2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB First Drive Review
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB First Drive Review
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona—For so many SUVs, or would-be SUVs, diminishing their dimension has meant diminishing returns. At least, for purchasers. By the time you choice up a bite-sized crossover, you understand it will have been smarter to maneuver up one dimension, to an SUV that’s demonstrably extra helpful for folks and their proliferating stuff for related cash.
To fight the potential for such disappointment, the all-new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 takes a extra right-angled method to mall-SUV quadratics. Surprisingly sensible for its dimension and semi-affordable, the GLB appears poised to lure new followers into Mercedes’ luxurious internet. And Mercedes sellers stand prepared with GLC, GLE, GLS and G-Class fashions for the day that GLB homeowners increase these households, incomes, and expectations.
Count me amongst individuals who didn’t think about Mercedes may slice the SUV sausage any thinner. But it’s the way in which they’ve sliced the GLB that makes you say, “Ah, I might actually go for one of those.” Instead of a steep sloping roof, the go-to for crossovers that need to counsel (typically falsely) agility and spunk, the GLB flaunts the squarer, two-box proportions of outdated. It’s a good-looking sucker, too, partially as a result of it presents itself with the trustworthy, upright grace that after characterised most each truck-inspired SUV. Only this one’s higher than a Mitsubishi Montero.
Of course, Mercedes couldn’t resist throwing some glitter on the clean-bodied GLC, from frosty “off-road” headlamps to such choices as a daring diamond-pattern grille and 19-inch AMG wheels. Add Mercedes’ dogged emphasis on journey consolation and low NVH, and a thick roster of luxurious, tech and security options — all spectacular in an SUV that begins from $37,595 — and the GLB comes off as extra a scaled-down GLS than a sportier, barely smaller tackle a compact GLC.
The imitation-by-flattery contains Mercedes’ flashy new MBUX infotainment system, with its non-compulsory (and certain to be fashionable) conjoined, 10.25-inch show screens stretching from behind the steering wheel to the middle of the dashboard. These ooze luxurious, simply as they do in far-pricier Benzes. (A lesser pair of seven.0-inch screens is normal, however you received’t need these.) Welcome normal options embrace 18-inch wheels, LED headlamps, dual-zone local weather management, keyless begin, an influence liftgate, Dynamic Select driving modes, eight-way powered entrance seats with place reminiscence, a multi-function leather-based steering wheel, three-way break up reclining rear seats, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Add $2,000 for 4Matic all-wheel drive, which might now ship as much as 50 % of engine torque to rear wheels, and the GLB turns into a professional four-seasons hauler. There’s even an non-compulsory off-road bundle with hill descent management. Really.
The GLB appears to fall actually wanting its big-brother GLS in a single key space: The out there seven-passenger model, versus the usual five-passenger mannequin. As for the dimensions of Row Three on this Kleine German cabaret? Apparently, it’s so small that even Mercedes couldn’t find one: Our press convoy of GLB’s lacked any three-row specimen for journalists to pattern, maybe as a result of they’d solely make enjoyable of it. (We’re instructed that the corporate designed the pop-up third-row bench an occasional perch for youngsters shorter than about five-and-a-half-feet tall.) But for an additional $850, households are welcome to fake they purchased a GLS that’s 20 inches longer. At a sure level, dimension does matter.
We’d skip the three-row model. Note, nevertheless, that as a result of the seven-passenger GLB exists in any respect, the room that setup requires advantages two-row GLBs all of the extra. This Mercedes feels the roomiest of all Tiffany-box luxurious SUVs, together with the Audi Q3, BMW X1, and Range Rover Evoque. The class-topping 111.4-inch wheelbase—the longest of Mercedes’ entry-priced “gateway” fashions—and general size each stretch about 5 inches past the German competitors. Throw in that volume-boosting tall roof, and the GLB can really swallow 10 % extra cargo than the pricier GLC, regardless of being an inch shorter general. The 62 cubic ft of seats-folded-down cargo area simply tops the category, representing about 20 % greater than the Evoque’s capability, and 40 % greater than you’ll discover in Mercedes’ smaller GLA crossover-ish hatchback.
Climbing aboard the GLB in Arizona, I used to be impressed by the open area between my noggin and the panoramic sunroof (a $1,500 choice) above. There’s 40.7-inches of entrance headroom, only a half-inch shy of the huge GLS, and it holds pretty regular because the roof tapers to the rear, together with 39.Three inches within the second row. That reclining center row pivots almost 9 inches fore-and-aft on seven-passenger fashions or 3.7 inches on five-seaters. Legroom within the first two rows is on par with typical midsize SUVs and sedans, at a respective 41.Four and 38.1 inches. Next to the way-back seats’ occupant peak most (five-foot, six inches), in addition they squeeze potential riders with 29.1 inches of legroom and don’t depart a lot area behind for cargo. Let’s simply say soccer dads received’t be squeezing their balls within the again.
