Mercedes-Benz has just added another crossover to the company lineup. The GLB is an upright compact with standard all-wheel drive and an available third row of seats.
The new GLB is the fifth compact in the Mercedes-Benz lineup and the second one that's a crossover. But though the company calls it a compact, they're quick to point out that it's not all that small. The 2,829 mm wheelbase, for example, is just 40 mm shy of the GLC. And longer than Audi's Q5.
Of course, neither of those try and pack a third row of seats into the rear. Mercedes is making no pretences about this seven-seater's rearmost space being a third row for all, however, saying that it's designed to be comfortable for passengers "as tall as 1.68 metres." That's about five-foot five. And there are child seat anchors for both of the rearmost chairs.
Mercedes has given the GLB a chunky styled body, which it calls off-road character. With plenty of cladding on the exterior, the way that they've integrated it from wheel arch to bumper moulding is a fresh look in the segment. The tall greenhouse offers loads of headroom as well, with the automaker calling the 1,035 mm up front segment-leading.
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Powering the GLB 250 is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder. It puts 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through an eight-speed auto. Mercedes-Benz says it will hit 100 km/h from a stop in 6.9 seconds.
Inside, the GLB offers the new MBUX infotainment system. It has a simple and symmetrical design for the dash that takes many of its elements, like the ventilation controls and vents from the A-Class, but adds some more elements, like the tubular piece crossing the dash in front of the passenger, that are intended to give it a more rugged SUV appearance.
In the back of the cabin, the five-seat version has 560L of space behind the seats. Fold them and get 1,755L. With the optional third row picked and with the seats upright, there is a tight 179L of storage in the very back.
The GLB has driver assistance features Mercedes-Benz says are from the flagship S-Class. That includes camera and radar systems that can see up to 500m down the road, allowing some semi-self-drive capability, like active lane change assist, and the ability to adapt the radar cruise control's speed for corners and junctions. The GLB also gets LED lighting standard, with Multibeam adaptive LED lights as an option.
The GLB 250 will is set to arrive at the end of this year, as a 2020 model, with pricing to follow.