New Mercedes GLB: baby G-wagen gets AMG power at Frankfurt

Published: 10 September 2019

► New Mercedes GLB crossover gets AMG power
► Chunky looks, techy cockpit
► Seven-seat option available

The GLB 35, Affalterbach’s latest box-ticking exercise, has just made its public debut at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show. Designed for the car owner that wants to space to lug around up to seven souls at AMG speeds, the GLB 35 follows the usual sporty crossover formula.

Mercedes GLB 35 AMG at the Frankfurt motor show 2019 - rear view, red

That means the interior is unchanged, while the exterior gets the usual Affalterbach treatment: think vertical grille slats, beefy bumpers and a more aggressive stance.

How fast is the Mercedes GLB 35 AMG?

Of course, the real magic happens between front wheels, where AMG has nestled a 302bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged in-line four, with 295 lb ft of torque.

Because it’s an AMG, you’ll get an eight-speed DCT ‘box and the GLB 35 is also fitted with Affalterbach’s Race Start launch control. Set things up properly and this seven-seater will get from 0-62mph in just 5.2 seconds.

Mercedes GLB 35 AMG at the Frankfurt motor show 2019 - side view, red

Inside, you’ll also be able to twiddle between five AMG modes: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.

Keep reading for more info on the rest of the Mercedes GLB range.

The Mercedes-Benz GLB-class: what you need to know

This is the new Mercedes GLB, revealed in production form, and it’s a lesson in how to get the most out of a platform. Ostensibly, it’s the latest A-Class underneath, but stretches a funky and boxy body on top and up to seven seats.

Merc’s new GLB will go on sale towards the end of 2019 in five- and seven-seat formats.

A-Class platform and tech, G-Class-inspired looks and seven seats

Baby G-Class? You sure?

Oh, come on – look at it! Tall and boxy proportions and loads of body cladding, but with rounded edges and some much more modern touches? It’s like the G and an A-Class had a baby, the end result being something like a liger or a zonkey.

Anyway, we got a good look at the GLB after Mercedes pulled the covers off the concept car in May 2019; though the integrated roof-mounted fog lights and knobbly off-road tyres may have gone, pretty much everything else has remained. The boxy space is hugely beneficial to the interior, allowing for a 560-litre boot space on the five-seat model (that’s larger than a GLC) and the option of a seven-seat version. 

So it’s all about practicality then…

That’s the aim. The second row splits 40:20:40 and can slide fore or aft by up to 140mm, allowing you to decide between extra legroom or bonus boot space. You can even optionally spec a fold-flat front passenger seat if you’re a surfer or skier. On the seven-seat version, the third row folds flat, and can be accessed by Merc’s ‘Easy Entry’ (i.e. a lever) system at the sides of the second row. The rearmost seats are relegated to people 5f 6in (1.68m) and under, though.

Is it any good off road?

We’ll have to wait until we drive it, but Merc has thrown in some off-road prowess the GLB’s way. Along with short overhangs front and rear, the doors wrap around the lower sills so you don’t get your shins muddy if you do bother taking it off tarmac.

All-wheel drive, under the 4Matic moniker, is relegated to the higher-powered engines. By default, power splits 80:20 front/rear, with Sport splitting 70:30. Off-road mode locks the ratio 50:50, with the Off Road Engineering pack (standard on 4Matic versions) adding hill descent control and a submenu in the MBUX. 

Anything else?

The engine range comprises the usual A-Class line-up of turbo four-pots, ranging from a 1.3-litre 161bhp ‘200’ petrol to the 187bhp diesel ‘250d’. Although unconfirmed, we’ve also spotted an AMG GLB35 model out testing under camouflage.

The new GLB will go on sale towards the end of 2019 – full pricing and a proper release date will be revealed soon.

Check out our Mercedes reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches