• 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35

Merc’s new performance crossover is primed and ready for its turn in the spotlight

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is a higher performance version of the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, a subcompact premium crossover that slots between the tiny GLA and the compact GLC. Unveiled in 2019 with a variety of gasoline and diesel engines, the GLB is now available in a performance-oriented trim and with an AMG badge. Since a full-fledged AMG 45 model is not yet available, the 2020 AMG GLB 35 is the range-topping model of the GLB-Class lineup. The performance crossover comes with a familiar AMG 35 package that includes some extras on the outside, better tech on the inside, and a powerful four-cylinder engine that generates a robust 302 horsepower. Let’s find out more about this hauler in the review below.

Exterior

  • Not so different from the regular model
  • Panamericana grille
  • Exclusive wheels
  • Round exhaust pipes
  • Sporty tailgate spoiler
  • Lower ride height
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858389

Much like all AMG 35 models out there, the GLB 35 is very similar to the standard model in the range.

The AMG GLB 35 isn't overly aggressive design-wise and stands out from the pack thanks to only a few unique features.

Up front, for instance, the Panamericana grille is the only element that sets it apart from the regular GLB. While most Mercs come with diamond grilles in the background and horizontal bars flanking the emblem, AMG models are fitted with Panamericana grilles, first introduced on the AMG GT a few years back, for a sportier look. These grilles weren’t offered on 35-spec models up until now, so the GLB 35 is the first of its kind to have it. Cool!

The A-shaped bumper is identical to the regular GLB. There are similar side vents with black surrounds and horizontal fins, while the central vents sport the same grille and splitter-like element at the bottom. The same goes for the engine hood, which carries over unchanged from the standard GLB.

left right

The profile looks even more like the standard GLB, mostly because the wheels are the only design features that look different. The GLB 35 comes with larger, 19-inch wheels in a five-twin-spoke design. The light-alloy construction means they’re a bit lighter than the standard GLB, and they’re also painted Tantalum Grey with a high-sheen finish. Through the spokes, you’ll notice the AMG performance brakes with silver calipers and black AMG lettering. Mercedes also offers 20- and 21-inch wheels in a two-tone finish for the GLB 35. The AMG version also sits a tad closer to the ground, but it’s hardly noticeable.

left right

Move to the rear, and you’ll notice two AMG-specific features. There’s a sportier spoiler at the top of the tailgate and round exhaust pipes instead of oval outlets. However, because these round pipes are fitted in oval-shaped holes in the chrome bumper trim, they look a bit weird and out of place when compared to the regular GLB. Of course, this model also features "AMG" badges front and rear.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858366

The optional AMG Night package provides further customization by means of a front splitter and rear apron finished in high-gloss black, as well as a black chrome-plated trim on the rear bumper.

What sets the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 apart from the regular GLB?

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858379

To recap, the AMG model isn’t significantly different than the standard GLB. AMG-specific features only include a Panamericana grille, five-spoke wheels, a sportier tailgate splitter, round exhaust pipes, and a lower ride height. So if you want an AMG for the sportier looks, this SUV isn’t the best option apart from that menacing front grille.

Interior

  • Modern layout
  • Premium features
  • MBUX infotainment
  • standard leather
  • contrast stitching
  • Sports seats
  • sporty steering wheel
  • AMG instrument cluster graphics
  • Retains the optional third-row seating
  • Segment-leading trunk space with two rows
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Interior
- image 858375
The GLB's interior is a mix of elements from the B-Class car and some features that are unique to this nameplate.

Because it is based on the B-Class for the most part, the dashboard looks familiar, but the passenger-side section is unique to this model thanks to the carved-in layout and the aluminum insert above the glove compartment. The center stack, the displays for the infotainment system, and the instrument cluster are similar to the B-Class, but this layout is common to other Mercedes-Benz models as well. The round, turbine-look A/C vents, the big displays set next to each other, and the thin control cluster on the center stack can be found in cars like the A-Class, C-Class, and E-Class too.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Interior
- image 858377

Just like the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the AMG GLB 35 comes with the intuitively operable infotainment system called MBUX. One of the most advanced interfaces on the market, MBUX features a powerful computer, high-resolution graphics, and an all-color head-up display. It also includes navigation with augmented reality, learning-capable software, and voice control that can be activated with "Hey Mercedes," just like you activate Google on an Android-operated smartphone.

