Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off the GLB, the new compact SUV in Mercedes-Benz’ line-up. The Mercedes-Benz GLB is a family SUV that can seat up-to 7 people with the optional seven-seat configuration and is a step-up from and based on the GLA’s MFA 2 platform in the ‘Compact’ range. The MFA 2 platform also underpins the A-Class, and the CLA.
In terms of looks, the SUV looks very familiar to the current generation GLA and from the front looks much like the GLC. The car looks muscular and has a brawny stance that could find many takers. The wheelbase is only ten centimetres longer than the new B-class and is thus compact for a luxury SUV. The SUV is 4634mm long, 1834mm wide and 1658mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2829mm. All these dimensions make it quite compact for a 7-seater SUV. The tall front end, squared off wheel arches and bulky proportions hint toward the GLB’s claimed off-roading capabilities.
The GLB is the eighth addition to the compact line up of cars from Mercedes-Benz and it sits right above the GLA. The GLB can be configured to have a third row which provides two additional seats making it a seven seater and Mercedes claims that it can seat 2 individuals who are up-to 5feet 6 inches tall, comfortably. The car also has ISOFIX and TOP-tether anchorages for child seats.
The SUV can be had with four-cylinder petrol engines in the 200 and GLB 250 4MATIC and four-cylinder diesel engines in 200d, 200d 4MATIC and 220d 4MATIC trims. The petrol engine 200 puts out 161bhp of power at 5500rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1620-4000rpm and the engine is mated to a 7-speed DCT while the 250 4MATIC puts out 221.2bhp of power at 5800rpm and 350Nm of torque at 1800-4000rpm and the engine is mated to an 8-speed DCT. The 200d and 200d 4MATIC put out an identical 147.5bhp of power at 3400-4440rpm and 320Nm of torque at 1400-2600rpm and the engine is mated to an 8-speed DCT. The 220d 4MATIC puts out 188bhp of power at 3800rpm and 400Nm of torque at 1600-2400rpm and the engine is mated to an 8-speed DCT. All diesel variants use the OM 654q two-litre engine, while the petrol 200 and 250 4MATIC use the M282 1.3 and M 260 two-litre engine respectively.
Mercedes-Benz is advertising the car as an off-road capable SUV. To make it so Mercedes-Benz offers the GLB with their 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and some off-road specific features like an off-road driving mode (part of the Offroad Engineering package), which controls the power delivery, ABS, hill-start assistance and animations on the media display which show representations of the gradient, angle of inclination and other technical information which helps the driver better understand the terrain. Along with these, a high performance LED dubbed ‘MULTIBEAM LED’ is available as an add-on. This, Mercedes-Benz claims, allows the driver to see the path or obstacles better while off the tarmac at slower speeds. The LED is always on where you’re at speeds below 50kmph.
The GLB boasts of features like driving assistance systems, lane change assist, parking assist, active steering, partial autonomous driving capability that adjusts speed while approaching roundabouts, intersections or corners.
The 7-seater also comes equipped with McPherson suspension struts upfront and an acoustically and vibrationally decoupled multi-link axle with compression springs at the rear. Adaptive adjustable damping is available as an option. The infotainment system is powered by MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) similar to what is seen in the new A-class.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB is expected to hit the streets in Germany by the end of this year. The GLB will be manufactured, as of now, at two manufacturing facilities in Beijing, China and New Mexico. The Mercedes-Benz GLB will come to India sometime next year and will be positioned between the GLA and GLC. It will be assembled in India and, once launched, will be the only luxury SUV in its price range in India to be offered with seven seats.
Globally, one third of all Mercedes-Benz’ sold are SUVs and understandably the company is pursuing an SUV product offensive. The GLB will be the sixth SUV in Mercedes-Benz’ lineup.
Words by Karan Ramgopal