Borrowing styling from both the updated GLC and the new GLE, the GLB slots-in between the crossover-inspired GLA and the GLC, and as previously alluded to, makes use of the MFA2 platform underpinning seven other models; the A-Class hatch, sedan and Chinese market A-Class Sedan L, the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, B-Class and the incoming new GLA.
Measuring 4 634 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 2 829 mm, height of 1 658 mm and width of 1 834 mm, the GLB comes in at 10 mm longer in wheelbase than the B-Class, with Benz further claiming a class-leading headroom of 1 035 mm in the first row and 967 mm of legroom in the second row.
Aimed at the likes of the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Jaguar E-Pace and Volvo XC40, the GLB comes as standard with seating for five, though an optional 5+2 layout, resulting in a seven-seat capability, can be specified with a boot capacity, for the latter, of 560-litres or 1 755-litres with the rear seats folded down.
Claimed by Mercedes-Benz to have an “unmistakable SUV character” as per its Sensual Purity design language, the production GLB comes mildly toned down from the concept shown in Shanghai in April this year, with standard roof rails on all models and the option of Benz’s LED high performance headlights and LED fog lights.
Inside, the GLB’s interior is near identical to that of the A-Class in that it becomes the latest model to receive the MBUX infotainment system, with an option being the all-digital instrument cluster and ambient lighting.
On the safety front, the GLB can be had with features said to have been derived from those on the S-Class, such as Active Steering Assist, Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Parking Assist with Parktronic and Active Lange Change Assist.
Optionally available with adjustable Adaptive Damping that can be altered by via the three mode (Eco/Comfort, Sport and Off-Road) Dynamic Select system, the GLB will initially be offered with a choice of two turbocharged petrol engines; the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance co-developed M282 1.3 that produces 120kW/250Nm in the GLB 200, and Benz’s own 2.0-litre M260 in the GLB 250 that outputs 165kW/350Nm.
Joining the range next year, the OM 654q 2.0-litre turbodiesel will be offered in two states of tune; 110kW/340Nm in the GLB 200d and 140kW/400Nm in the GLB220d. Also due out later, the AMG GLB 35 will use the 225kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo from the A35, while no word has yet been made on the speculated GLB 45 and 45 S.
With the exception of the GLB 200 whose 1.3-litre four-pot will be teamed to the same seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as the A-Class, the rest of the range will receive the new eight-speed dual-clutch that debuted on the B-Class, with 4Matic models getting an on-demand all-wheel-drive system with an 80/20 front/rear power split in Eco/Comfort, 70/30 in Sport mode and 50/50 in Off-Road mode.
As an option, buyers can also specify the Offroad Engineering package that comes with Hill Start Assist incorporating Downhill Speed Regulation and an animated driving situation system displayed on the MBUX display.
Production of the GLB will take place at Nissan’s Aguascalientes Plant in Mexico and in Beijing for the Chinese market only. No pricing or indeed availability for South Africa has yet been made.