Mercedes-AMG has worked its high-performance magic on the GLB-class SUV, giving it more athletic styling and adding a turbocharged four-cylinder making 302 horsepower. The GLB35 is bigger and more upright than the smaller GLA45 and includes a third row of seats, something even the larger GLC-class SUV doesn’t have. Its high-tech interior features the latest MBUX infotainment system from Mercedes, two large digital displays, and plenty of creature comforts. Mercedes-AMG’s performance estimates would put it in the hunt alongside the BMW X2 M35i and even some SUVs in the next class up.
What’s New for 2021?
Everything. The GLB-class is a new model for the Mercedes-AMG lineup and is a fancier, higher-performance version of the Mercedes-Benz GLB-class. The only variant—for now—is the GLB35, which is powered by a 302-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The GLB35 comes well-equipped right out of the gate but there’s a couple option packages we’d splurge on. First, we’d add the Premium package, which adds power-folding exterior mirrors, a handsfree power liftgate, and passive keyless entry. Second, we’d spring for the panoramic sunroof and then we’d end our shopping spree with the Exterior Lighting package, which includes adaptive LED headlamps with an automatic high-beam feature.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The GLB35 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 302 horsepower; an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are both standard. Mercedes-AMG predicts a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. After a brief test drive, we think that number is conservative. Handling is fairly sharp and playful but the GLB35’s stiff-legged ride is the compromise for such a fun-to-drive nature. We expect a higher-powered GLB45 model to become available later on, powered by the higher-output version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 382 horsepower in the revamped CLA45 sedan.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has given the GLB35 fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Similar performance SUVs such as the BMW X2 M35i and the Mini Cooper Countryman JCW achieve EPA highway ratings of 29 and 30 mpg, respectively, and earned the same 25 mpg city/highway combined rating. When we get the chance, we’ll subject the GLB35 to our 75-mph highway fuel economy test and update this story with results.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Believe it or not, Mercedes has squeezed three whole rows of seating inside the GLB-class’s compact body, although we’d hate to be the unlucky passenger forced to cram themselves into the wayback. The first and second rows will undoubtedly be more comfortable for adults. Differentiating itself from its Benz-branded counterpart, the AMG GLB-class sports a flat-bottomed steering wheel and microfiber and leather upholstery.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A reconfigurable digital gauge display blends seamlessly into a large wide-screen infotainment system behind a single glass panel. Mercedes’s new MBUX infotainment software allows for voice recognition as well as touchpad and gesture-controlled interactions with the system. An onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard; navigation is optional. We’ve found the GLB35’s infotainment software and its various interaction methods to be fussy, which has been our experience with the system in other Mercedes products.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Mercedes-AMG offers several driver-assistance features but almost none of them are standard. For more information about the GLB-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG offers a somewhat basic, no-frills warranty package on its new cars with four years or 50,000 miles of coverage on both the bumper-to-bumper and powertrain policies. BMW sweetens the deal on its vehicles by offering three full years of free maintenance, but AMG buyers aren’t offered the same luxury.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance