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mercedes benz glb promisingly doesn t stray from the concept model

Mercedes-Benz GLB promisingly doesn’t stray from the concept model

It’s also the first seven-seater compact from Stuttgart

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

11 Jun 2019

Mercedes-Benz need deserve a pat on the back for its new GLB-Class. Not only did they ensure that minimal squinting was required to see that the production model is largely identical to the concept, it’s also the first seven-seater compact from the marque and will probably sell like hotcakes.

Borrowing heavily from the A-Class, the GLB takes on more of a classic SUV silhouette with a very practical but optional third-row that seats an additional two. Conveniently, it does this without coming across significantly larger than the hatch it’s based on.

At 2,830mm, the GLB’s wheelbase is just 130mm longer than the GLA and shockingly 43mm shorter than the next in the hierarchy; the GLC.

Although the third row is optional, it’s not without creature comforts or for midgets. There’re cup holders between the seats and even USB charging ports for the two right at the rear. Safety includes redesigned curtain airbags that protect third row occupants. Most importantly however, the GLB is capable of accommodating four baby seats; two in the middle row and another two in the third.

The second row seats can be slid forward or back to make more room in the rear. With the third row folded, cargo capacity is a generous 1,756-litre.

Up front, the dash takes on the current layout found in the new A-Class with all the toys. The dual screens are obviously present with one of the 7.0-inch screens functioning as a digital instrument cluster and the other; a touchscreen, handling the infotainment and access to much of the compact SUV’s settings.

MBUX lets you talk to the car and there’s also support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Safety tech comprises active braking, crosswind assist and a rearview camera. Of course, if you so desire, you can tick the optional boxes for a Burmester sound system, heads-up display, larger 10.25-inch display, navigation and blind spot assist.

As of now, you can only have it in GLB250 or GLB250 4Matic trim. That means Merc’s M260 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on duty. It makes 221hp and 350Nm of torque here; enough for a 6.9-second century sprint with the optional 4Matic all-wheel drive. Both trims will get the eight-speed DCT box.

If you go for the GLB250 4Matic, you’ll be pleased to know it won’t be a complete disaster if you leave the paved roads. The Off-Road Engineering Package is standard with all wheels driven and it adds an additional drive mode to the GLB’s usual suspects of driving modes. The system is capable of splitting power 50:50 if the conditions call for it but otherwise, 80 per cent of power will be channeled through the front with a marginally better 70:30 split in Sport modes.