The new GLB mini-SUV is the largest and most rugged model in Mercedes’ line of compact cars

Previewed by the very revealing Concept GLB, the production version of the Mercedes-Benz GLB has now been officially unveiled and detailed. Its underpinnings are closely related to those of the A-Class hatch or the CLA sedan, but judging by its design and size, you wouldn’t really know they are related, at least from the outside.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB was designed to fill the spot in the range between the smaller GLA (based on the same front-wheel drive-biased chassis architecture) and the larger GLC (essentially the SUV equivalent of the C-Class sedan). However, even though its wheelbase is shorter than that of the GLC, the GLB’s squared off design and tall greenhouse actually allow it to be perceived as the larger car.

The 2020 Mercedes GLB Has G-Class Looks and the Promise of Ruggedness

left right

Mercedes made it very clear that it was aiming the GLB at adventurous types who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle.

The Concept GLB that previewed the production model had chunky off-road tires, big roof rails, extra LED lights on the roof, and decent ground clearance.

The production version is less extreme, but with minimal mods, you could make it look exactly like the concept.

The fact that it looks like a smaller and friendlier version of the big G-Class off-roader is no accident. Mercedes previously tried this kind of design on the GLK (the current GLC’s predecessor) and that car’s squared off good looks certainly attracted buyers. But then, with the launch of the GLC, the GLK’s replacement bore more of a resemblance to a raised hatchback or estate than it did to the G-Class.

left right
Now, with the first ever GLB, Mercedes has created a smaller SUV with cues from its iconic Geländewagen, complete with short overhangs and a tall greenhouse to leave you in no doubt as to what inspired it.

The standard roof rails it comes with are not as big as the ones on the concept, but they still do the job of making it look like a proper off-roader (even though it really isn’t one).

So, even if base versions only come with front-wheel drive, the GLB’s short and stout appearance makes it seem very capable off-road. Mercedes says that examples equipped with the optional all-wheel drive are genuinely good at tackling rough surfaces and it even offers what it calls the “Off-Road Engineering Package” to further increase its off-road abilities.

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLB vs. GLA vs. GLC
Mercedes-Benz GLB Mercedes-Benz GLA Mercedes-Benz GLC
Length 182 173.9 183.3
Width 74 71 74.4
Height 75 58.8 64.5
Wheelbase 111 106.3 113.1

The 2020 Mercedes GLB is Packed Full of Technology

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Seven-Seater Compact Crossover Is the New Official "Baby G-Class"
- image 844309
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB has all the bells and whistles available on vehicles based on the same platform.

Its interior design and layout are very similar to what you’ve already seen in the new A-Class and CLA, the main difference being just how much more headroom there is inside the GLB. It comes with the same twin-screen setup (where one is a digital gauge cluster while the other handles infotainment) that can optionally be upgraded to feature two 12.3-inch displays.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Seven-Seater Compact Crossover Is the New Official "Baby G-Class"
- image 844326
The infotainment system is Mercedes’ latest MBUX system complete with the new excellent voice command feature.

The GLB also comes with semi-autonomous driving capability, as well as self-parking, lane change assistant with Active Steering Assist, hill start assist, and one feature that isn’t available on any other compact Mercedes - examples with 4Matic all-wheel drive that also have the optional Multibeam LED headlights specced to “offer a special off-road light function." This makes it easier to see obstacles in rough terrain in the dark. With the off-road lights, the cornering light on the Multibeam LED headlamps is continuously switched on at speeds of up to 50 km/h. This results in "wide and bright light distribution immediately in front of the vehicle,” according to the manufacturer.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Seven-Seater Compact Crossover Is the New Official "Baby G-Class"
- image 844308

The aforementioned Off-Road Engineering Package adds a new selectable driving mode, as well as “an animation of the driving situation” that shows “realistic presentation of gradient, inclination angle, and technical settings the help the driver to judge maneuvers correctly.”

In the U.S., the 2020 Mercedes GLB is Only Offered With One Engine Choice

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Seven-Seater Compact Crossover Is the New Official "Baby G-Class"
- image 844340

If you live in North America, you only have one trim level to choose from: The GLB 250 4Matic. It is powered by a 221-horsepower, turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine that’s hooked up to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. This is the top of the range version and exclusively available with all-wheel drive. Its claimed sprint time to 62 mph is a brisk 6.9 seconds, its top speed is 146 mph, and Mercedes expects it to return 31.8 mpg on average.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 4MATIC specifications
Transmission 8G-DCT (automatic)
Displacement (cc) 1991
Output (hp) 221
at rpm 5,500
Max. torque (lb-ft) 258
at rpm 1800 - 4000
Acceleration 0-60 mph (s) 6.9
Top speed (mph) 130

If you live in Europe, you have several trim lines to choose from. There is one more gasoline version on offer, the front-wheel-drive GLB 200, which is powered by a 160- horsepower, 1.3-liter engine that’s hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. With this engine option, the GLB sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) is 9.1 seconds and its top speed is 207 km/h (128 mph). Claimed average efficiency is 6.2 l/100km (37.9 mpg).

