Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance-car division adds to its rapidly growing compact-car lineup with the unveiling of the new GLB35 4Matic.
Planned to make its public debut at the upcoming 2019 Frankfurt auto show prior to a North American sales launch in early 2020, the new, go-fast SUV is the fourth AMG model to receive the 35 treatment following the recently introduced A35 4Matic hatchback, A35 4Matic sedan and CLA35 4Matic coupe.
It’s also the first compact model from AMG to offer both a 5- and 7-seat interior layout.
Like its stablemates, the GLB35 4Matic is powered by an AMG version of parent Mercedes-Benz’s M270 engine. The turbocharged 2.0L gasoline 4-cyl. delivers 302 hp at 5,800 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque between 3,000 and 4,000 rpm.
This represents an 80-hp and 37-lb.-ft. (50-Nm) increase over the current range-topping GLB model, the GLB250 4Matic, which uses a less-highly tuned version of the M270.
By comparison, the recently introduced BMW X2 M35i xDrive’s turbocharged 2.0L gasoline 4-cyl. develops the same 302 hp, but 37 lb.-ft. more than the GLB35 4Matic’s powerplant at 332 lb.-ft. (450 Nm).
Power is sent through a standard 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox with a Race Start function and multiplate-clutch all-wheel-drive system capable of apportioning up to 50% of drive to the rear axle. Five driving programs are offered as standard via AMG’s Dynamic Select system: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual.
An additional AMG Dynamic system offers two different agility programs, Basic and Advanced. They vary the handling characteristics based on parameters from the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, speed-sensitive electromechanical steering and electronic stability control sensors.
The brakes are upgraded as well. They use 13.8-in. (35-cm) discs up front in combination with 4-piston calipers and 13.0-in. (33-cm) discs with single-piston floating calipers at the rear.
Mercedes-AMG quotes a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 5.2 seconds and, in European specification, a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h).
The new SUV, measuring 182.3 ins. (4,630 mm) long is underpinned by a McPherson-strut front and multilink rear suspension. It receives several upgrades over the suspension used by standard GLB models, including new steering knuckles and transverse control arms at the front, as well as a redesigned subframe and revised wheel carriers at the rear.
Buyers can add an optional AMG Ride Control setup with electronically controlled damping and the choice of Comfort, Sport and Sport+ firmness levels.
The latest addition to the AMG lineup is the first of two GLB models. An even more powerful GLB45 4Matic packing up to 316 hp and 369 lb.-ft. (500 Nm) of torque in top-of-the-line S form, as well as a fully variable all-wheel-drive system, is also planned to arrive in the U.S. in 2020.
The GLB35 4Matic is differentiated from standard GLB models by a Panamericana-style grille – the first time it has been used on a 35 model – within an AMG-specific front bumper.
Additional styling changes are concentrated around the rear end, with a prominent spoiler atop the rear tailgate and a reworked bumper featuring an aluminum-look valance that houses two round chrome AMG-inscribed tailpipes and integrated diffuser element.
The standard wheels are 19-in. in diameter, with 20- and 21-in. rims available as options.
Inside (above), the new AMG model uses Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX operating system. It works in combination with standard digital instruments and an infotainment display, both housed within a single panel within the top of the GLB35 4Matic’s dashboard. The instruments can be altered across three different themes: Classic, Sporty and Supersport – the latter providing AMG-specific car data.
As with other GLB models, the GLB35 4Matic comes standard with a 5-seat interior layout. Buyers can choose an optional 7-seat layout with a third row of seats consisting of two individual seats, as well as fore-and-aft adjustment of the second row.
The GLB35 4Matic is produced on the same production line as other GLB models at Mercedes-Benz’s factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Pricing for the North American market has not yet been divulged.