The Mercedes-Benz GLB is the odd one in the Mercedes range. Confusion with any other Mercedes model is almost impossible. The GLB reminds me of the Mercedes-Benz GLK that also had a rather ‘special’ design. We all know how that ended … Will the GLB that is also now available as GLB 35 AMG meet the same fate? AMG in Years is reporter on duty.

Specific for the GLB are the almost rectangular headlights and the kink in the window line. The GLB is definitely an eye catcher but people love it or don’t like it. There is nothing in between. In the footsteps of the A 35 AMG, the CLA 35 AMG and the GLA 35 AMG, the GLB also receives the ‘35 AMG’ treatment. Experts all know that the 35 AMG range is not really a ‘true’ AMG as the M260 engine is not according to the “One man/woman, one engine” principle. However, the A 35 AMG proved us that these ‘light’ AMGs are the perfect mix between driving pleasure and daily usage at reasonable running cost. Until now the GLB is the only compact Mercedes that will not get the 45 of 45 S treatment. The fantastic 21 inch rims (€ 1.400) fit the GLB 35 AMG like a glove. The optional AMG night pack brings black accents on the exterior such as the mirror caps, front and rear bumper. Another landmark of the GLB 35 AMG is the tiny rear roofspoiler in order to show this is serious business.

GLB 35

Galaxy Blue

With the GLB, Mercedes wants to offer an alternative to the less sexy family cars (or people carriers) as optionally the GLB can provide a place for up to 7 people. Unfortunately our Galaxy Blue GLB 35 4MATIC was only a five seater, so difficult to judge if the 7 seat configuration is really usable. However, Mercedes claims that people up to 1m68 cm can sit at the 3rd row. However, for a family car the GLB 35 AMG has a very stiff suspension. The optional (but beautiful) 21 inch multispoke AMG rims also don’t contribute to the comfort levels. Together with the spacious interior, the handling and driving performance of the GLB 35 AMG did surprise us the most. Despite the height of almost 1,7 m the GLB 35 AMG does not suffer from body roll. The cornering speed you can achieve with the GLB will make your 6 passengers sick. The GLB is perfectly under control thanks to the sharp steering of the AMG Performance steering wheel.

 

Comfort Suspension

Standard the GLB comes with comfort suspension (at the front McPherson suspension struts, at the rear acoustically and vibrationally decoupled multi-link axle with compression springs), but adaptive damping is optionally available (€ 990) and its characteristics are linked to the driving mode programs (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual). The driving mode can also be selected on the AMG Performance steering wheel (€ 350). Race start function is available in Sport+ driving mode. It allows the GLB 35 AMG to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5,2 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited at 250 km/h. Compared with the A 35 and CLA 35 AMG, the GLB 35 AMG has one additional gear, eight in total. This helps to limit fuel consumption at higher speed. Official fuel consumption of the GLB 35 AMG is 8,6 litre per 100 km (WLTP). In reality it’s better to take into account something around 9 litre.

GLB 35

Also in the GLB all the latest technology is present: the MBUX user interface (standard) with augmented reality for navigation (€ 250), 360° camera (€ 410), head-up display (€ 990), driving assistance pack plus (€ 1.805), wireless charging (€ 200) and an Energizing coach that keeps you fit by using optimized music, light and small seat position changes if the GLB is equipped with memory seats. The cruise control takes into account corners, junctions and roundabouts for which it also uses navigation data in order to adjust speed. It works flawlessly in the sense that you don’t need to touch any pedal while taking a roundabout for example. 

“The cornering speed you can achieve with the GLB will make your 6 passengers sick.”

For family & friends –  Up to 7 people

As soon as you open the boot or the backdoors it is clear that practicality is the focus, much more than any other Mercedes (disregarding the V-Class which we consider as a van). The space at the back is riant (104,5 cm for the 2nd row and 74 cm for the 3rd row), the headroom is more than impressive (almost 1 m for the 2nd row and 88 cm for the 3rd row), and thanks to 14 cm movable seats (option for the 5 seater, standard for the 7 seater) the driver can choose to enlarge the boot space and therefore reduce the space for the back passengers (second row with backrest angle in cargo position). The backseats are also foldable in three ways to create a flat loading space.

