Quick and nimble on-road, capable off of it.
Update: An earlier version of this story listed the European horsepower figure of 306, but has since been corrected with the U.S.-specific horsepower figure of 302.
The turbocharged Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 produces 221 horsepower (164 kilowatts) out of the box. Not bad at all. But as expected (and previewed by multiple sets of spy photos), an even hotter model is here. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 ups the ante with more power, more kit, and even some additional off-road prowess.
The same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine from the base 250 lives underhood – only it's more pumped up. Additional boost from a twin-scroll turbocharger pumps the output to 302 hp (222 kW) and 295 pound-feet (400 Newton-meters) of torque. The seven-seat GLB 35 now sprints to 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 5.1 seconds and on to a governor-limited top speed of 155 mph (250 kmh).
All that additional oomph travels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and on to all four wheels courtesy of Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. The AMG model ditches the base trim's Eco and Sport driving modes for a few new ones: Slippery (designed for low-grip situations), Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. But the powertrain isn't the only upgrade. Slippery mode paired with Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and additional body cladding makes the GLB 35 capable off the road, too.
AMG completely reworked the GLB 35's suspension. New steering knuckles and transverse control arms at the front axle enhance lateral dynamics and reduce body roll. There's even an optional AMG Ride Control suspension that electronically controls damping at each wheel. Speed-sensitive power steering and four-piston AMG brakes, meanwhile, assure both improved handling and additional stopping power.
On the exterior, the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 gets an updated skin ripe with aggressive AMG cues. For the first time on a "35" model, there's an AMG-specific Panamericana grille. A set of 19-inch AMG 10 wheels (painted in Tantalum Grey) wrap around silver calipers. Buyers wanting to go bigger can also get 20- and 21-inch wheel options, each available in two colors.
Inside, the MBUX infotainment system carries over, complete with a touchpad, touch-control buttons on the steering wheel, and a large central screen. The seats, dash, and door panels, meanwhile, wear a new AMG-specific leather and stitching combo to help distinguish it from the lesser 250.
"With the new GLB 35 4MATIC we are extending our product portfolio by adding a highly attractive model for an active target group that attaches special importance to versatility. This also includes the optional seven-seater capability of our new compact SUV, though without having to sacrifice the genes typical of an AMG. Because in its segment, our GLB 35 likewise fulfills our brand promise of Driving Performance," says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG.
Expect the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 to go on sale late in 2020. No details on pricing or availability just yet.
Gallery: 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35
With its passionate, striking design, great practicality and dynamics and space for up to seven occupants, the new Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC (combined fuel consumption: XX.X-XX.X l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: XXX-XXX g/km) is an unrivalled alternative in the compact SUV segment. The turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine develops 225 kW (306 hp) and guarantees impressive driving enjoyment in combination with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G transmission and variable AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive (acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 5.2 seconds). Not to mention the advantages of an SUV: raised seating position, plenty of space for passengers and luggage, and well-balanced off-road performance.
Responsive and emotive: the AMG 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in-line turbocharged engine
Thanks to a twinscroll turbocharger, the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine rated at 225 kW (306 hp) impresses with great responsiveness to movements of the accelerator pedal, high torque (max. 400 Nm from 3000 rpm) and great liveliness. The crankcase made of high-strength, lightweight die-cast aluminium reduces the vehicle weight where it matters most for driving dynamics. The exhaust turbocharging combines optimum responsiveness at low engine speeds with a strong power increase at higher speeds.
The high technological level is also confirmed by CAMTRONIC variable valve control for low fuel consumption. Intelligent thermal management ensures a faster and more efficient warm-up of the engine and oil. And the compact piezo injectors deliver fuel extremely precisely for increased efficiency.
Fast and agile: AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G dual-clutch transmission
The transmission masters fast gearshifts and a sporty driving style just as well as comfort-oriented gearshifts for relaxed long-distance journeys. During upshifts, partial ignition interruption produces an impressive sound experience, while the double-declutch function during downshifts benefits gearshifting comfort. The function synchronises the engine and transmission speeds, minimises unwanted gas cycle responses and stabilises the vehicle, for example when braking ahead of bends. This also supports a particularly dynamic driving style.