What sets the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 apart from the regular GLB?

left right

Well, it mostly about materials and some extra tech included as standard. While the regular GLB comes with fabric upholstery as standard, the AMG GLB 35 is fitted with black Artico leather and Dinamica microfiber. Red double stitching and matching seatbelts come standard. If you don’t fancy microfiber, Mercedes-Benz offers two optional leather packages with two-tone hide, one of which combines black and red for a striking contrast.

The digital displays also feature specific AMG graphics, including a Supersport mode for the instrument cluster with a round rev counter in the center and bargraph-style driver information. There’s also a multi-function sports steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather and with a flat bottom. The grip areas feature perforated leather and red stitching. Optionally, you can go with the AMG Performance steering wheel that includes revised AMG buttons. The front seats are of the sporty variety, so you and the front passenger will enjoy enhanced lateral support during spirited driving. Granted, the AMG GLB 35 is no track car, but some extra support is welcomed for speedy curve exits and highway driving.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Interior
- image 858377
Just like the regular GLB, the AMG version can be fitted with a third row of seats, expanding passenger capacity from five to seven.

While not exactly comfortable for long trips due to the limited legroom and headroom in that area, as well as reduced legroom for second-row passengers, this layout could be useful for shorter trips. Despite the cramped third row, there’s room for two cup holders, two stowage compartment, and a couple of USB ports.

Does the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 offer more room than the competition?

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB
- image 844329

The AMG version offers the same amount of room as the regular model. In the five-seat configuration, it comes with 41 inches of headroom in the front row, which is an extra 1.2 and 0.5 inches compared to the BMW X2 and Audi Q2, respectively. Rear legroom is rated at 38 inches, 1.3 inches more than the BMW X2. Overall, it’s marginally roomier than its main competitors.

When it comes to trunk space, the GLB can swallow up to 20 cubic feet of luggage behind the second row. That’s 3.4 cubic feet more than the BMW X2, rated at 16.6 cubic feet. Compared to the Audi Q2, rated at 14.3 cubic feet, the GLB offers an extra 5.7 cubic feet of space. With the second-row seats folded flat, the GLB can take up to 62 cubic feet of luggage. That’s an extra 11.9 cubic feet over the BMW X2 and a whopping 24.9 cubic feet over the Audi Q2, rated at 50.1 and 37.1 cubic feet, respectively. Cargo space is basically nonexistent with the third-row seating option.

Drivetrain

  • Turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • 302 horsepower
  • 295 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds
  • Slower than BMW X2 M35i
  • Top speed at 155 mph
  • Eight-speed AMG DCT
  • 4Matic AWD
  • Sports suspension
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35
- image 858368
The AMG GLB 35 draws juice from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine tuned by AMG. Shared with the AMG A35 hatchback, it cranks out 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque

. It needs only 5.2 seconds to hit 62 mph from a standing start, toward a top speed of 155 mph.

Is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 faster and more powerful than the regular GLB?

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858383

In the absence of a GLB 45 model, the GLB 35 is THE fastest and THE most powerful iteration of the nameplate. The most powerful non-AMG model below the 35 is the GLB 250, which comes with 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque on tap. So the GLB 35 benefits from an extra 81 horses and 37 pound-feet. The extra oomph makes the GLB 35 1.7 seconds quicker to 62 mph and adds an extra eight mph to its top speed. The GLB 250 is rated at 6.9 seconds and 147 mph, respectively.

Is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 more powerful than the competition?

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858371

As of August 2020, the AMG GLB 35 has just one competitor, the BMW X2 M35i. The range-topping X2 features a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that cranks out 302 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The Bimmer has the exact same power rating, but it generates an extra 37 pound-feet of torque. On paper, the BMW wins.

Is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 faster than the BMW X2 M35i?

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858381

Although it’s just as powerful and only 37 pound-feet of torque behind the X2 M35i, the AMG GLB 35 is notably slower from 0 to 62 mph. At least when it comes to claimed manufacturer sprints. While the AMG GLB 35 hits 62 mph in 5.2 seconds, the BMW X2 M35i gets there in 4.9 clicks. That’s a significant difference in favor of the Bimmer. When it comes to top speed, both SUVs are limited to 155 mph.

