Mercedes‘ smallest seven-seater just got a whole lot more fun. The engineers in Affalterbach have applied their touch to keep occupants in all three rows of the GLB-Class compact crossover entertained.
The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 punching out 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s ahead of the regular GLB’s 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Channeled through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, power in the AMG version hits all four wheels via standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive. AMG hints at a crackly, burbly exhaust sound from the twin tailpipes thanks to partial ignition interruption between shifts—hit the aluminum paddle shifters to fire them off as you please.
Hop in, pick up six friends, and head to the drag strip. The GLB 35’s launch control function will scoot the crossover from 0-60 mph in a claimed 5.1 seconds, on its way to a 155-mph top speed. When you’re finished there, selectable drive modes tune dynamics to suit the road ahead whether it’s an open highway or twisty backroad. AMG’s chassis experts devised a number of model-specific components, including steering knuckles and subframe, to give this GLB its signature mix of plushness and response.
Like every AMG model, the GLB 35 wears new trimmings which give it a sporty aesthetic. Above the aluminum-edged, aero-enhanced front bumper is AMG’s vertical-slat Panamericana grille, which works to add aggression to the GLB’s cutesy fascia. Around back, a diffuser is mounted between the aforementioned big-bore tailpipes, while a spoiler is applied to the roofline’s trailing edge. Multi-spoke wheels ranging from 19 to 21 inches and available adaptive suspension aid the little SUV’s hunkered-down stance. Drilled brake rotors grow to 13.8 inches clamped by four-piston fixed calipers up front; brake rotors are 13.0 inches with single-piston floaters at the rear.
The theme continues inside with a flat-bottom steering wheel and available carbon-fiber trim. Two high-resolution widescreen displays work around Mercedes’ acclaimed MBUX infotainment system, here featuring AMG-specific graphics which highlight performance-oriented data. USB charging ports are available for occupants in all three rows. While the GLB isn’t Mercedes’ roomiest SUV, an available dual-panel moonroof helps the cabin feel more spacious.
As a whole, the GLB 35 presents a compelling lifestyle option for drivers seeking a balance of sport and practicality in a compact footprint. It’s set to make its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and it will land at U.S. dealerships by late 2020.