Mercedes-Benz unveils new family off-roaders
Mercedes-Benz has taken the covers from its new GLB and Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC.
The new GLB is manufactured at the Aguascalientes (Mexico) plant and, for the Chinese market, in Beijing. The market launch is planned for the end of 2019.
At 2829mm the GLB has 10cm more wheelbase than the new B-Class. The headroom in the first seat row is 1069mm – optimum in this segment while at 967mm the effective legroom in the rear of the five-seater is at an especially comfortable level.
The load compartment capacity of 570 to 1805L (for the five-seater) boasts the qualities of an estate car. The backrest angle is adjustable in several stages as standard. Optionally, the second row can be moved fore and aft, enabling the boot to be enlarged by up to 190L.
The GLB is the first compact vehicle from Mercedes-Benz to offer a third seat row on request with two additional individual seats. The seats offer people up to a height of 1.68m a comfortable amount of space. The extensive safety equipment includes extendible head restraints, seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters on all outer seats, a side window airbag which also protects the passengers in the third seat row plus ISOFIX and TOP-Tether anchorages for suitable child seats. These can be used to fasten up to four child seats in seat rows two and three.
The third row includes two drink holders between the seats as well as two stowage compartments with rubberised insert on the left and right in the load compartment trim, each housing a USB port. The seats can be lowered so they are flush with the load compartment floor in order to extend the load compartment.
The instrument panel consists of a single solid, which has a cut-out in the driver and front passenger area. The driver faces a Widescreen Cockpit, with control and display via MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). A new feature is the off-road-like aluminium-look tubular element in the dashboard on the front passenger side. Below the round air vents positioned next to it are the air conditioning controls, whose buttons create the impression of having been milled out of an aluminium cylinder.
The robust character of the interior continues in the centre console. Milled-look tubular elements provide a solid support for the components and controls. Along the doors, the SUV character is underlined by the horizontal grab handle, which blends in with the overall sculpture and resembles a milled aluminium tube.
4MATIC models with large media display come with the Off-Road Engineering Package. In combination with multibeam LED headlamps, these models have a special off-road light, making it easier to see obstacles in rough terrain in the dark. With the off-road light, the cornering light of the multibeam headlamps is permanently switched on up to a speed of 50 km/h, resulting in wide and bright light distribution in front of the vehicle.
The driving assistance systems are from the S-Class. Thanks to improved camera and radar systems, the GLB can see up to 500m ahead and drive in semi-automated mode in certain situations. This includes, for example, the convenient speed adjustment ahead of bends, junctions or roundabouts carried out by Active Distance Assist Distronic, for which it also uses map and navigation data. As a new function of the Active Steering Assist, among other things, there is also the intuitive Active Lange Change Assist.
The intuitively operated MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) provides brilliant screens and graphics, customisable presentation, full-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality, learning software, and voice control activated with the prompt “Hey Mercedes”.
Energizing comfort control networks various comfort systems and uses musical and lighting moods plus several massages for different wellness programs. The Energising Coach recommends these programs according to the situation. If the Mercedes-Benz vivoactive smartwatch or another compatible Garmin wearable is linked, personal values such as stress level or sleep quality improve the recommendation.
The doors reach over the side bar, improving ease of access, and keep the door apertures free of soiling as well as increasing protection in a side impact. All-round protective claddings divide the overall proportions and emphasise the vehicle’s off-road character, as does the stylised skid plate at the front and rear. The elevated roof rails are made of polished aluminium.
The LED high performance headlamps and multibeam headlamps are available for the GLB on request. The latter allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation.
As an option there are also front fog lamps with LED technology, which distribute the light more widely than the main headlamps, illuminating peripheral areas better. Their low position in the front bumper helps reduce the risk of dazzling.
The four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines were completely modernised for the new edition of the compact model series, resulting in significantly increased power and torque, improved efficiency and reduced emissions.
The gateway to the range of petrol engines is the M 282 with a displacement of 1.33 litres in the GLB 200. This engine has cylinder shut-off for efficient operation in the partial-load range (combined fuel consumption 6.2-6.0 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 142-137 g/km with cylinder deactivation).
The two-litre M 260 engine in the GLB 250 4MATIC (combined fuel consumption 7.4-7.2 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 169-165 g/km) has cast-iron cylinder liners in its die-cast aluminium engine block, which widen at the lower end as per the Conicshape principle. In-house, the machining process for the cylinder bore is descriptively known as ‘trumpet honing’. This reduces piston friction and lowers the consumption. In the aluminium four-valve cylinder head, the Camtronic variable valve timing system allows two-stage adjustment of the valve lift on the intake side.
Thanks to the further expanded emission control system, the two-litre diesel engine (OM 654q) with 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission (combined fuel consumption 5.5-4.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 146-128 g/km) already meets the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) Stage 2 requirements, and is certified to Euro 6d.
To provide a comfortable ride, the front suspension features McPherson struts, while the rear end is fitted with an acoustically and vibrationally decoupled multi-link axle with compression springs. Adaptive adjustable damping is available on request. With this, the driver can change between more comfort or particularly sporty tuning via the Dynamic Select switch.
The GLB is optionally equipped with the permanent all-wheel system 4MATIC, with fully variable torque distribution. This sporty all-wheel drive configuration allows the driver to use the Dynamic Select switch to influence the characteristics of 4MATIC. Three characteristic maps are available to control the all-wheel drive clutch, though the system responds flexibly to the current driving situation in any mode. In regular driving operation, the drive program ‘Eco/Comfort’ is based on an 80:20 distribution (front axle:rear axle), while in ‘Sport’ it is 70:30. In off-road mode the all-wheel drive clutch acts as an inter-axle differential lock, with the basic distribution a balanced 50:50.
In addition to the off-road light, the Off-Road Engineering Package includes an additional drive mode. It adapts the power delivery of the engine, the characteristics of 4MATIC and ABS intervention control for off-road driving in easy terrain. It can be activated via the Dynamic Select switch.
An animation of the driving situation can be called up in the media display. The realistic presentation of gradient, inclination angle and technical settings helps the driver to judge driving manoeuvres better.
The hill-start assistance system Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) automatically adheres to a pre-selected, slow speed between 2km/h and 18 km/h, it can be read out in the instrument cluster and in the optional head-up display. With targeted brake applications the assistant helps retain control during steep downhill driving.