Table of contents:
- If you just list out loud the main features of the new Mercedes-Benz GLB crossover, you can catch a cognitive dissonance: compact, almost square, as practical as possible, seven-seater … Does it remind you of anything? Yes, it's … Chevrolet Orlando! And everyone thought it would be a mini-gelik
Video: More Powerful Does Not Mean Better: Test Of The (not) Unambiguous Mercedes-Benz GLB
2023 Author: Natalie MacDonald | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 13:59
If you just list out loud the main features of the new Mercedes-Benz GLB crossover, you can catch a cognitive dissonance: compact, almost square, as practical as possible, seven-seater … Does it remind you of anything? Yes, it's … Chevrolet Orlando! And everyone thought it would be a mini-gelik
Such a comparison may seem offensive, but GLB distracts from it with technology, breed and status: after all, the flagship, albeit of the younger Mercedes-Benz family. Among all these machines, the GLB is the most spacious, mature, and most importantly, understandable. Why do we need almost identical Mercedes-Benz CL and A-class sedan? Who is the GLA's intricate and tough cross-hatch-sub-crossover for? And with GLB, such questions do not arise: the newcomer is something like an ordinary B-class, only raised and tidy so as not to embarrass the father of the family.
Judge for yourself: the GLB is only 24 millimeters shorter than the higher-ranked GLC (4634 mm versus 4658 mm), and even surpassed it in height by 15 millimeters (1659 mm versus 1644 mm). Although his salon is narrower than that of his older brother, he still does not upset with the cramped space. There is a lot of air and light in it, but the main surprise is the second row: it is unexpectedly spacious and comfortable for such a small body. In addition, starting straight from the basic version, the rear seat backrests are adjustable in tilt, and for a surcharge they can be equipped with longitudinal adjustment in the range of 140 millimeters.
Against the background of such parameters, the question naturally arises, will GLB not steal clients from GLC? The company believes that it is not: after all, the GLC is richer (for example, it may have air suspension, but the GLB does not), it is more status-conscious, and its platform is "correct", rear-wheel drive MRA. And the GLB is based on the modular front-wheel drive architecture of the MFA2 with a transverse engine, as in the aforementioned CL and A-class.
With the trunk, everything is fine too: the volume is from 570 to 1755 liters, the correct shape, with a small loading height. There is a 12 volt outlet and a variety of niches, and the backs of the second row seats fold in a 40:20:40 ratio. Moreover, it is possible to order a front passenger seat with a folding backrest for transporting long items.
Against this background, the optional third row, designed for two people, looks like a mockery. Even the company itself admits that it is intended for people no taller than 168 centimeters, but in fact this is a stretch. Thanks to the cuby body, passengers will not bang their heads against the ceiling, but there is practically no legroom here. You can move the second row seats forward, but then it will be cramped for everyone in general - both in the middle row and in the gallery it will not get much better. For those who still can nestle in the trunk, there are cup holders, USB connectors and a pair of rubberized niches for small things.
The powertrain is good - at least in the 220d version we got for the test. In addition to him, versions of the GLB 200 (front-wheel drive, a 1.33-liter turbo engine with 163 hp, like on Renault Arkana), GLB 250 4Matic (all-wheel drive, a two-liter turbo engine with a capacity of 224 hp) and a younger diesel 200d 4Matic (all-wheel drive, 150 HP, 320 Nm). In Europe, there will also be a base 116-horsepower diesel in the 180d version.
So, the 220d with a two-liter diesel engine with a capacity of 190 horsepower (400 Nm) pleases: it quickly picks up on the move and confidently takes it up a steep hill at the moment, and not without the help of an intelligent eight-stage robot. The transmission almost ideally selects the gears, it was not even embarrassed by the lingering serpentine with elevation changes and turns of different steepness: the gearbox drops neatly and without jerks on the ups, prepares the diesel engine with a "window" of the most effective revolutions at the exit from the bends and only occasionally allows itself to stick to gears for a while when coasting on a steep descent.
On the same serpentine, everything becomes clear with the chassis settings. The almost sporty "bagel" of the steering wheel with the perforated leather grip hides the most comfortable, unobtrusive effort. So unobtrusive that in long arcs you have to look for a trajectory with the steering wheel a little - comfort interrupts information content. But this is compensated by a perfectly tuned suspension that will not rock your children: MacPherson strut in front and a multi-link in the rear level the rolls and literally swallow bumps of any kind. Adaptive dampers are optionally available, but even in Sport mode, when the crossover's travel gets tighter, no vibration or breakdown is added.
In addition, the GLB with the 4Matic all-wheel drive transmission is capable of something off-road - the ground clearance of 200 millimeters is complemented by good geometry and smart electronics.
The drive to the rear axle is realized here through a clutch that constantly works with decent preload: in environmentally friendly and normal mode, the moment is distributed in a ratio of 80:20 in favor of the front end, in sport mode another 10 percent of traction is immediately thrown onto the rear axle, and in the optional off-road mode the clutch tries to divide the moment exactly in half. Moreover, in any situation, more traction goes to the axle that has more grip.
In exercises on geometry, GLB is easily hung out in a lightweight manner, but quickly copes with all the diagonals, and stubbornly climbs up on steep climbs.
All this is especially good for him with the optional off-road package, in which, in addition to the aforementioned off-road mode, a descent assistant appears. With it, GLB will gently drive down a steep embankment, and the speed can be limited to only two kilometers per hour. Already the horizon is visible through the panoramic roof, and the crossover, know yourself, gently slides down, crackling with the ABS system. And the steepness (in every sense) of the off-road route can be assessed using the graph of the display of rolls on the dashboard. Indeed, mini-gelik!
