7-seater SUV joins Mercedes-Benz compact model range

One in three Mercedes-Benz cars is now an SUV, and one in four a compact model. Demand for SUVs continues to grow all over the world and in Malaysia, 33% of the new vehicles sold by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia in April 2019 were SUVs.

Given this market scenario, it’s not surprising that Mercedes-Benz has come out with yet another SUV – the GLB. With the new model, the compact car family from Mercedes-Benz now consists of 7 models, the others being the A-Class, A-Class Saloon, B-Class, CLA Coupe, CLA Shooting Brake and the GLA.

More ‘off-road oriented design’
The GLB, to be built in Mexico and China, has a more ‘off-road oriented design’ which Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG, says ‘lends an unmistakable SUV character’. “The clear forms with reduced lines and powerful surfaces convey our design philosophy of Sensual Purity.”

At 2829 mm, the GLB has 10 cm more wheelbase than the new B-Class. Together with the function-oriented greenhouse, the headroom in the first seat row is 1035 mm – claimed to be a best in this segment. The two seats in row three can be used by people up to 1.68 metres in height.

The load compartment capacity of 560 to 1755 litres (figures for the 5-seater) boasts the qualities of an estate. On request, the second seat row can be longitudinally adjusted and as standard the inclination of the backrests is adjustable in several stages. This enables the load compartment to be enlarged by up to 179 litres and put to versatile use.

High performance lighting
The LED High Performance headlamps and MULTIBEAM LED headlamps allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. As an option, there are also front foglamps with LED technology. They distribute the light more widely than the main headlamps and thus illuminate peripheral areas better. Their low position in the front bumper helps reduce the risk of dazzling.

The new GLB can be ordered with either petrol or diesel 4-cylinder engines completely updated to relaunch the compact model series. In comparison to the previous generation, they are characterised by significantly increased power, improved efficiency and emissions.

The petrol variants are the GLB 200 which has a 1332 cc displacement (163 ps/250 Nm) while the GLB 250 uses the M260 2-litre engine (224 ps/350 Nm). There are 3 diesel variants, all powered by the 2-litre 1951 cc OM654q engine with outputs ranging from 150 ps/320 Nm to 190 ps/400 Nm. With the exception of the GLB 200 which has a 7G-DCT transmission, the others have an 8G-DCT transmission.

4MATIC with fully-variable torque distribution
The GLB is available with the permanent all-wheel system 4MATIC, with fully-variable torque distribution. This allows the driver to use the DYNAMIC SELECT switch to influence the characteristics of 4MATIC. Three characteristic maps 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.

Aluminium highlights in the cabin
Inside, the driver faces a widescreen cockpit, with control and display via MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). A new feature is the characteristic off-road tubular element in an aluminium look which rounds off the lower section of the instrument panel and houses the three round centre air vents. These give the dashboard support an impression of robustness, power and a certain fun factor. Below the nozzles is the air conditioning control panel, whose buttons create the impression that they have been milled from a solid aluminium cylinder.

The robust character of the interior continues in the centre console. Tubular elements in a machined look lend solidity to the design of the components and controls. Along the doors, the SUV character is underlined by the horizontal grab handle that, from the design and equipment line Progressive upwards, forms a robust part of the door panel structure and resembles a machined aluminium tube.