a result of it’s the most important (and seventh) member within the firm’s revamped, eight-model compact automobile vary, which additionally contains the A-Class, A-Class Sedan, A-Class L Sedan, B-Class, CLA, CLA Capturing Brake and GLA. Like these automobiles, it’s constructed on MFA2 structure, with dimensions which might be nearer to the GLC.
Escape the measuring tape and also you’ll discover the GLB measures 4,634 mm lengthy, 1,834 mm broad and 1,663 mm tall, the latter lowered to 1,659 mm if you happen to go together with the non-compulsory five-seat model. There’s additionally wheelbase that spans 2,829 mm.
By comparability, the GLC is 4,656 mm lengthy, 1,890 mm broad, 1,639 mm tall and sports activities a 2,873 mm wheelbase. In the meantime, the second-generation GLA is 4,410 mm lengthy, 1,834 mm broad, 1,611 mm tall and has a 2,729 mm wheelbase.
Transferring inside, the advantages of the boxy form turn out to be evident, as you get an abundance of headroom, no matter the place you’re seated. Whereas the seven-seat variant is the one which will get probably the most consideration, Mercedes-Benz additionally provides the GLB with 5 seats. With the previous, it says the third row can accommodate folks with a peak of as much as 1.68 metres comfortably, in order that’s one thing value testing.
Getting my 1.7-metre body into the third row is straightforward sufficient, with a one-touch mechanism to tilt and slide a part of the second-row bench ahead, though the comparatively small ingress aperture makes it a little bit of a squeeze getting in.
As you may inform from the images taken, headroom isn’t an issue – even throughout all rows – however it’s the legroom within the final row that’s. For teenagers and smaller adults, I reckon it might be much less a difficulty to have their legs shoehorned within the footwell, though these within the second row would possibly nonetheless wish to slide the 40:20:40 split-folding seats ahead out of mercy.
If there’s no have to make use of all three rows, there’s loads of area for simply 5 occupants, and the beneficiant glass sections present a way of airiness contained in the cabin. Scattered across the cabin are some sensible touches too, with a good quantity of storage cubbies, together with USB-C charging ports for the third row (nice for teenagers and their units), however unusually none for the second row.
On that point out, with the seven-seat variant, you’ll get simply 130 litres of boot area with all of the seats of their default place, and 1,680 litres when the second- and third-row are folded down. The five-seater provides extra with 570 litres, or 1,805 litres in max cargo mode.
Seating and storage issues apart, the remainder of the GLB’s cabin can be acquainted to you if you happen to’ve ever been in one among Mercedes-Benz’s current compact automobiles just like the A-Class. In brief, it seems costly, and also you get the Mercedes-Benz Consumer Expertise (MBUX) system to play with, which options two 10.25-inch shows, crisp graphics, an intuitive interface and a mess of the way to work together with.
Dig slightly deeper and also you’ll discover that the decrease reaches of the cabin aren’t as good to the contact, however this isn’t a complete deal breaker. With customisable ambient lighting complementing the metallic-effect and piano black trimmings, Artico man-made leather-based upholstery in addition to these flashy air vents, there’s nonetheless sufficient luxurious and wow issue on present right here.
As for driving the GLB, the 200 mm journey peak nets you a excessive driving place, and it makes for a fairly straightforward car to see out of, notably the sides and blind spots – these massive home windows assist too. As such, navigating the slender streets throughout the area, even in left-hand drive press automobiles, wasn’t a frightening expertise.
Throughout our time there, we had entry to a few GLB variants that had been just lately launched right here, together with the bottom GLB 200, GLB 250 4Matic and the AMG GLB 35 4Matic. Our first stint was within the variant with the least digits in its identify however has probably the most energy on faucet, with the GLB 35’s M260 2.0 litre turbo-four making 306 PS (302 hp) and 400 Nm of torque.
Protected to say, there’s no scarcity of efficiency right here, because the AMG variant takes simply 5.2 seconds to finish the century dash and is proscribed to 250 km/h. The hooked up eight-speed dual-clutch transmission can also be clean throughout regular operation, with gear shifts carried out shortly and seamlessly. With peak torque arriving from 1,600 rpm, it’s undoubtedly brisk in city environments.
Moreover, the stiffer sport suspension does effectively to handle the car’s weight, conserving physique roll effectively underneath management. It’s not good, as secondary journey is noticeable contained in the cabin even with the adaptive dampers in Consolation mode, however it’s not utterly insufferable.
When pushed slightly, the GLB 35 provides massive reserves of grip readily available afforded by the front-biased 4Matic all-wheel drive system and with first rate weightage from the steering for some surety at your fingertips.
Nonetheless, there’s this sense that the GLB 35 continues to be being held again by a sure diploma so it doesn’t go overboard with the supply of the efficiency. It’s a distinct feeling when in comparison with different AMG efficiency SUVs, extra high-speed cruiser fairly than lap-time chaser.
