In the world of automotive journalism, often automakers talk about an "all-new" vehicle. But most of the time, it’s either a facelift or perhaps a significant reworking of an already existing model. The new Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, however, really is an all-new machine, though it does borrow heavily from the compact A-Class. Whereas that’s a small, entry-level hatchback or sedan, the GLB-Class offers buyers a classic SUV shape on a compact platform with something not often found at this level – the option for three-row, seven-passenger seating.
That’s a good starting point to discuss the new GLB-Class, as it’s the first compact offering from Mercedes to offer such seating. The optional third row offers accommodations for two, with cup holders between the seats and USB power ports for phones or other devices. The GLB’s side airbags are designed to protect third-row passengers, and Mercedes points out the availability of anchor points for child seats. Two things not mentioned at the rear are headroom and legroom, and though we’ll reserve final judgment for our GLB-Class first drive, we have the distinct impression Mercedes is aiming the seven-seat capacity of this compact SUV towards small children at the back.
As a five-seater, the new GLB sounds a bit more adult friendly. With the rearmost seats folded, the people mover offers up to 62 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Second-row passengers also have the ability to move the seats fore and aft to better accommodate people or things, with 38 inches of legroom available with the seats pushed back. Up front, driver and passenger are greeted with an interior quite similar to the A-Class, albeit with a bit more headroom.
A digital cockpit with a 7.0-inch instrument screen and a 7.0-inch center touchscreen display dominate the dash, the latter allowing access to a multitude of standard-issue tech including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The automaker’s MBUX system with voice control is also standard, as are a suite of driver assist systems including active braking, crosswind assist, and a rearview camera. Optional packages include blind spot assist, navigation, parking assist, larger 10.25-inch displays, an upgraded Burmester surround system, heads-up display, and much more.
Gallery: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB
Though the GLB-Class adopts a more traditional SUV exterior look, it’s not quite as boxy as the early camouflaged prototypes suggested. Yes, there are A-Class bones underneath it all, but the wheelbase is over 5 inches longer than the GLA-Class and just 1.7 inches behind the GLC-Class. In its base form, the GLB will turn just the front wheels though we suspect most buyers will choose the optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, which comes standard with an Off-Road Engineering Package that adds an additional drive program to the GLB’s selectable modes, conquering the roads less traveled with a 50/50 power distribution. Otherwise, 80 percent of the power goes up front in eco mode, with a 70/30 split for sport mode.
Speaking of power, you won’t be surprised to find Merc’s M 260 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on active duty under the bonnet. In the GLB-Class is makes a modest 221 horsepower (164 kilowatts) and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque, which Mercedes says is enough to send the small SUV to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds in all-wheel-drive trim. Shifting is handled by an eight-speed DCT.
At launch, Mercedes-Benz will offer two models – the GLB 250 and GLB 250 4MATIC. Pricing will be revealed closer to the GLB’s on-sale date, which in the U.S. will come by the end of 2019.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLB: for family & friends
Stuttgart/Salt Lake City. The new GLB is a versatile SUV with powerful
proportions, short overhangs and an off-road-oriented design, as well as
optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The GLB also serves as a spacious
family car that offers even more flexibility as the first Mercedes-Benz in
this segment available as a seven-seater. Powerful and efficient fourcylinder engines paired with the latest driving assistance systems, and the
intuitively operable infotainment system MBUX, help to equip this new
family member (length/width/height:182/72/65 inches1) with all the
strengths of the current generation Mercedes-Benz compact-class. The allnew 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB will celebrate its World Premiere in Utah
in June and will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.
At 111.4 inches, the GLB’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than the GLA and 1.7
inches shorter than the GLC SUV. The headroom in the first seat row is 41
inches, and the effective legroom in the rear measures at 38 inches, making
the five-seater an exceptionally comfortable ride.
The load compartment capacity of 20 to 62 cubic feet (figures for the fiveseater)* provides spaciousness for various occasions. The second row seats
offer passengers the ability to adjust the inclination of the backrests in several
stages while also providing the flexibility to adjust the seats forward increasing
the cargo compartment by up to 6 cubic feet.
