The Mercedes-Benz GLB, initially appearing as a concept before becoming very real, was unveiled tonight in Utah. It’s about the same size as the GLA and GLC, but can seat two more people than those cars in optional configurations. It’ll be made here and sold here, and my early guess is that many, many of these will be sold.
The GLB will be assembled at Mercedes’ plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The big advantage in GLB over GLA or GLC is that the GLB will seat seven inside, and up to four child seats. And it seats that many without being appreciably bigger. Look at the wheelbase:
At 111.4 inches, the GLB’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than the GLA and 1.7 inches shorter than the GLC SUV.
The seven-seater is an option, alongside optional all-wheel-drive, optional head-up display, optional semi-autonomous features. Under the hood is a four cylinder, 2.0 liter engine that makes 221 horsepower and sends the car from zero to 60 in 6.9 seconds, according to Mercedes, but makes 269 lb-ft of torque.
The GLB is made to be a family car, in other words, especially in the seven-seat configuration. It should be very comfortable but also be capable off-road, should it be called upon. That’s thanks to the optional off-road package, which includes things like downhill speed regulation (DSR) for steep descents on bad road surfaces, in addition to automatic power delivery adjustments.
It will have Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system, which is what you get on the GLS, the new S Class level SUV that I’m driving now and will have first impressions of in a couple weeks. It’s got several modes—all computer-controlled—like Sport, Comfort, and Off-Road for various driving situations.
Fully a third of Mercedes sold these days is an SUV or crossover, the next biggest-selling segment is small cars, per Mercedes, so the GLB makes tons of sense as a business proposition. It’s also a capitulation to the current market. SUVs no matter than size sell like hot cakes on Sunday.
The GLB looks much better in person than I photos is all I can say for now. I can’t wait to drive it.
It looks … pretty good? My humble opinion is that they should make an AMG version of it, too.