Although, of course, when the model was just announced, everyone was waiting for something more utilitarian, really like a smaller copy of the G-class - a kind of premium Jimny stuffed with technology. But no: references to the SUV are limited only to a slightly more chopped design on the outside and decorative inserts for aluminum handles inside: there are such on the doors and on the front panel opposite the passenger. GLB has traded a purely off-road image for the role of a car that cares about family comfort in general and about children in particular.
For example, four of the seven seats are equipped with Isofix mounts, and there is a 230-volt outlet on the center console between the front seats - you can take a multicooker with you. And the list of options includes the Style & Travel package, which includes folding tables in the backs of the front seats and fasteners for tablets.
Finally, the doors swing open almost 90 degrees and completely close the thresholds - children will not get their pants dirty (well, at least they will not stain them on the car).
And everything described above is packed in a familiar and very nice wrapper. Noise isolation is excellent, MBUX controls and multimedia are not much different from other small (and large) Mercedes - only the design of the front panel in front of the passenger has changed. The same steering column selector box, the same duet of digital tidy and multimedia display (diagonal of both screens is 7 inches in the base and 10.25 inches in older versions), the same interface and the same stuffing with technologies.
But besides the fact that the GLB is a compact, practical, modern crossover with a good engine and a bunch of cool options, it has another non-obvious, but very important plus: it is unambiguous. It is immediately clear for whom it is made, who will buy it. Sounds too long? Then let's take a look at another version of the Mercedes-Benz GLB - the heated Mercedes-AMG GLB 35.
It has a two-liter gasoline turbo engine with a capacity of 306 horsepower, it accelerates to a hundred in just 5.2 seconds and handles much more interesting than the diesel GLB 220d. That is, it is all the same practicality and stuffed with options that go even better. Yes?
Not. Perhaps it is worth starting with the appearance. In AMG styling, the compact, cuby GLB looks impressive, but a little caricatured, like an oversized toy. For some reason, there is surprisingly much pretentiousness in it, and the fake jaws of the huge air intakes do not allow it to be taken seriously.
And this is, in general, good. After all, the charm of AMG models for the most part was in some frivolity, not typical of ordinary Mercedes: the AMG GL45 is a real street bully, the AMG C63 is a bunch of petrol aggression, the AMG G63 is absurdly fast and boxy. Well, a special place in the AMG hierarchy is occupied by the E63 S sedan. At the wheel you feel as if you were wearing an expensive tailcoat sprinkled with cocaine: an extravagant, mind-blowing contrast between a racing cramp and a prim, classic in its ideology Mercedes.
Looking at the AMG GLB 35, you expect something similar. After all, all the trump cards are on hand: a small seven-seater crossover that drives like a sports car - are you out of your mind ?! But GLB, alas, turned out to be different. Yes, the AMG Dynamics multi-mode mechatronics diligently adjusts the chassis, gearbox and steering settings to match the sporty character, the electronically controlled adaptive AMG Ride Control dampers work noticeably more tightly, and in sport mode they frankly. Yes, the steering wheel is by far more interesting, tighter and more informative than in the diesel GLB 220d, and the Race Start function allows you to take off as quickly as possible at traffic lights.
But in this car, the feeling does not leave that it was created for dads who seem to really want to drive, but after each bunch of turns they glance in the mirror: how are the children? does not feel sick? This feeling is aggravated by two facts: firstly, the AMG version can also be seven-seater. Secondly, the sound of the engine is puzzling, which seemed to be slightly strangled: I want more roar, more scream. Yes, there are only two liters, but they can sound juicy and exciting if given the opportunity.
The message is clear: they say, I took the children to kindergarten / school, stayed alone in the car - and here you can properly grab on the way to work: AMG after all. But while you expect recklessness from the car, it seems to keep thinking about the children: how are they in the kindergarten? have you eaten? Do they have a change of clothes? AMG GLB 35 in dynamics is like a forty-year-old mother with many children, who for some reason came to a nightclub in a short dress and now feels uncomfortable.
Of course, the "35th" AMG - these are intermediate versions, they are not initially required any hardcore. However, in the context of a family crossover (especially a seven-seater) for the AMG GLB 35, for some reason, some kind of understatement remains. There is no right feeling of a "warmed up" Mercedes. At a certain moment, you realize that this is just a slightly faster, but also a slightly less comfortable version of the car, in which, in general, everything was set up almost perfectly. And why, one wonders?
Yes, GLB still has a chance to become wild: after all, a hypothetical modification of the GLB 45 looms on the horizon, which clearly should be more rigid and uncompromising. However, its appearance is under a big question - at least in the Mercedes-Benz camp this possibility is spoken of very evasively. At the moment, it looks like it's much wiser to buy a regular GLB 220d, and take an annual go-kart pass for the difference in price with the AMG 35.
What this difference will be - we will find out a little later: Russian prices will be announced either at the end of this year, or at the beginning of the next. The European price tags for the Mercedes-Benz GLB are already known: for a basic crossover they ask from 37,747 euros (almost 2.7 million rubles at the current exchange rate). This is about seven thousand euros more than the junior GL and the family B-class compact van cost, but nine thousand cheaper than the older GLC.
So for now, the conclusion is simple and clear, like the diesel Mercedes-Benz GLB itself: Mercedes managed to make a cool little family crossover, even if this crossover will have to pay a lot in comparison with the no less family B-class. But the AMG version - at least in its current iteration - is worth considering what exactly it wants to tell the world.
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