Height information for five-seater. Seven seater: 65 in
Success story: the eighth model in the compact car family
Globally, one in three Mercedes-Benz cars is now an SUV, and one in four a
compact model. A compact SUV like the GLB therefore combines all the
success factors of the company's highest-volume segments.
With the new GLB, the global compact car family from Mercedes-Benz now
consists of eight models: the A-Class, A-Class Sedan and long-wheelbase AClass Sedan, B-Class, CLA Coupe, CLA Wagon and the GLA are already on the
market. In 2018 over 609,000 customers all over the world were able to take
delivery of a compact model. Since the A-Class was launched in 1997, over 6.5
million vehicles from this segment have been sold worldwide by MercedesBenz. In the U.S, market the GLB will join the compact car family that currently
includes the A-Class Sedan, the CLA Coupe and the GLA.
Ready for boarding: up to seven seats
The GLB is the first compact vehicle from Mercedes-Benz to offer an optional
third row with two additional seats. The extensive safety equipment includes
retractable headrests, seat belts with belt tensioners, and a side window airbag,
which also protects the passengers in the third seat row. Additionally, the GLB
supplies ISOFIX and TOP-Tether anchorages for suitable child seats, and these
can be used to attach up to four child seats in the rear.
Comfort details in the third row include two drink holders between the seats as
well as two stowage compartments with a rubberized insert on the left and
right in the load compartment trim, each with a USB-C port. The seats can be
folded so that they are flush with the load compartment floor in order to extend
the load compartment.
The variability in detail:
Variability Five-seater Seven-seater (option)
Second seat row Seat backrest can be divided and folded in a ratio of 40:20:40
Multi-stage seat backrest inclination adjustment
Seat row can be moved 6
inches longitudinally, sitting
surface can be divided in a
ratio of 40:60 (option)
Seat row can be moved 6
inches longitudinally, sitting
surface can be divided in a
ratio of 40:60
row - Two retractable individual
Off-road orientation: the exterior design
The powerful proportions of the GLB underscore its off-road design. The
surfaces of the forms are emphasized, while lines are minimized and the seams
are executed with high precision. The upright front section with its striking
headlamps are clear evidence of off-road genes, as are the short overhangs at
the front and rear.
The muscular vehicle shoulder dominates the side view at the height of the Cpillar, an effect reinforced by the rising waistline. The doors reach over the side
bar, improving ease of access, while keeping the door openings free of dirt, as
well as increasing protection in the event of a side impact. All-round protective
claddings divide the overall proportions and emphasize the vehicle's off-road
character, as do the optical underride guard at the front and rear.
"Its iconic design lends the Mercedes-Benz GLB an unmistakable SUV
character," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "The
clear forms with reduced lines and powerful surfaces conveys our design
philosophy of Sensual Purity."
With aluminum details: the interior design
The instrument panel consists of a single piece, which has optical cutouts in
the driver and front passenger area. There is a widescreen cockpit facing the
driver while the functions and displays are controlled via MBUX (MercedesBenz User Experience). A new feature is the off-road tubular element in an
aluminum look, which rounds off the lower section of the instrument panel and
houses the three round center air vents. These give the dashboard support and
create an impression of robustness, power and a certain element of fun. Below
the air vents is the air conditioning control panel, whose buttons create the
impression that they have been milled from a solid aluminum cylinder.
The robust character of the interior continues in the center console. Tubular
elements in a machined look lend strength to the design of the components and
controls. Along the doors, the SUV character is accentuated by its horizontal
grab handles as part of the standard design and equipment line, this forms a
robust part of the door panel structure, resembling a modified aluminum tube.
Spot on for hills and valleys
The LED High Performance headlamps are available for the GLB on request.
These allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment
of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation.
As an option, there are also front fog lamps with LED technology. They are able
to distribute the light to reach a wider range than the main headlamps, and
thus are able to increase illumination in peripheral areas, while their low
position in the front bumper helps reduce the risk of dazzling oncoming traffic.
