The new GLB Class marks a couple of firsts for Mercedes-Benz.
First, it’s the first ever of its model range for the German brand, becoming the sixth under Mercedes-Benz’s celebrated GL line of SUVs (after the GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS, and the legendary G Wagen).
Second, it’s the first 7-seater luxury compact SUV. Ever. No other prestige brand has made a three-row model in the compact SUV class. Pioneering. And brave. Unlike many compact 7-seaters, Mercedes-Benz claims that the third-row seats of the GLB can accommodate adults up to 5’6 in height. Third-row occupants even get their own cupholders and USB ports. The second- and third-row seatbacks fold down, resulting in a completely flat floor from tailgate opening all the way to the backs of the front seats.
This packaging triumph is the result of the GLB’s innovative use of the company’s advanced Modular Front Architecture (MFA). The front-wheel drive GLB is the eighth model in the Stuttgart-based company’s lineup to use MFA and boasts a longest-in-class wheelbase of 2,829mm (100mm longer than the B Class’). It is also the eighth compact-sized model from the brand, including their compact sedans, hatchbacks, and crossovers.
Why another GL Class? Because one out of every three new Mercedes-Benzes sold worldwide is an SUV and one out of four of these new Benzes is compact-sized. Hence another compact SUV is a no-brainer.
Priced at P3,790,000, the GLB 200 AMG Line (the sole variant at launch) slots in between the P2,790,000 GLA 180 and the P3,990,000 GLC 200, which is a mere inch longer than the GLB. All GLBs are made in Mexico or China, with the former being the Philippine’s source.
The powerful proportions of the GLB underscore the design with its more off-road orientation. It’s more squarish and upright then the its hunkered down GLA sibling. The upright front section with its striking headlamps is clear evidence of off-road genes, as are the short overhangs at the front and rear.
The muscular and sensuously contoured vehicle shoulder dominates the side view at the height of the C-pillar, an effect reinforced by the rising waistline. The doors reach over the side bar, improving ease of access, and keep the door apertures free of soiling as well as increasing protection in a side impact. All-round protective claddings divide the overall proportions and emphasize the vehicle’s off-road character, as does the simulated underride guard at the front and rear.
The GLB 200 is powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine (no, it doesn’t share the GLC 200’s 2.0-liter engine) that develops 163hp and a generous 250Nm of torque from as low as 1,520 rpm. The motor is mated to a 7-speed automatic DCT. It features Dynamic Select, which offers three drive programs (Eco, Comfort, and Sport) that adjust the settings for the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. The GLB rests on a MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear suspension.
It comes equipped with a standard LED dynamic headlights. It can be dressed in sportier apparel through the AMG Line Package, with 19-inch five twin-spoke alloy wheels, side skirts painted in body color, polished aluminum roof rails and AMG Body Styling. It’s a ruggedly handsome crossover that treads the line between form and function well.
On the inside, finely finished modern furnishings and artful detailing welcome the driver and passengers. The cabin boasts luxurious Black Artico Dinamica microfiber seats. The intuitive Mercedes-Benz User Experience is your own in-car personal assistant. Tell it, touch it, point to it, the GLB can hear you, and show you the way. MBUX can quietly respond to your touch as well, using a 7-inch central touchscreen that is also controlled by touchpad on the center console, steering wheel controls and voice commands.
Smartphone Integration merges the mobile phone with the infotainment system via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, giving convenient access to your smartphone and your favorite apps.
The all-new GLB features the latest driving assistance systems. During rush hour, on long drives at night or on unfamiliar routes, the GLB noticeably takes the strain out of driving, particularly in stressful situations. This is based on a concept that makes every journey in a Mercedes-Benz safer and unique: Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive.
In addition, the all-new GLB comes with Adaptive Brake Lights Flashing and the Brake Assist that provides automatic recognition of emergency braking situations. Parking is also made convenient with the Parking Package that comes with a reversing camera and Active Parking Assist to help the driver find suitable parking spaces.
Typical Mercedes-extensive safety equipment includes retractable headrests, seatbelts with belt tensioners, and a side window airbag, which also protects the passengers in the third seat row. Additionally, the GLB supplies ISOFIX and TOP-Tether anchorages for suitable child seats, and these can be used to attach up to four child seats in the rear.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB comes in a delightful palette of colors, each of which brings out its various personas: Mountain Grey, Cosmos Black, Denim Blue, Digital White, Galaxy Blue, Iridium Silver, Night Black, and Polar White.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLB is a singularly unique model in that it can effortlessly transform from a ruggedly handsome SUV for a corporate executive with an active and sporty lifestyle into a stylish first car for a newlywed couple who loves to go on weekend getaway trips with friends, or into a versatile yet upscale mover for a family of five, their nanny, and a baby stroller or crib. What other compact SUV can do all that?