It doesn’t egg you on to push tougher each time you drive it, and that’s completely nice for most individuals. Not that anybody seeking to purchase a GLB will care about reaching the automobile’s limits or wish to be terrified behind the wheel, however it’s assuring to know which you can choose up the tempo simply when wanted.
Even so, the GLB 35 is kind of an overkill proposition in my eyes, however performance-hungry people with massive households who have to chew up freeway miles shortly can be correctly happy. That’s all effectively and good, however in my view, the variant that actually hits the candy spot is the GLB 250 4Matic.
Just like the GLB 35, it too will get a M260 underneath the bonnet, albeit tuned to ship 224 PS (221 hp) and 350 Nm. An eight-speed DCT and 4Matic are additionally commonplace right here, with a not too shabby zero to 100 km/h time of 6.9 seconds and 236 km/h.
Whereas it doesn’t present the identical shove or eagerness because the GLB 35, the GLB 250’s powertrain isn’t slouchy and positively received’t depart you wanting within the majority of conditions. Round city, there’s sufficient low-end grunt so that you don’t have to work the proper pedal too exhausting, and the engine doesn’t really feel laboured when attempting to rise up to freeway speeds quickly. No pops and farts just like the GLB 35 right here, so there’s subtlety too.
Furthermore, the comfort-oriented suspension and equally well-weighted steering makes it a very good tourer and extra compliant when dealing with bumps and floor modifications, albeit in trade for slightly extra roll. Credit score goes to Mercedes-Benz choosing thick 50- and 55-profile tyres to be paired with the 18- and 19-inch wheels – the GLB 35 we tried has large 21-inchers with 35-profile tyres.
The GLB 250 can be ordered with an Off-Street Engineering bundle, which provides a further “Offroad” drive mode to the Dynamic Choose system, together with a Downhill Pace Regulation (DSR) perform and particular shows within the digital instrument cluster.
On that second bit, we did get a short demonstration on a specially-prepared off-roading monitor. No surprises that the automobile went via delicate obstacles with out a lot of a fuss, with the devoted Offroad mode guaranteeing the powertrain is tasked with maximising traction, whereas the DSR system lets you restrict the velocity of the automobile whereas descending from a excessive elevation.
Sounds nice, and with 18-degree method, 18.3-degree departure, 35-degree tilt and 13.9-degree breakover angles, together with 70% gradeability, the GLB does seem to transcend most road-biased SUVs. Even so, you (clearly) shouldn’t count on G-Class ranges of functionality, however for the occasional household tenting journey, it’s all effectively throughout the GLB’s talents.
Lastly, the GLB 200 is the entry-level of the vary, with a M282 1.33 litre four-cylinder rated at 163 PS (161 hp) and 250 Nm. In contrast to the opposite two, there’s no 4Matic and eight-speed DCT, with the latter being a seven-speed unit as a substitute.
It’s a variant value occupied with if you happen to spend most of your time round city, with efficiency that may be deemed as acceptable. With a full load comprising of individuals and issues, it’s not far-fetched to suppose that the dearth of oomph will trigger it to wrestle fairly a bit – we solely had two passengers and some baggage then. The zero to 100 km/h time of 9.1 seconds and 207 km/h prime velocity don’t present a whole lot of confidence both.
On the transfer, the pint-sized engine stays largely quiet, however does get a bit trashy and sound unrefined once you pile on the revs to get to what torque is out there. Diesel variants – GLB 200 d, GLB 200 d 4Matic and GLB 220d 4Matic – with extra pulling energy exist for the GLB, and must be extra succesful, however we’re not getting these, so by no means thoughts.
Trip consolation feels fairly just like the GLB 250, with the seven-speed pulling clean shifts, though it does appear inferior to the eight-speed unit. There’s additionally fairly a little bit of buffeting close to the wing mirrors at increased speeds, however this isn’t unique to the GLB 200, because it was additionally heard on the GLB 35 and GLB 250 as effectively.
All in all, the GLB is a effectively thought out SUV for individuals who desire a tristar-badged, seven-seat SUV, however don’t wish to pay excessively for its bigger siblings. Trustworthy in its design, the GLB focuses on perform over type, which is fairly refreshing given the lust for coupe wannabes today. Add to this a sensible inside with three-row seating, and it’s effectively suited to these with households and want some additional area once in a while.
It doesn’t possess probably the most thrilling driving dynamics, however it’s nonetheless pleasant and with good highway manners in addition to succesful powertrains, the GLB ticks loads of packing containers, whereas having no difficulty distinguishing itself from its two siblings it sits between. So, not a nasty effort from Mercedes-Benz then. Now, what different niches do they plan to squeeze themselves into?
The Mercedes-Benz GLB has been launched in Malaysia, and is out there in two common, seven-seat variants – the GLB 200 Progressive Line and GLB 250 4Matic AMG Line – in addition to a a five-seat AMG variant – the GLB 35 4MAtic.
GALLERY: X247 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic
GALLERY: X247 Mercedes-AMG GLB 250 4Matic
GALLERY: X247 Mercedes-AMG GLB 220d 4Matic
GALLERY: X247 Mercedes-AMG GLB 200d 4Matic