From A for Assistance to M for MBUX: the technical details
The GLB benefits from the technical highlights of the current compact-class
generation from Mercedes-Benz. These include in particular:
The four-cylinder gas engine, which was completely updated to
relaunch the compact model series. Compared to the previous
generation, they excel with considerably increased specific outputs,
improved efficiency and lower emissions.
The driving assistance systems with cooperative support for the
driver and functionality from the S-Class: thanks to improved camera
and radar systems, the GLB can look up to 1,641 feet ahead and can
drive partially autonomously in certain situations. For example, by
conveniently adapting the speed before corners, crossroads or
roundabouts using the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with
recourse to maps and navigation data. As a new function of the Active
Steering Assist, among other things, there is also the intuitive Active
Lange Change Assist. If the Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC is
additionally on board, the GLB also has the function extended to
automatically restart in traffic jams.
The comfort suspension: at the front, the GLB has MacPherson
suspension struts, at the rear an acoustically and vibrationally
decoupled multi-link axle with compression springs. Adaptive
adjustable damping is available on request. With this, the driver can
change between more comfort or particularly sporty tuning via the
DYNAMIC SELECT switch.
The intuitively operable infotainment system MBUX - Mercedes-Benz
User Experience: The powerful computer, brilliant screens and
graphics, individualizable depiction, all-color head-up display,
navigation with augmented reality, learning-capable software and the
voice control which can be activated with "Hey Mercedes" are the key
advantages of the system.
Adding more traction: the 4MATIC all-wheel drive
The GLB can be equipped with the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC,
with variable torque distribution. This sporty all-wheel drive configuration
allows the driver to use the DYNAMIC SELECT switch to influence the
characteristics of 4MATIC. Three characteristic programs are available to
control the all-wheel drive clutch, though the system responds flexibly to the
current driving situation in any mode. In regular driving operation, the drive
program "Eco/Comfort" is based on an 80:20 distribution (front axle: rear axle),
while in "Sport" it is 70:30. In off-road mode the all-wheel drive clutch acts as
an inter-axle differential lock, with the basic distribution a balanced 50:50.
4MATIC components include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is
integrated into the automated dual clutch transmission, and the rear axle
differential with an integrated multiplate clutch. This is electro-mechanically
operated. Via a spur gear and ball ramp, an electric motor exerts an axial force
on the clutch pack to open or close the plates. The rear axle differential
compensates the different paths/rotational speeds of the rear wheels. The
advantages of this control system are above all non-rpm-dependent operation
across the entire actuation range, pilot control of the clutch while still
stationary and higher efficiency thanks to the ball ramp concept.
Useful in easy off -road terrain: the Off-Road Engineering Package
The Off-Road Engineering Package, which comes as standard on the GLB 250
4MATIC, encompasses an additional drive program. It adapts the engine's
power delivery and the ABS control to easy off-road terrain away from paved
roads. It can be activated via the DYNAMIC SELECT switch.
Other elements of the Off-Road Engineering Package:
An animation of the driving situation can be called up in the media
display. The realistic presentation of gradient, inclination angle and
technical settings helps the driver to judge maneuvers correctly.
The hill-start assistance system Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR)
automatically adheres to a preselected, slow speed between approx. 1
and 11 mph, it can be read out in the instrument cluster and in the
optional head-up display. With targeted brake applications the
assistant helps retain control during steep downhill driving.
Powerful and efficient engine
The new GLB places its trust in the four-cylinder gas engine, which was
completely updated to relaunch the compact model series. In comparison to the
previous generation, it is characterized by significantly increased power,
improved efficiency and emissions.
The two-liter M 260 engine in the GLB 250 has cast-iron cylinder liners in its
engine block of diecast aluminum, widening at the lower end as per the
CONICSHAPE® principle. In-house the cylinder bore process is descriptively
known as "trumpet-honing". This minimizes piston friction and cuts
consumption. In the aluminum four-valve cylinder head, the CAMTRONIC
variable valve timing system allows two-stage adjustment of the valve lift on
the intake side.
The all-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of
At a glance:
Displacement (cc) 1991
Output (hp) 221
at rpm 5,500
Max. torque (lb-ft) 258
at rpm 1800 - 4000
Acceleration 0-60 mph (s) 6.9
Top speed (mph) 130