2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class
- $34,010 (estimated)
- Summer 2020
What to expect
- New AMG GLB 35 trim level debuts
- Four-cylinder engine makes more than 300 horsepower
- Additional enhancements to make the GLB more fun to drive
- Part of the first GLB generation introduced for 2020
What is the AMG GLB 35?
We've been impressed with the GLB, Mercedes' newest small crossover SUV, since its debut last year. Slotting between the brand's GLA and GLC, the GLB is roomy and has all the glitz and glamour you'd expect of a vehicle adorned with the three-pointed star badge. But one aspect needed improving: the driving experience. Though we're satisfied by the base GLB 250 trim's sprightly acceleration, the GLB otherwise doesn't feel very engaging from behind the wheel. For 2021, Mercedes is addressing that deficiency with the performance-oriented AMG GLB 35.
What's under the AMG GLB 35's hood?
The GLB 35 uses a high-output version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found in the GLB 250. In the 250, it produces 221 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. For the GLB 35, output rises to 302 hp and 295 lb-ft. Utilize the new launch control feature, which can automatically optimize the vehicle for the best possible acceleration, and Mercedes says the extra oomph will propel the GLB 35 from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds — about 1.5 seconds quicker than the GLB 250.
Mercedes has enhanced other systems to ensure the GLB 35 lives up to its sporty theme. The GLB 35 gets a stiffer suspension, which lessens body roll when traversing tight mountain roads, for instance. And adaptive dampers — which allow the driver to choose between a sport- or comfort-oriented ride setup on demand — are available. You also get a retuned 4Matic all-wheel-drive system for sportier power delivery and additional stability control settings that lessen the electronic interventions should you want to drive the GLB 35 more aggressively.
The GLB 35 comes standard with the GLB 250's optional AMG Line exterior design package, which includes sporty front and rear bumper treatments. The grille is also redesigned to look like those on other high-performance AMG models.
How's the AMG GLB 35's interior?
The AMG GLB 35's cabin will largely be the same as the one on the standard model. The GLB's boxy design and slightly larger dimensions than competing SUVs (such as the Audi Q3 or BMW X2) provide plenty of room for people and cargo.
The GLB 35 does, however, get a few unique touches. It comes standard with imitation leather/simulated suede upholstery that's made available on the GLB 250 via the AMG Line package. But the AMG 35 is the only GLB to feature front sport seats with thicker side bolstering to better keep you in place when driving around turns. And a number of sporty-looking flat-bottom steering wheels are available, including ones with neat-looking dials and switches that alter performance attributes on the fly.
How's the AMG GLB 35's tech?
While the GLB 35 will have additional sport-themed overlays, the digital instrument panel and central screen will largely stay the same. That's great news since the GLB is equipped with what we think is the best infotainment system in the biz. The MBUX interface is attractive and, most importantly, easy to use. Its native voice controls are second to none, allowing you to control almost every aspect of the vehicle in conversational language with the MBUX assistant. You can also opt for nifty features such as the Mercedes-exclusive augmented reality display, which overlays navigation instructions on top of a forward-facing camera view.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35 essentially vanquishes our only real gripe with the GLB 250. As long as the price is right, we think Mercedes has another hit on its hands.