Due to some points in the interior one can note that Mercedes has saved on quality. The rearview mirror looks like it’s coming from a car from the eighties, and the plastics used for the armrest and the glove box are really something that Mercedes should not use in its premium ‘compact’ cars. Certainly not if there is an AMG badge on the rear left. Overall the interior feels very familiar as we know the dashboard from the A, CLA, B and GLA. The GLB 35 AMG gets carbon-look details standard on the dashboard and the front doors. Forewarned is forearmed: don’t expect the overall quality of the E or S-Class in the GLB.

M260 Engine & Technique

Starting the engine doesn’t feel like releasing 306 horsepower. Even worse, stationary the engine doesn’t give a healthy impression. Luckily appearances are deceptives. Once you touch the large throttle pedal an unexpected development of power unfolds. The lack of an ‘Eco’ driving mode reminds that you are on the road with an AMG. Driving in ‘Comfort’ mode feels like driving an ordinary petrol car, however there is always small noise present in the background coming from the black painted double exhaust.

“Starting the engine doesn’t feel like releasing 306 horsepower.”

The noise increases significantly in Sport and Sport+ mode and we even notice a little bit of fake exhaust noise coming from the speakers. A new reality unfortunately. For those who are looking for the typical AMG V8 sound are not at the right address with the 35 series and even the 45 series. Under the bonnet we don’t find the “One man/woman, one engine” badge but there is an AMG torsion bar.

The GLB 35 AMG shares its engine basis with the GLB 250. The M260 engine combines cast-iron cylinder liners with a die-cast aluminium engine block. Thanks to the “trumpet honing” principle piston friction is minimized which should benefit fuel consumption. Additionally the Camtronic variable valve timing allows two-stage changes of the valve lift on the intake side of the aluminium cylinder head. Power is transmitted to the wheels via the Speedshift DCT 8G and permanent four wheel system 4MATIC with fully variable torque distribution.

The power take-off of the 4MATIC system is integrated into the automated dual clutch transmission. The rear axle differential with integrated multi-plate clutch is electromechanically operated. An electric motor exerts an axial force on the clutch to open or close the plates of the clutch via a crown wheel and ball ramp. Depending on the driving conditions, the torque split ranges from pure front wheel drive to 50:50 split.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a characterful, fun (and expensive) alternative for a family car, then the GLB 35 AMG is your car. In a proliferation of models the GLB has another advantage to stand out from the grey mice thanks to the specific ‘offroad-oriented’ design, but you need to fall in love with it. This parent taxi offers the perfect mix between multifunctionality and driving pleasure. You won’t believe how well it drives until you drive it yourself.

Anyway, with a starting price in Belgium of € 57.354 the GLB 35 AMG is only reserved for the more prosperous families. Our testcar even had a price tag of € 72.297. The positive news is that there were almost no reasonable options left except for the 3rd seat row, a tow bar, and the AMG Performance steering wheel in microfiber.

AMGMercedes-AMG GLB 35 X247
EngineM260 2,0 l R4
Horsepower306 hp between 5.800 and 6.100 rpm
Torque400 Nm between 3.000 and 4.000 rpm
Compression ratio10.0 : 1
TransmissionAMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 8G
DrivetrainVariable all wheel drive
Brake discsInternally ventilated and perforated discs
Emission classEURO 6d-TEMP
Average fuel consumption (NEDC)8,6 l / 100 km (WLTP)
Average fuel consumption (test drive)9,3 l / 100 km
Carbon footprint196 g CO2 per km (WLTP)
0 - 100 km/h5,2 s
Topspeed250 km/h
Boot760 - 1.155 l
Price (standard)€ 57.354 (Belgium, 21% VAT)
Price testcar€ 72.279,35 (Belgium, 21% VAT)
Options testcar (Prices including 21% VAT)Galaxy Blue: € 908
21 inch AMG rims: € 1.694
AMG leather pack: € 1.210
Premium PlusPack: € 3.751 (Ambient light, Keyless-go, Advanced Surround system, digital media display, Panoramic roof)
MBUX Augmented reality for navigation: € 472
Driving Assistance Pack (incl. blind spot detection): € 2.220
Multibeam LEDs: € 508
AMB buttons on the steering wheel: € 424
AMG Night Pack: € 544
Parktronic & 360° camera: € 496
Adaptive damping sytem: € 847
Head-up display: € 1.198
Other possible options (including 21% VAT)3rd seat row: € 900

Special thanks to Mercedes-Benz Belgium.

 

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