Mercedes-Benz introduces the GLB
Hot on the heels of the launch of the B-Class locally, Mercedes-Benz released details of its GLB compact SUV, featuring chunky styling with short overhangs, and AWD and seven seats in some models. The production version, to be built in Mexico and Beijing, was first seen in Concept GLB form at the Shanghai show earlier in the year. Given one in three new Mercedes sold is an SUV, and one in four a compact vehicle, we should expect the GLB range to be a definite starter for the New Zealand.
Currently it is isn’t clear which of the four engines available will end up here, but you can bet the two petrols powering the GLB 200 and GLB 250 will. The former is a 1.3 direct-injection turbo four-pot mustering 120kW and 250Nm, while the other is a 2.0 turbo, good for 165kW and 350Nm. You can expect mean fuel figures of 6.2 and 7.4L/100km, respectively. The GLB 200 is a front-driver using a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, and evidently hits open road speeds in 9.1sec.
As with other ranges from Mercedes, the 250 gains the firm’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system and with extra herbs it gets to fixed camera flashing status in 6.9s. There’s also a pair of diesels, a 200d and 220d, producing 320 and 400Nm, respectively. Performance figures are similar to those of the petrols. They’re hooked up to eight-speed dual-clutch gearboxes but because of declining interest in diesels and the added expense they may not make the cut here, despite mean fuel use figures around the 5.0L/100km mark.
Underpinning the GLB is the A-Class MFA2 architecture, but the compact faux-offroader is considerably bigger at 4634mm overall, and rides on a 2829mm wheelbase that’s 100mm longer than that of the B180. Overall height is 1662mm. Mercedes spokespeople reckon that the GLB can accommodate small adults in the third-row pews. These occasional seats stow away after use, and in the five-seat variant there is 560L of luggage capacity. With middle seats on sliders, load space can be expanded to 1755L after split folding of the 40:20:40 seatbacks. Suspension consists of struts up front and an isolated multilink rear axle.
The GLB cabin is like that of the B 180 with the extended digital display and instrumentation, all in one continuous widescreen format, along with the AI-driven infotainment system. Unique to GLB is a tubular aluminium plate above the glovebox and another encircling the centre console. Like the A 180, the GLB also gets a touchpad controller for driving the infotainment system.
Upper-tier GLB models have there Dynamic Select drive modes that consist of Comfort, splitting drive 80:20 front:rear, Sport (70:30) and Off-Road (50:50). Torque distribution is also variable depending on the road conditions.
Standard or optional items run to adaptive cruise control, dynamic damping, active steering and lane change assist, and an off-road package. The latter comprises extra LED headlights (actually the activation of the cornering lights of the multibeam LEDs) to help pick out obstacles in the dark, hill descent control and camera-based depiction of the current driving situation showing aspects like gradient and inclination.