The ethereal, inviting inside is a GLB excessive level. A dimpled, rounded decrease sprint helps a going through of (convincing) ersatz metallic, topped with a formally flat, stitched dashboard. The MBUX screens nestle right into a dashboard crevice, flashing their lovely shade graphics and endlessly reconfigurable shows. Natural-grain linden wooden trim (a $325 choice) additional diminishes any traces of cost-cutting. And for $310, 64-color ambient lighting casts a moody glow within the cabin.
It was solely a matter of time earlier than somebody imitated BMW’s Gesture Control. Mercedes’ tackle it, the $300 Interior Assistant, performs tips comparable to illuminating the console space if you attain for one thing at nighttime. Less profitable is the model’s Siri wannabe, a digital genie who you summon by saying “Hey, Mercedes,” at your personal Aladdin-Esque peril. The digital helpmate garbled, misapprehended or ignored roughly 6 of each 10 voice instructions. And the assistant nonetheless annoyingly springs to life do you have to say the phrase “Mercedes” in regular dialog. But the good new bit is Augmented Reality for Navigation, which robotically beams a real-time digicam view of upcoming turns or exits onto the windshield, and overlays it with directional arrows or avenue names. It labored nice as we wound our method from Scottsdale by the Coconino National Forest and Western-themed cities.
Mercedes has joined Audi in ditching its trusty, acquainted rotary management knob for the brand new MBUX unit, which is managed by a console touchpad, touchscreen, steering-wheel switches or voice prompts. (Yes, that’s 4 methods to do what an analog button may deal with, however apparently there’s no going again). Lovely shows apart, whether or not MBUX is less complicated and extra intuitive than the outdated COMAND system stays open to debate. That’s very true for the MBUX touchpad, which isn’t as wonky and unsightly as Lexus’ abominable unit, however nonetheless requires a surgeon’s contact at instances to function whereas in movement, with the attendant eyes-off-the-road considerations.
Quibbles over the driving expertise had been tougher to return by. On that all-day drive to the magical Red Rocks of Sedona, the GLB left us so at peace that we may virtually consider in Sedona’s Goop-approved, New-Agey wellness racket. With 221 horsepower and 258-pound ft of torque from its turbocharged, 2.0-liter inline-four, the GLB slips from zero to 60 mph in a Mercedes-tested 6.9 seconds. Power appears just-right for this utility, together with clean passes on Arizona’s two-layers. The prime velocity is 130 mph. That engine sounds awfully good for such a small four-cylinder: Subdued-yet-substantial, with nary a touch of stress. A seven-speed, paddle-shifted automated transmission performs its dual-clutch duties, and really nicely. Polished journey high quality was boosted by a $990 set of adaptive dampers, and the hushed inside appeared on par with any GLC or C-Class. The GLB did short-shift incessantly, venturing no greater than 5,800 rpm, regardless of an official 6,500-rpm redline, even once I stored the transmission in handbook paddle-shift mode and the accelerator pinned.
The GLB appears designed to tamp down aggressiveness, nevertheless it additionally confirmed a phenomenal really feel for the highway, monitoring down lengthy canyon descents with ease at 90-mph and extra. The steering has the signature on-center heft and class of pricier Benzes. (This is of little shock, given the GLB’s architectural DNA is shared with the also-upscale new A-Class sedan.) The serenity was boosted with a $2,250 Driver Assistance Package, with each conceivable security and semi-autonomous characteristic. That included Mercedes’ first-rate Distronic adaptive cruise management, which provides its personal wrinkle, a navigation-linked digicam that adjusted our tempo in anticipation of upcoming curves and different geographic options.
Don’t inform the president, however the GLB is in-built Aguascalientes, Mexico, alongside the A-Class sedan, and may attain showrooms in time for Christmas. Sweet labor offers apart, Mercedes additional boosts income with a well-recognized tactic: A variety of extra-cost choices. Our tester’s included a $1,650 Premium Package whose options embrace the dramatic MBUX screens and Keyless Go proximity key; $1,450 value of black leather-based; and a $1,150 Multimedia Package that included the Augmented Reality-enhanced navigation.
Thus larded, our GLB250 checked out at $49,050. As for lineup expansions, a full-fledged AMG 45 model appears unlikely, however a half-fledged AMG GLB35 appears inevitable for our market, with the identical 302-hp 4 you’ll discover within the AMG CLA 35 sedan. Even on this opening iteration, this successful GLB250 appears laboratory-designed to suit the needs and life of aspiring households. Just as importantly, their life will match within the GLB, even when it may be optioned as much as one-size-up costs.
|2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 Specifications|
|ON SALE||Winter 2019|
|ENGINE||2.0-liter turbocharged DOHC 16-valve inline-4, 221 hp, 258 lb-ft|
|TRANSMISSIONS||8-speed dual-clutch automated|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5–7-passenger, FWD or AWD wagon|
|EPA MILEAGE||23/30–31 mpg (metropolis/hwy)|
|L x W x H||182.Four x 72.2 x 65.Three in|
|WEIGHT||3600 lb (est)|
|0–60 MPH||6.9 sec|
|TOP SPEED||130 mph|