The new Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC displays its full sprint potential with the RACE START function included as standard. Higher engine rpm when starting off, in combination with optimised shift points, produces the best possible traction and maximum acceleration. RACE START remains active while the accelerator is kept fully depressed.
Driving pleasure to the power of five: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT and AMG DYNAMICS
The five AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs - Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, make for a very variable driving experience with a wide range from serene comfort to agile and sporty. The programs modify key parameters, such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering.
- The new "Slippery" drive program is optimised for low-grip road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve. Smooth gear changes, earlier upshifts and the ECO start/stop system support the stability-focused driving impression.
- The "Comfort" program stands for comfortable and fuel-efficient driving, for example thanks to very early upshifts. Suspension and steering are set up with an emphasis on comfort, the ECO start/stop system is active.
- "Sport" and "Sport+" place the focus on agility and driving pleasure with sporty engine and transmission tuning. The ECO start/stop system is deactivated.
- The "Individual" drive program enables the individual parameters to be selected and saved according to personal preferences. In addition, the gliding function is available in the "Reduced" and "Moderate" drive settings.
The driving modes are linked to the AMG DYNAMICS agility control, which means that the handling characteristics can be even more closely matched with different requirements and driving conditions.
In the GLB 35 4MATIC, AMG DYNAMICS has the agility functions "Basic" and "Advanced", and their functionalities are automatically activated by the relevant drive program. Relevant parameters such as the torque distribution of the all-wheel drive system, the steering characteristics or the intervention thresholds of the completely newly developed ESP® (Electronic Stability Program) are intelligently adapted according to the drive program.
- "Basic" is assigned to the "Slippery" and "Comfort" drive programs. In this case the GLB 35 4MATIC has extremely stable handling with a high level of yaw damping.
- "Advanced" is activated in the "Sport" program. The GLB 35 4MATIC is then neutral and well-balanced. The lower level of yaw damping, reduced steering angles and increased agility support a dynamic driving style – for example on winding country roads.
Optimum traction: variable AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive
The performance-oriented all-wheel drive system continuously ensures the best possible ratio of dynamism, traction and efficiency. A multi-disc clutch with AMG-specific electromechanical control allows a variable torque split which can be instantly changed according to the driving situation. This ranges from purely front-wheel drive to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axle, for example during dynamic driving manoeuvres or on snow or ice. The influencing factors for torque distribution are not only the driving speed, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the steering angle, but also the difference in rotational speed between the individual wheels and the gear selected.
The all-wheel drive is regulated depending on the selected stage of the 3-stage Electronic Stability Program ESP® – from safety-oriented yet sporty to highly dynamic. The 4ETS dynamic handling control system further enhances handling safety and agility, in particular on slippery surfaces or on surfaces with different friction coefficients. It uses brake interventions to keep individual driven wheels from spinning when starting off or accelerating. At the same time the differential locking effect enables the drive torque to be shifted to the wheels that are not spinning.
For high lateral dynamics and long-distance comfort: the suspension
The AMG suspension is tuned for high cornering speeds with a low tendency to roll. This allows the dynamic potential of the GLB 35 4MATIC to be fully realized. The high reserves at the critical limits guarantee sheer driving pleasure – while the vehicle remains safe and predictable at all times. The complete redesign of all wheel-guiding components such as the steering knuckles and transverse control arms at the front axle, as well as the model-specific subframe and the wheel carriers at the rear axle, assist even more direct steering and increase the lateral dynamics. At the same time the suspension developers at Mercedes-AMG took care to maintain a balanced level of long-distance comfort.
Full control: speed-sensitive power steering and a high-performance brake system
The electromechanical, speed-sensitive power steering has a variable ratio and impresses with its precise and authentic feedback. The steering servo assistance is reduced at high speeds, and continuously increases at lower speeds. This means that comparatively little steering force is required at low speeds, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained at high speeds. Depending on which drive program the driver has selected, it provides taut and sporty or more comfortable steering feedback.
