Remember Merc’s GLB Concept from the New York Motor Show? Well, it’s back—this time as a proper production-ready model, minus the chunky wheels, spotlights, and rooftop storage. Boo.
The Mercedes-Benz GLB is a “compact” crossover that uses the same basic underpinnings as the new A-Class and B-Class. Bigger, though, so there’s room for seven seats. The rearmost two are optional—Mercedes says they can be used by people up to 1.68 meters tall (that’s about 5’ 6”), presumably only with the middle-row slid as far forward as it’ll go. Doesn’t look like there’s much of a cargo area when they’re in use, either, but fold them flat into the floor and you’re rewarded with almost 1,800 liters of cargo space. Not bad.
Elsewhere inside, you have the now familiar MBUX infotainment system, which marries a clever voice assistant with two widescreen displays. What you can’t do with your voice, you do with touchpads on the steering wheel or a laptop-style trackpad on the center console. It’s the exact same setup you get in the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA, so go read our reviews of those cars to see what it’s like.
As for engines, you’re looking at the same four-cylinder gasolines and diesels as those other small Mercs. The GLB200 is a 1.3-liter gasoline with 163hp and a seven-speed auto, while the GLB250 gets a 2.0-liter engine with 224hp and an eight-speeder. Both diesels are 2.0-liters.
All-wheel drive is an option, looks like for the diesels only—in Eco/Comfort mode, it sends 20% of drive to the rear axle. In Sport, it’s 30%, while in Off-Road, the split is 50/50. An ‘Off-Road Engineering Pack’ gives you hill-descent control, extra info displays, and a special mode for the LED headlamps. Naturally, you get all the same safety and driver-assistance systems as most modern Mercs, too.
Now, the looks. Mercedes seems pretty pleased—it calls the GLB “muscular and sensuously contoured,” with an interior that conveys “robustness, power and a certain fun factor.”
Do you agree? Coming soon.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.