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Mercedes reveals on- and off-road-ready GLB

Two petrol and two diesel engines offered in box-fresh Mercedes-Benz GLB SUV

11 Jun 2019

MERCEDES-BENZ has uncovered its production-ready GLB small-size off-roader, complete with a bevy of four-cylinder engine choices, optional 4Matic all-wheel drive and seating for seven that is earmarked to land in Australian showrooms in the third quarter of 2020.
While international versions of the GLB will be made available with four powertrain options – two petrol and two diesel choices – it is still unclear which engines will arrive in local showrooms.
Sharing the petrol engines with the existing A200 and A250 hatchbacks, the GLB200 and GLB250 4Matic make use of a 120kW/250Nm 1.3-litre and 165kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine respectively.
The former is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that sends drive exclusively to the front axle for a zero-to-100km/h acceleration time of 9.1 seconds, while the latter gains an extra ratio and Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system to cut the landmark sprint to just 6.9s – the quickest of the GLB range.
Fuel economy in the GLB200 is pegged between 6.0-6.2 litres per 100km, while the GLB250 sips 7.2-7.4L/100km .
Meanwhile, diesel-engined offerings extend to the 110kW/320Nm GLB200d (available in front- and all-wheel-drive guise) and the 140kW/400Nm GLB220d, all produced from 2.0-litre turbocharged engines that are paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
In 0-100km/h acceleration testing, the GLB200d, GLB200d 4Matic and GLB220d 4Matic stopped the clock at 9.0s, 9.3s and 7.6s respectively, while fuel economy in the entry-level diesel is rated between 4.9-5.0L/100km, and the mid-tier and top-spec oil-burners share the same 5.2-5.5L/100km figure.
4Matic-equipped GLB models feature three-mode Dynamic Select drive settings including Eco/Comfort that splits torque 80:20 front and rear, Sport (70:30 split) and Off-Road (50:50).
Foreshadowed by the Concept GLB shown at April’s Shanghai motor show, the road-going SUV drops the concept version’s light bar, all-terrain tyres, chunky bodykit and jacked-up ride height, but retains its overall proportions and styling.
Though based on the same small-car MFA2 platform as the current A-Class hatchback, the production GLB measures a sizeable 4634mm long, making it 84mm lengthier than the Mazda CX-5 mid-size SUV.
As for the rest of the dimensions, the GLB is 1834mm wide, features a 2829mm wheelbase (100mm longer than the B-Class), and is either 1658mm or 1662mm tall for five- and seven-seat layouts respectively.
Mercedes-Benz is touting enough room for occupants measuring 168cm in the third row, which also features cupholders between the pews, storage compartments and USB ports.
Safety systems in the rearmost seats extend to a side-window airbag, retractable head restraints and seat belts with belt tensioners.
Of course, the extra seats can be stowed for additional boot space, but Mercedes has yet to reveal the volume capacity of its three-row GLB.
The five-seater however, will fit 560 litres with all pews in place, expanding to 1755 litres with the standard 40:20:40-split second-row backrest folded, and also features up to 140mm of longitudinal adjustment.
The GLB cabin mirrors its MFA2 siblings with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system splayed across a widescreen display and all-digital instrumentation, but differs with the addition of a tubular aluminium plate found above the glovebox and surrounding the centre console.
Mercedes’ new touchpad controller carries over to the GLB, while the MBUX system can also be operated via the steering wheel-mounted controls, voice activation or with gestures.
Additionally, the door grab handles are also positioned horizontally in the GLB, compared with the more vertical style of the A-Class hatchback.
Equipment available on the GLB includes adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, adaptive adjustable suspension and Energizing comfort control.
One additional option for the GLB includes an Off-Road Engineering Package that bundles LED headlights with “a special off-road light function” that “makes it easier to see obstacles in rough terrain in the dark”, according to the German brand, as well as hill-decent control and an animation of the current driving situation that shows gradient, inclination angle and other technical data.
Firm Australian details, including pricing for the GLB are expected closer to its late 2020 launch.

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