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Feeling the spirit of the Gelentwagen in the Mercedes-Benz GLB crossover

Feeling the spirit of the Gelentwagen in the Mercedes-Benz GLB crossover

In camouflage, the Mercedes-Benz GLB appeared to be a miniature G-Class thanks to its low windshield slope and high roof. It reminds more of the GLK, which was discontinued five years ago. However, the integrity of the image, in my opinion, is harmed by a stylistically unjustified break in the window sill line. There is also a lack of a single mood: the front of the GLB is neat, the back is too playful. Nevertheless, live, from 16 feet away, it is at least original and does not copy the older GLC, which is only 1.3 inches longer. And structurally, they are far away, because the GLB has a motor that stands across. This is the largest car on the A-class platform.

The idea is not just to build some kind of average model between the GLA and GLC crossovers. GLB has a purely family target audience. Hence the high ceiling and the vertical back wall. Any version can be ordered with seven seats. At the same time, 28.5 gallons will remain in the trunk — for a couple of suitcases from hand luggage. Two Isofix mounts are installed on the sofa and the third row. In addition, a smart sensor is built into the front right seat: if a rear-facing child seat is installed, the airbag should deactivate itself. That is, five young children can properly fit on board! Well, or four with their parents.

At the same time, the third row is equipped with curtain airbags and belt pretensioners. There are cup holders and USB-C sockets. However, only persons up to 5’6 tall can be put on the back, which means, children are not older than 15. And even in this case, those sitting in front of them will have to make room, since the sofa moves 5.5 inches, and the position of the backs also changes.

If the second row is pushed back to the limit, then it is very spacious. Behind the driver of my height (6’1), an equally tall passenger is placed with a four-inch margin in the lap. Alas, the hard and flat sofa is uncomfortable and resembles a bench from a military Gelentwagen. Here, in general, some kind of non-Mercedes asceticism reigns. The third climatic zone is not provided. Ceiling handles are located very high, and you can’t comfortably grab the door handles. The entrance-exit is hindered by a massive podium on which a sled is installed.

There is also a minimum of frivolity in the design of the front panel, and the silver crossbar in front of the right passenger can easily be mistaken for a handrail. But it’s still not a G-class. And the landing is closer to the passenger one — at least in the hard sports seats installed on the test cars. Ergonomic flaws are familiar from the A-class: the footrest for the left foot is also pulled up, and the touchpad on the tunnel accidentally falls under the arm. But a small windshield is cleaned almost completely: the left brush reaches almost to the rack, the right one goes into the corner from its side.

The approach to the line of powertrains can be called off-road. Of all the Mercedes compacts, only for the GLB in Russia a diesel engine will be available in two boost options: 150 hp. (200 d) and 190 (220 d). Both modifications are all-wheel drive. In Europe, a budget version of the 180 d with only 116 hp is also available. Only the base gasoline GLB 200 is satisfied with the single drive axle, which is likely to be derated from European 163 forces to 150. In addition, there are 250 4MATIC (224 hp) and a 306-horsepower Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 in the range. I also rode it , but first, let’s talk about more marketable versions.

With the 20-inch Bridgestone Alenza 001 tires, the GLB 250 4MATIC rides like a Mercedes. Acceleration is assertive and precise, only sometimes the robotized box with two clutches takes a mini-pause to think about which of the eight steps to turn on. Smooth buildup on the waves is combined with dense elasticity of adaptive shock absorbers on significant bumps. The car demonstrates excellent grip on asphalt, interaction with the progressively cut base steering rack does not raise any questions.

However, the GLB 200 d 4MATIC is even better. Soft, smoothed thrust is almost always enough, and therefore the “robot” is quite accommodating. Diesel is heard only during acceleration, but otherwise it is even quieter than a supercharged gasoline engine snoring. And in general, the acoustic comfort is decent. Suspension dampers are also adaptive here (this is an option for all versions), but the buildup is dampened more efficiently — you can be sure that little passengers won’t get sick. And the 19-inch Michelin Latitude Sport 3 allows you to be smart in corners and not feel helpless on light off-road.

Off asphalt, the well-thought-out body geometry with a flat bottom and short overhangs helps, although instead of the declared 7.8 inches of clearance, my measurements showed only 7.4. But it limits, first of all, the understanding that a “robot” is working in the transmission, capable of passing under heavy loads. To help all-wheel drive modifications — the Offroad Technik package, with a descent assistant and a special mode of the power unit. It is set up great: GLB easily climbs a 50% slope, and the declared limit is 70%!

The fastest in the family, the GLB 35 may seem calm to those who are familiar with the “forty-fifth” series of compact AMG cars. Exhaust pops are muffled, the suspension isn’t exactly furious, and the soft-edged steering wheel is moderately heavy. Even with launch control, the GLB starts with a hitch. However, against the background of the “civilian” versions, both the elasticity and the grip of low-profile tires are impressive. And how good are the additional control panels for driving modes on the steering wheel!

Direct analogies are difficult to draw: the GLB falls between the Audi Q3 and Q5 or the BMW X1 and X3. A seven-seat capacity can play in favor of Mercedes, but the austerity of the rear passenger space will scare someone away. The main trump card is still the design with off-road G-motifs. Answer the question: do you want to drive a formidable car?

This is a translation. You can read the original here: https://www.drive.ru/test-drive/mercedes/5ddd40b0ec05c40e70000232.html

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