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB - European gasoline lineup
GLB 200 GLB 250 4MATIC
Transmission 7G-DCT (automatic) 8G-DCT (automatic)
Displacement (cc) 1332 1991
Output (kW/hp) 120/163 165/224
at rpm 5500 5800
Max. torque (Nm) 250 350
at rpm 1620 - 4000 1800 - 4000
Combined fuel consumption (l/100 km)[3] 6.2-6.0 7.4-7.2
Combined CO2 emissions (g/km)1 142-137 169-165
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 9.1 6.9
Top speed (km/h) 207 236

Two versions of the same 2.0-liter diesel are offered too, both hooked up to the same eight-speed transmission: the GLB 200d and GLB 220d 4Matic. The former has 148 horsepower, and it can be had with optional all-wheel drive which drops its claimed sprint time to 100 km/h (62 mph) from 9 seconds to 9.3 seconds and also makes it slightly less efficient (5.5 l/100km versus 5 l/100km | 42.8 mpg versus 47 mpg). Top speed also decreases for the GLB 200d 4Matic from 204 km/h to 201 km/h (126.7 mph to 124.9 mph).

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Seven-Seater Compact Crossover Is the New Official "Baby G-Class"
- image 844310

The most powerful diesel, the GLB 220d 4Matic, sprints to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds, has a top speed of 217 km/h (135 mph,) and returns a claimed average of no more than 5.5 l/100km (42.8 mpg) - exactly the same efficiency figure as the lower-powered GLB 200d 4Matic.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB - European diesel lineup
GLB 200 d GLB 200 d 4MATIC GLB 220 d 4MATIC
Transmission 8G-DCT (automatic) 8G-DCT (automatic) 8G-DCT (automatic)
Displacement (cc) 1951 1951 1951
Output (kW/hp) 110/150 110/150 140/190
at rpm 3400 – 4440 3400 – 4440 3800
Max. torque (Nm) 320 320 400
at rpm 1400 - 2600 1400 - 2600 1600 - 2400
Combined fuel consumption (l/100 km)1 5.0-4.9 5.5-5.2 5.5-5.2
Combined CO2 emissions (g/km)1 133-129 144-136 146-138
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 9.0 9.3 7.6
Top speed (km/h) 204 201 217

So far Mercedes has not mentioned the creation of hotter AMG-branded models, but we have seen spy photos showing what looks a lot like an AMG GLB 35 , a version that will be added to the range at some point in the future. An even hotter GLB 45 is not out of the question, but based on what we know so far, it may or may not happen.


Land Rover Discovery Sport

2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport
- image 674254

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is probably the closest rival to Mercedes’ new GLB. The Disco Sport is about the same size, it has a definite premium feel and, just like the GLB, it can be had with an optional third row of seats that increases the total seating capacity to seven. Its engines are all four-cylinder units and match what Mercedes is offering in the GLB. But, the Disco Sport is probably going to be the better of the two when it comes to going off-road. The Mercedes GLB is designed to look like it can play rough off the beaten path, but Land Rovers are usually better than rivals in this respect.

Land Rover Discovery Sport exterior dimensions
Length (mm) 4,597
Wheelbase (mm) 2,741
Width (mirrors out) (mm) 2,173
Approach angle: 25.0°
Departure angle: 30.0°

Read our full review on the 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport

VW Tiguan Allspace

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace High Resolution Exterior
- image 700807

Even though the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace has a slightly larger footprint than that of the Mercdes GLB, and it doesn’t wear a premium badge, that’s not to say the two models won’t be cross-shopped. The Tiguan Allspace looks like a sober and mature crossover from the outside, and there is little to complain about inside as well. Just like the GLB, it can be had with a high-quality fully digital gauge cluster, a clever infotainment system (that in the VW can even have gesture control) and, last but not least, a usable third row of seats. But, the Tiguan looks a bit boring and unimaginative both inside and out, especially compared to the funkier GLB with its cute yet chunky looks and dramatic tech fest interior.

2019 VW Tiguan Allspace exterior dimensions
Length: 4701 mm
Wheelbase: 2787 mm
width (mirrors out): 2099 mm
Approach angle (AWD only): 24.0°
Departure angle (AWD only): 24.0°

Read our full review on the 2019 VW Tiguan Allspace

Further Reading

The 2019 Mercedes GLB Concept a New Boxy, Compact SUV
- image 835208

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLB Concept.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Seven-Seater Compact Crossover Is the New Official "Baby G-Class"
- image 844314

Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
- image 700280

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA.

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class
- image 827003

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: