New Mercedes-Benz GLB seven seater challenges the norm with hot-hatch intensity, seven seats, four child-seat anchor points, and an off-road package

Packed in a more compact body even compared to the Nissan Rogue, the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB manages to find a unique point in space among SUVs, where no vehicles like it exist. It is a premium compact SUV - short, not enormous - that packs seven seats inside combined with the well-known Mercedes-Benz luxury and sophistication qualities. To put it clearly - BMW, Audi, Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac, or Lincoln do not have a vehicle that could threaten the existence of the GLB.

Its sole competitors reside in the realm of cheap alternatives. If endowed with the right options, these compact SUVs can be seven-seaters - Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq, Nissan Rogue, and VW Tiguan Allspace.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB, however, is the only premium entry in this tight segment - this is how it is better than anyone else.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB has three rows of seats - How the hell did Mercedes pull that off?

With a length of 184 inches, a width of 72.2 inches, and a height of 65.2 inches, the Mercedes-Benz GLB is clearly a compact SUV. It is one inch shorter compared to the GLC, almost eight inches longer than the GLA, with a wheelbase of 111.4 inches (1.7 inches short than the GLC, but 5.1 inches longer than the GLA). Obviously, dimension-wise, it fits between the pseudo-SUV GLA and the GLC. Just barely. Neither one of them has a third-row option, though.

In a bid to reduce the number of platforms it uses to create its cars, Mercedes-Benz based the new GLB on top of the MFA (modular front-wheel-drive architecture). It is a platform that supports cars such as the A-class, A-class sedan, GLA, CLA, and the B-class. The main differentiating factor compared to the MRA (platform for the C-Class, E-Class and larger SUVs), is the fact that the MFA includes the technology for the integration of the transversely mounted engine, lightweight all-wheel-drive system, and small four-cylinder engines. With such an arrangement, the engineers have much more possibilities to change the dimensions of the car without having to resort to massive reengineering. That is why the GLB effectively becomes the biggest car built on the MFA structure. Although longer, with a stretched wheelbase compared to any MFA-based vehicle, it still shares all the suspension components, engines, transmission, and the interior tech with the lesser models such as the A-Class, B-Class, and the CLA.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Quirks And Features
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By stretching its wheelbase to the very limit in this segment, Mercedes GLB got what only a handful of cars in this segment have - the third row of seats. Not completely usable, tough. I find out that it can support passengers up to 5 foot 5 tall. I am not even sure about that. What I am sure about is that the third-row of seats has child seat anchor points - same for the second row as well. You can transport four small children inside the GLB. The third row also has two cupholders, two storage compartments, and two USB ports. Neat.
Keep in mind that it is not exactly easy to access the third row of seats and you don’t have any rear cargo room when they are in the upright position.

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

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB - Practicality

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Sure, the story about the third row of seats is also a story about practicality, but I figured that it requires its entry. Aside from the optional third row of seats, the Mercedes-GLB seems quite a lovely, practical people carrier. With the rearmost seats stowed, the load compartment capacity increases to 560 liters. Furthermore, the second row of seats is longitudinally adjustable with several stages for the backrest inclination. By moving the second row of seats forward, you can free up to 180 liters of extra capacity. If you fold the second-row seats, the cargo compartment capacity raises to 1,755 liters. See, a people carrier!

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Off-Road Engineering Pack - What Is That?

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Quirks And Features
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Some suggested that the GLB is a baby G-Class. The concept car from April 2019 definitely had some off-road visual qualities to it, however, the reality is a bit different. Bear in mind that the GLB is based on a compact car platform, it is a unibody vehicle, with small engines, and the stature of the glorified MVP. The thing is that the Mercedes-Benz actually noted some off-road hardware with the introduction of this vehicle.

Called the Off-Road Engineering Package, this bundle gives the GLB some neat pseudo-off-road features. First of all, all 4Matic models include the package as standard. When combined with the Multibeam LED lights, the package includes a special off-road light function that widens the LED light beams to illuminate all the obstacles ahead. It is a neat addition and I can imagine it helping in certain lowlight situations. The Off-Road Engineering Package also includes Hill-Assist Control, an additional driving mode that adapts the ABS and throttle response, as well as Downhill Speed Regulation. Also, the display can show more information about the inclination of the road and other technicalities.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Vs The Concept Car

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I think that the real question here is - what exactly did the GLB concept inherit from the road-going GLB? See, Mercedes-Benz revealed the GLB concept only two months before the official reveal of the production-ready SUV. That means that the concept is only a nicely touched up version of the production car - not vice versa. See, Mercedes is already producing the GLB and it had been doing so for some time. The Concept, while neat, had only a superficial influence on the production GLB. The lower bumper bra is gone (thankfully), but the Mercedes-Benz kept one version of the grille - six slits in the trim that extends from the sides of the front three-star emblem. They are the same as on the concept car. Roof lights are gone, the massive roof rack as well, and the rocker panels feel far more conventional on the production car. Finally, the BH Goodrich rubber is nowhere to be seen. There is an orange stripe on the wheels of the white GLB though. It is, I am sure of it, a link with the BF Goodrich tires from the concept car.

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Honestly, with compact car underpinnings, I am entirely OK with Mercedes-Benz going all conventional with the additions on the GLB. It would be kind of pointless to have all the concept car gear and an FWD SUV with a 1.3-liter engine.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Cabin Vs A-Class and CLA-Class cabin

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Quirks And Features
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Honestly, not by much. Apart from being bigger, all the arrangements on the dashboards and the layout of the interior are basically the same between the GLB, A-class, and the CLA-Class. I did, however, find some slight changes. The GLB has unique door panels and door handles. Furthermore, the seats seem to be different - they are shaped for comfort in the GLB and sportiness in the A-class. Finally, while the layout on the dash is completely the same between the three, the GLB seems to have a bit more utilitarian feel to it. In a right way though - with aluminum inlays and strips that make the cabin feel rather special, and better with all the LED ambient lighting. Regardless of the cosmetic changes, you can see that the cabins of the A-class and the GLB are eerily similar. In fact, looking at them side by side best shows an incredible nature of the modular car platforms - every button, the position of the speakers, and all the tech inside is equal between all cars from the MFA platform - eight of them.
And yes, I am just going to say it - Mercedes-Benz probably builds the best looking cabins of all manufacturers of today. It is just spectacular. That alone is enough to launch the GLB into stardom and completely separate it from the mediocre, similarly sized SUVs.

How Much Does the 2020 Mercedes GLB Cost?

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Considering that the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLA starts at $33,950, and the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC at $40,700, I can only imagine that the starting price for the Mercedes-Benz GLB will be at a tad less than $38,000. I know that the GLA sits in such a price bracket that it could easily cannibalize the GLC sales. However, the GLC is due for a replacement - it will become larger, even slightly upscale, compared to the one that is on sale right now. Considering that even today the entry level of the GLC Coupé almost touches on $50,000, I feel that the next GLC will be considerably more expensive than the one on sale now. Nevertheless, I am sure that the GLB looks to steal a whole lot of buyers who would, instead, shop for the XC40, the Audi A3, or the BMW X2. With so many seats, and the most advanced tech imaginable, I am sure GLB will manage just that. Prepare yourself to see a whole lot of GLBs on the streets.

With There Be a 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB35?

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Quirks And Features
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Only hours after the introduction of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB at the dedicated event in Utah, I have seen the spy photos of the upcoming AMG GLB 35. Tested at the Nurburgring, the AMG GLB 35 has a 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine developing just over 300 horsepower and almost 300 pound-feet of torque. I believe we will see it in production guise later this year. It will be capable of cracking 0-60 mph in 5 seconds and blasting to a top speed of 155 mph.
However, even the GLB 250, the only one available in the US right now, can crack 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds and deliver a maximum speed of 147 mph.

Is the 2020 Mercedes-GLB a baby G-Glass?

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB Quirks And Features
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No, it is not. Any G-Class connection with the GLB is pure marketing pitch. Please do not fall for it. G-Class and the GLB are as different as physically possible.
Furthermore, the GLB features a rather ingenious 4Matic system. Its lightweight design means it adds up only about 130-150 pounds of weight to the vehicle. Moreover, it does not affect the room inside the cabin and thanks to a few different driving modes, it is a solution that will improve efficiency over other SUVs equipped with an AWD system.

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Mercedes explains it like this:

"In regular driving operation, the drive program "Eco/Comfort" is based on an 80:20 distribution (front axle:rear axle), while in "Sport" it is 70:30. In off-road mode, the all-wheel drive clutch acts as an inter-axle differential lock, with the basic distribution a balanced 50:50."
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