The AMG high-performance brake system with silver brake callipers and black AMG lettering at the front is a worthy counterpart to the powerful drive system. Deceleration is finely controllable, with high fade-resistance even under heavy stress. This is ensured for example by the large brake discs, which are internally ventilated and perforated all-round. The front axle is fitted with 4-piston fixed callipers and cast iron brake discs in size 350 x 34 mm, while the rear axle has 1-piston floating callipers and cast iron brake discs in size 330 x 22 mm.
Design: hallmark AMG expressiveness with personalisation potential
Based on the AMG Line, the new GLB 35 4MATIC is distinguishable by further model-specific design features. The AMG-specific radiator grille is used for the first time in a 35-series model, and emphasises membership of the AMG family. The front splitter, the prominent rear apron with two round, single tailpipe trim elements and the AMG roof spoiler in the vehicle colour also guarantee a high recognition factor.
The 19-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in tantalum grey with a high-sheen finish and the AMG high-performance brake system with silver brake callipers and black AMG lettering at the front provide further visual highlights. Three further wheel variants from 19 to 21 inches are available on request, each in two colours.
The optional AMG Night package with design features such as the front splitter and rear apron trim in high-gloss black, plus black chrome-plated exhaust tailpipe trim elements, provides eye-catching highlights. Because depending on the chosen paint finish, the result is strong contrasts or flowing transitions.
Sporty and highly individualisable interior
Membership of the AMG family is visually underlined by the sport seats upholstered in black ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre with red double topstitching and red seat belts. Two optional Leather packages with a choice of two-tone upholstery, for example in classic red/black, and topstitching on the beltline and dashboard, enhance the interior even further.
With AMG-specific displays: the MBUX infotainment system
The innovative control and display concept MBUX creates an even closer bond between the vehicle, driver and passengers. At the same time the latest version of the infotainment system contributes to the great day-to-day suitability of the new GLB 35 4MATIC. Emotive displays such as the particularly striking Supersport mode with a central, round rev counter and bargraph-style driver information underline the exclusivity.
Whether it's operated with the touchpad, Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel, by voice control or gesture control: the control concept is both versatile and flexible. Thanks to the innovative voice control – activated with the keyword "Hey Mercedes" – the AI software recognises and understands practically all commands common in infotainment and vehicle control – even when spoken indirectly.
With the three AMG-specific display styles "Classic", "Sporty" or "Supersport", the vehicle functions are directly visualised on the left side of the instrument cluster and in the touchscreen display on the right. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit and as a central element consequently emphasise the horizontal orientation of the interior design.
Obey any command: multifunction sports steering wheel
The multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather ensures first-class ergonomics and intuitive operation. The steering wheel rim with a flattened bottom section, perforated leather in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch. The galvanised steering wheel gearshift paddles allow an even sportier driving style with manual gear shifting.
The optional AMG Performance steering wheel and accompanying AMG steering wheel buttons are visibly and tangibly configured for performance. This allows fast and confident operation of specific dynamic functions – for a focussed, concentrated and performance-oriented driving style.
Two more passengers with the optional third seat row
The new GLB 35 4MATIC is the first compact car by Mercedes-AMG to be optionally available with a third seat row consisting of two additional individual seats, plus fore-and-aft adjustment of the second seat row and the EASY-ENTRY feature. The second seat row has a 40:60 split. The seats in the third row accommodate passengers up to a height of 1.68 metres in comfort. The seats can be lowered so that they are flush with the load compartment floor in order to extend the load compartment.
Convenience features in the third row include two drink holders between the seats and two stowage compartments with rubber-lined inserts on the left and right in the load compartment panelling. Each of these is fitted with a USB charging socket. The extensive safety equipment underlines the high day-to-day suitability. It consists of extendable head restraints, seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, a window airbag that also protects the passengers in the third seat row, and i-Size/ISOFIX and Top-Tether anchorages for suitable child seats.
Even more dynamism: the AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension.
The optionally available AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension guarantees superior performance. The adaptive, electronically controlled damping provides a wide range of setups from comfortable to very sporty. The damping is adjusted individually for each wheel, and depends on the driving style, the road surface and the selected suspension setting. The best possible operating point is always selected on the basis of numerous data such as acceleration or vehicle speed. The suspension characteristics are modified by simply selecting one of the drive programs Comfort, Sport or Sport+.