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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35: Small SUV Wears Affalterbach’s Wardrobe

  • The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is the latest compact crossover from the automaker.
  • Despite its size, Mercedes-AMG says it can seat seven in certain configurations. 
  • An AMG-tuned engine and drive modes are among the performance features.  

Hey, the new Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is here! Wait a sec, what’s a Mercedes-AMG GLB 35? That answer is simple: it’s a great way for Mercedes-Benz to make even more money. The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is a muscular version of the normal GLB, a small-ish, cutesy crossover sort of thing. The Baja 1000 it (probably) won’t do, but running down to the office, nail salon, real estate showing, shopping mall, dog park, yoga studio or country club 1,000 times a week?

Easy peasy!

“With the new GLB 35 4MATIC we are extending our product portfolio by adding a highly-attractive model for an active target group that attaches special importance to versatility,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “This also includes the optional seven-seater capability of our new compact SUV, though without having to sacrifice the genes typical of an AMG.”

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 made its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. Here are the details.

Engine & Transmission Tech

The most interesting thing about the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 is the drivetrain. After that, it’s nothing but “luxury appointments” and the “impressive versatility” marketing-speak that is now the catchphrase cache of the three-pointed star. The drivetrain is centered around an AMG-enhanced, 2.0-liter engine breathed upon by a twin scroll turbocharger. The little four-cylinder puts out 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. A die-cast aluminum crankcase helps keep weight down while the piezo injectors increase efficiency.

The engine also sports CAMTRONIC, Mercedes-AMG speak for variable valve control. The system boosts fuel economy and provides faster “warm-up” of the engine and oil. The plant is mated to an AMG eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Mercedes says to expect quick gearshifts either up or down.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 also has this trick and standard RACE START function. It remains active as long as you keep the accelerator fully depressed. So let’s keep that accelerator fully depressed, shall we?

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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 under the hood. Photo: MBUSA.

Does The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Have All-Wheel Drive?

Of course, since this is not only a modern crossover, but a Mercedes-AMG at that, it has enough computer control gizmos to make all of Neil Armstrong’s worries go away. Naturally, the Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 has all-wheel drive, controlled via a three-stage Electronic Stability Program. The system uses brake intervention to keep individual wheels from spinning when starting or accelerating. A differential locking effect shifts power to wheels that are not moving.

There are five AMG drive programs to choose from: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. All of these modify key performance parameters like engine, transmission, suspension, and steering response. The idea is to get you down the road, even if it’s snowy or if there’s no real road at all.

The suspension is both sporty and comfortable, according to Mercedes-AMG. The steering knuckles, transverse control arms at the front axle, and the sub frame all get the executive treatment. Power steering is speed-sensitive with a variable ratio for better control at a variety of speeds. Stopping is handled by an AMG, high-performance braking system with flashy silver calipers with black AMG lettering. They clamp onto cast iron discs measuring 13.8 x 1.3 inches up front and 13.0 x 0.9 inches out back.

If this doesn’t stop you in time, you should have hit the pedal sooner.

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The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 comes with all-wheel drive. Power output ranges from strictly front-wheel drive to a 50:50 distribution between the front and rear when necessary. Photo: MBUSA.

Exterior Styling & Interior Design

The exterior is very stark and Teutonic and thoroughly AMG, from the radiator grille and front splitter; to the rear bumper and roof spoiler. The wheels are 19-inch, five-spoke light-alloy affairs in gray with a high-sheen finish. Optional wheels range from 19 to 21 inches and are available on request, says Mercedes-AMG. The optional AMG Night Package (snicker) features high-gloss black design elements throughout the vehicle.

The interior matches the outside and lives up to every last one of your expectations. The AMG GLB 35 has sport seats in black MB-Tex/DINAMICA microfiber with red double top-stitching. There are two optional leather packages with two-tone upholstery if that’s your thing. Even the seat belts are red.

MBUX, yes, the hilariously-named Mercedes infotainment system is front and center (literally). There are configurable displays with a central, round rev counter and bar graph-style info display. In the GLB 35, MBUX is operated via the central touchpad, the buttons on the steering wheel, and by voice or gesture control. The AI software recognizes and understands practically all commands regarding the vehicle’s major control systems, even when spoken indirectly.

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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 interior layout. Photo: MBUSA.

Does The Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Have a Third Row?

Even though the GLB isn’t battleship big, it does have an optional third-row seat which gives you room for seven. The second row is a 40:60 split and lowers flush with the floor for additional cargo space. The third row also has two drink holders between the seats and two storage compartments with rubber-lined inserts. Each compartment includes a USB charging socket. All of this stuff sure sounds handy.

Expect the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 in the United States by late 2020.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle formatFollow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 Gallery

Photos & Source: MBUSA.