First test drive – Mercedes-Benz GLB: Prototype passenger ride preview

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The Mercedes-Benz GLB comes in late 2019 and joins GLA and GLC in the ever expanding German SUV line-up. The international media has already had the privilege of testing the new SUV in Sweden.

Mercedes is currently evaluating the pre-production model of the new GLB in winter conditions, to give the final touches. “We are currently testing the entire vehicle. We do not test a specific system here. But we look at the entire vehicle and see what the car will later do what the customer expects from the vehicle”, reports Jochen Eck, Head of the Complete Vehicle Compact at Mercedes.

This includes comfort features such as heating and air conditioning. It has to work just as reliably at -25 degrees as at +5 degrees.

“This morning we noticed that the windows of the GLB fog, which should not be so natural. The heating system has to dry the interior in the shortest possible time even in conditions like here,” says Jochen Eck. Such problems can later lead to frustration for the end customer. So the testing in the far north brings them to light. Mercedes will again improve in places like this. But until the market launch in late 2019 there is still some time.

So far, Mercedes showed only the study of the new GLB SUV, developed on the A-Class modular MFA II platform. The premium car maker revealed it at the Auto Shanghai 2019 in China.

The GLB is reminiscent of a shrunken GLS. This is especially true for the side view. Short overhangs, little beads and folds – all according to the current design philosophy of Mercedes. The brawny appearance of the off-roader is underlined by the underrun protection and the prominent shoulders at the rear.

Apart from the wooden moldings and the many leather parts on the dashboard, on the door panels and in the boot, the interior of the Shanghai concept is close to the series model. The cockpit with the latest MBUX infotainment system is reminiscent of the A and B-Class, only the door handles are more distinctive.

The GLB joins GLA and GLC. It is based on the A-Class with a long wheelbase and more track width, but looks much larger and more spacious than the compact car. We were not allowed to get in yet, but Mercedes has revealed something about the equipment. In the basic version there is only the second row of seats with folding backrests, which can be divided in the ratio 40:20:40. For a surcharge of 400 euros, this row of seats is variable. It can then move longitudinally 14 centimeters – forwards nine and back five centimeters. An adjustable backrest angle in eight levels brings additional comfort. Who pays a surcharge of 1000 €, gets next to the variable second row a third row of seats with two individual seats. These are certainly only intended for small people, but offer USB ports and cup holders.

Of course, the trunk is smaller with the optional third row of seats, but thanks to a deep sill, but one can easily load it. Due to the split taillights the trunk cutout is relatively large.

The Mercedes GLB launched in Germany at the end of 2019 – with a similar range of engines as we know from the A- and B-Class. It is certain that the known from the A 250 four-cylinder with 224 hp will find its way into the GLB. The four-wheel drive gets three driving modes, which distribute the force differently on front and rear axle. In the base, however, the GLB will be equipped with front-wheel drive. Later follows with the AMG GLB 35 a sporty variant with 306 hp. For the basic version, Mercedes will probably ask at least 38,000 euros in Germany.