As expected, the four-cylinder engine mates to an AMG Speedshift, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Specifically tuned for this engine, it enables sporty driving as well as comfort-oriented gear shifts when needed. It comes with a Race Start mode as standard, which provides higher engine rpm and optimized shift points for the best possible traction and acceleration when "running" off the line.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858380

The GLB 35 is also fitted with AMG Dynamic Select, which includes five driving programs: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. The Slippery mode is optimized for low-grip road conditions, while Comfort enables a comfortable suspension setup and fuel-efficient driving with start/stop. Sport and Sport+ place the focus on a sporty setup for the engine and transmission and a suspension layout that improves agility. The Individual program allows you to set up individual parameters for a custom mode.

AWD, suspension, and brakes

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858378
The permanent 4Matic AWD system is of the AMG Performance variety, so it features an AMG-tuned variable torque split that changes almost instantly according to the driving situation.

It ranges from a FWD setup to a 50:50 split between the front and rear axles, so no rear-wheel-drive fun for you.

4Matic works in conjunction with an AMG-tuned suspension with unique setups for the steering knuckles, transverse control arms, and wheel carriers. For added sportiness, Mercedes-Benz offers the optional AMG Ride Control suspension, which includes adaptive damping that’s adjusted individually for each wheel depending on the driving style, road surface, and selected driving mode.

Stopping power comes from an AMG braking system with ventilated and perforated discs front and rear. The front 13.7-inch discs feature four-piston, fixed calipers, while the rear 13-inch discs mate to one-piston, floating calipers.

How much does the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 cost?

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858374

The AMG GLB 35 is not yet available in the U.S., but the crossover retails from €54,392 in Europe. That’s a big €18,000 premium over the base model and almost €10,000 more than the GLB 250 4Matic trim. Should it arrive in the U.S., it will retail from around $46,000.

Is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 better than the BMW X2 M35i

2019 BMW X2 M35i
- image 794682

One of the GLB’s main competitors, the X2, is also available in a performance-oriented trim with the "M35i" badge. Equipment is similar, with both crossovers fitted with the best technologies available right now plus premium interiors that include leather upholstery and custom displays and features. However, the X2 looks notably different on the outside, featuring a sleeker appearance with a coupe-style roof. The GLB, on the other hand, is a boxier crossover that looks like a baby GLE. This is also why BMW doesn’t offer a third-row seating option. Output-wise, the Bimmer comes with the same 302 horsepower on tap, but it’s torque rating is higher at 332 pound-feet (that’s an extra 37 pound-feet). It’s also quicker to 62 mph at 4.9 seconds, but top speed is identical at 155 mph. Priced from €54,490, the X2 M35i is only €100 more expensive than the AMG GLB 35.

Read our full review of the BMW X2 M35i.

Is the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 better than the Audi SQ2?

2019 Audi SQ2
- image 799721

Although it was introduced back in 2016, the Audi Q2 has yet to spawn a performance-oriented SQ2 version, so we have no way to find out. Despite reports that such a model is in the works plus some sighting of prototypes on public roads, the Q2 carries on without an S version, and its most potent gasoline model comes with only 188 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. If it happens, the SQ2 will likely feature a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (as in the S3 hatchback), so performance should be the same. The Q2 matches the GLB in terms of technology and features, but it doesn’t offer third-row seating, while its cabin isn’t as roomy for passengers and luggage.

Read our full story on the Audi Q2.

Conclusion

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Exterior
- image 858384

Although it’s often compared to the BMW X2 and the Audi Q2, the Mercedes-Benz GLB is significantly different. Sure, it’s of similar size, and it’s only marginally better when it comes to passenger room, but the GLB is boxy SUV, while both the X2 and Q2 are sleeker, coupe-style haulers. The optional third-row seats are also unique to this segment, so we could say that the GLB competes in its own niche. Performance-wise, it’s one of the best you can buy on the subcompact crossover market. Granted, it’s a bit slower than the X2 M35i, but hey, it’s the only vehicle that will take you from 0 to 62 mph in a little over five seconds with six passengers inside the cabin. Leave the third-row seats at home, and it wins the luggage room battle against the Bimmer and the Audi.

  • Leave it
    • Three-row seats impact trunk space
    • Slower than the BMW X2 M35i
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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