Congratulations. Your childhood education was all for nothing. You don’t need to know how to find a book using the card catalogue system and you certainly don’t need to know how to play Hot Cross Buns on the recorder but guess what? Thanks to Mercedes-Benz and its growing list of SUVs and crossovers it is imperative that you still remember your ABC to understand where all of these models fit in the range. So, if you didn’t figure out that its latest entry — the GLB — slots neatly between the GLA and the GLC, well, we are worried about you...
Merc is calling it a compact SUV which is surprising considering that it can be had with up to seven seats (there’s an optional third row available on request) and that it’s 4,634mm long, 1,834mm wide and stands at 1,658mm high making it rather burly in anyone’s book. It also has a 100mm longer wheelbase (2,829mm) than the new B-Class (from which it shares its basic underpinnings, that’s the MFA platform if you want to be nerdy...) meaning more room for second-row passengers. It also has plenty of headroom in the first row (1,035mm, the best in class in fact) while legroom in the rear is 967mm which should be plenty unless you play in the NBA. There’s loads of boot space too — 1,755 litres with the second row folded over for the five-seater in fact which is more than enough to swallow all your luggage.
You may also need to know a bit of math because keeping count of all the vehicles in the Merc family can be hard... The GLB is the eighth compact car and follows the A-Class, A-Class saloon and long-wheelbase A-Class saloon, B-Class, CLA Coupé, CLA Shooting Brake and the GLA. There’s an extensive range of safety equipment including retractable head restraints, seat belts with belt tensioners, and a side window airbag which also protects the passengers in the third seat row plus ISOFIX and TOP-Tether anchorages for suitable child seats. The upright, boxy design (with generously sized windows that should afford good outward visibility) looks pretty decent while the digital cockpit is dominated by a twin-screen arrangement (like the A-Class) which fuses an all-electronic instrument panel together with the centrally-located infotainment screen run by Benz’s latest MBUX operating system allowing access to a multitude of standard-issue tech including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also packs the smart Gimbal air vents (now a Merc hallmark) and features a handful of driving assistance systems such as Active Distance Assist, Active Steering Assist, and Active Lane Change Assist.
Under the bonnet, the GLB 200 gets a 1.3-litre petrol unit (paired with a seven-speed auto) which is good for 161 horses and 250Nm of torque. The GLB 250 4Matic is equipped with a permanent all-wheel system (with a default 80:20 front/rear torque split which switches to 70:30 in Sport mode and can be locked to an even 50:50 split in off-road mode), with power supplied by a 2.0-litre engine (mated to an eight-speed) making 224 horses, 350Nm of torque and giving the SUV the ability to hit 0-100kph in 6.9 seconds and blessing it with a top speed of 236kph.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLB will be available in the UAE in Q2 of 2020.