2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class First Ride

Have you ever suspected that there was a letter space between the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and GLC-class? If that then you were correct. That letter is B, and the model that will go on sale later this year will be called the GLB-Class. But it’s meant to be more than a lineup-filler in terms of size and price — the GLB-Class will play the role of the more affordable Mercedes-Benz SUV that will offer almost all of the room of the pricier GLC-Class, which will keep its luxurious interior and luxurious price tag.

The upcoming 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB SUV is set to be a premium offering with its compact proportions, butch looks, space for 7 people as well as a throaty 2.0-litre 224PS/350Nm turbo-petrol mill. But as expected from the German carmaker, a beefier and meaner variant of the SUV was already in the works. And now it’s finally been revealed in the form of the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35.

Autoblog had the opportunity to take a ride in the much-anticipated 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 around the city and mountains here in Colorado.

While its boxy, truckish external appearance suggests the sort of virile and outdoorsy presence that resonates so well in urban Colorado, it isn’t a miniature G-Class. The GLB is intended for and in nearly all cases will be used for commuting and family hauling on potholed city streets, chew-on-the-steering-wheel-congested highways and the occasional picturesque mountain road.

There was a chance to admire the big touchscreen and voice-enabled AI of the MBUX infotainment system, which was introduced in the GLB’s A-Class sibling.

Nothing about the GLB’s infotainment or driver-assistance technology offerings will surprise you — it’s the same stuff you’ll find in several other Mercedes-Benz products. The SUV’s base configuration gets you a 7-inch gauge cluster and 7-inch multimedia display, but an optional premium package ups both of those screens to 10.2-inch units, like what you see in the car pictured here.

Infotainment duties are handled by Mercedes’ MBUX software, with its natural-speech voice recognition (the “Hey, Mercedes” command). The displays’ designs are customizable, and in addition to voice prompts, you can interact with MBUX by touching the screen or, if you prefer a fingerprint-free approach, a trackpad on the center console or smaller thumb pads on each side of the steering wheel. The optional navigation system has the augmented reality directional overlays that I love, and while the amount of functionality built into MBUX can seem a bit overwhelming, the more I use it, the easier it gets.

The GLB doesn’t skimp on safety tech, either. Buyers will be able to spec it with the same features available on more expensive Mercedes models, including adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, lane-keeping assist, lane-change assist, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and more. In other words, if Mercedes offers it, the GLB has it.

For the fun kind of driving, which we were able to witness a bit while in the mountains west of town, the 221-horsepower turbo four-banger engine sounded good and pulled with respectable authority, while the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission seemed adept at choosing appropriate shift points. Mercedes says an all-wheel-drive GLB 250 4Matic will go from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.

The GLB comes with Mercedes’ usual Comfort, Sport and Eco drive modes, which change the throttle and transmission programming, as well as the steering’s weight. 4Matic all-wheel-drive models get an extra Off-Road setting, which decreases throttle response at initial tip-in and adjusts the intervention points of the antilock braking system. The Off-Road mode also adds hill-descent control, which sort of works like a cruise control for a pre-selected speed between 1 and 11 miles per hour, for descending super-steep slopes.

Following the GLB250’s launch, Mercedes will offer the AMG GLB35, with a 305-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine, and the appropriate chassis upgrades to improve handling. It looks pretty cool, too — there’s more visual flair than a standard GLB, but not so much that it feels overwrought. It probably won’t set the world on fire in terms of performance, but as a sort of tall hot hatch, the GLB35 out to be a fun steer.

GLB seems to provide a good helping of comfiness and top-shelf engineering for a price that starts at $37,595 for the GLB 250, including the $995 destination charge. The GLB 250 4Matic starts at $39,595. All told, a fully loaded GLB will surely end up in the mid-$50,000 range.

Other source: cnet

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