This mini G-Glass has seating for seven. Impressive.
Mercedes-Benz has officially unveiled its first-ever GLB-Class crossover SUV for the 2020 model year and, as you can see, its exterior styling is inspired by a certain brand icon, the G-Class. While the GLB may not be able to scale buildings like its big brother, it's still a very capable vehicle that, despite its seemingly smaller dimensions, has seating for up to seven passengers. So far, the only trim details released are for the GLB 250 and the Edition 1, shown here in white. So let's dig in.
The exterior styling looks nearly identical to that of the concept first shown a few months ago. The most obvious changes are the slightly different lower front grille insert, a less aggressive roof rack, and smaller tires. Aside from that, the shape and even the headlights are identical. Compared to the GLC-Class, the GLB is about an inch and a half shorter in both length and wheelbase. However, the GLB's wheelbase is over 5 inches longer than the GLA-Class.
Classified as a compact crossover, the GLB shares much of its underpinnings with the A- and CLA-Class. Wait, so up to three rows of seats in a compact crossover? Indeed. The GLB comes standard with two rows while the third row is optional. There are even cupholders between the seats and USB ports for passengers' charging conveniences. To access the third-row, the second-row seats move forward.
However, Mercedes has not released rear headroom and legroom leaving us to predict the third-row is best suited for small children. But as a five-seater, the GLB is certainly spacious enough with up to 62 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rearmost seats folded. Second-row passengers have up to 38 inches of legroom with the seats pushed back.
Driver and front seat passenger are treated to a dashboard design and general layout that's very similar to the A-Class, although there's additional headroom. The familiar Mercedes digital cockpit features a 7-inch instrument screen and a 7-inch touchscreen display. The latter provides access to must-haves like Apple CarPlay and Android, both of which come standard. Mercedes has also made its MBUX system with voice control standard as well.
Various driver assist systems like active braking, crosswind assist, and a rearview camera are also standard fare. Optional features here include blind spot assist, parking assist, navigation, larger 10.25-inch displays, a Burmester surround system, a head-up display, and plenty more.
Under the hood is something also quite familiar: Mercedes' turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, this time producing 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Not amazing power but Mercedes does claim a 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds, which is respectable for this segment. The sole transmission is an eight-speed DCT. All-wheel drive is optional, in Mercedes' case dubbed as 4Matic. The Off-Road engineering package is standard for AWD versions and it adds an extra drive program enabling 50/50 power distribution when needed. In normal driving conditions, 80 percent of power is up front while there's a 70/30 split in Sport mode.
Only two models will initially be sold at launch, the GLB 250 and GLB 250 4Matic, which will go on sale in the US by the end of this year. Official pricing will be announced at a later date.