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The Baby Mercedes G-Class Is Our New Favorite Three-Row SUV

2019 Frankfurt Motor Show / 5 Comments

The GLB offers space and pace in a compact luxury performance crossover.

Have a big family, and need a vehicle with seven seats to haul them around? There's no shortage of three-row crossovers and SUVs on the market. But this could be our new favorite.

It's the brand-new Mercedes-AMG GLB 35, revealed to the public for the first time right here at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show as the the latest addition to the bottom end of Daimler's small-car lineup. And we like it for the simple yet enticing prospect of packing a big punch in a small package (in highly relative terms, of course).

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Slotting size-wise in between the smaller GLA and the larger GLC, the new GLB presents the unusual prospect of fitting three rows of seating in a compact form, with rounded-square styling evocative of the top-of-the-line G-Class.

As it is, the standard GLB 250 is no slouch, packing a 2.0-liter turbo four rated at 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to make it one of the more potent vehicles in its class and deliver a perfectly respectable 0-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds. Such are the expectations of a luxury automaker like Mercedes. But AMG's first crack at the new model takes it that much further.

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The engine parameters are essentially the same, but the AMG GLB 35 packs a much bigger punch, good for 302 hp and 295 lb-ft – enough to send it scurrying to 60 in 5.1 seconds.

That may not be enough to outpace the more potent and compact GLA 45 or the lap-record-setting GLC 63, but then you won't be able to transport seven people in either of those, or in most of their competitors – a capability you don't typically see in vehicles this small. So if you like you space and your performance, this could be the vehicle for you... at least until an even more potent GLB 45 comes along.

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