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The extra-hot AMG-badged GLB needs a special someone to own it. The small SUV is delivers quite an entertaining drive, space for a little more than five, and pretty good versatility.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
05 Jul 2021
So it really is not a question of ‘why yes?’… but ‘why not?’
What we like:
Heaps of fun to toss around. Versatile if you are not looking for a true 7-seater.
What we dislike:
Easy to badge-fake. Some cheap build takes the shine off the car.

There are SUVs, and there are fancy SUVs. How about a fancy SUV that has a little hot sauce put into it? A while ago, we had a go at the premium compact class Mercedes-Benz GLB. Not only was it a polarising concept, but one (of two, the other being the A-Class Saloon) that further expanded Mercedes-Benz’s small car range.

Kerplunking small car, after small car, into their already super-sized fleet, Mercedes-Benz has (if I counted correctly) seven body shapes, based on a singular small car architecture. You could find anything from a compact-sized hatchback, a four-door coupe, a shooting brake, based on that four-door coupe, a mini MPV, an SUV, and then there is the GLB... their other 5+2 seater SUV built for the aspiring sort.

One of the main reasons why Mercedes-Benz is doing this, is to squeeze as much product out of a singular car architecture, and as a consumer, it becomes a case where there is something for everyone who is looking for a premium compact.

Uniformed looks is one of the things the GLB has steered clear off, and in-fact, it is designed to look like a mini-me version like their GLS flagship SUV, aand for the AMG-badged car, you get fancy rims together with better brakes; and while it is sportier-looking, it still comes with a practical set of roof rails.


For those who are well-acquainted with the same class “Merc” interiors, will find plenty of fixtures that are familiar. One of the key styling differences that tells you that you are in an SUV, as opposed to their other compact cars, is the faux grab bar on the passenger side of the dash. Running between the middle to the driver’s side of the dash, is the housing for two 10.25” screens, one which functions as the instrument cluster for the driver, while the other the MBUX-powered infotainment screen.

Essentially, the GLB is a 5+2 seater SUV, meaning it is intended to be a 5-seater most days, and on occasion, will still be able to accommodate another two (rather smol) passengers; so if you are looking for are looking for a true people-carrying SUV a daily driver, you’d be better off with a non-premium make, like say… a Mazda CX-8 or even a KIA Sorento.

Versatility is at-most somewhat similar to what you would get out of say a Toyota Sienta in-terms of size, but that aside, the rear quarters of the GLB is well thought-through, with flat folding rear seats and even a space to store the cargo cover when you switch into “van” mode.

The Drive

Eager performance comes courtesy of a high-powered 2.0 turbocharged AMG-tuned engine, delivering 306hp and 400Nm, which is plenty; while drive is transferred to all four wheels via an 8-speed twin-clutch automatic.

Revised suspension settings and a strengthened chassis, ensures that the hotter GLB can be shoved into corners with the same confidence you could expect from a hot hatch. You would be impressed with how the compact SUV handles, especially given its height. The AWD does quite an excellent job of putting the GLB’s drive onto tarmac, and compared to the bread and butter variants which are FWD, the rear wheels are able to dig in when accelerating off the line, helping to deliver the compact SUV’s 5.2 second century sprint. Haul a full load in the AMG-badged SUV, and you will find a car that is never out of puff, however even with this much grunt, the GLB AMG 35 does not feel as mental as the GLA 45 AMG (stay tuned), where the latter’s engine is actually hand-assembled by AMG itself.

Iconic badging aside... and iconic pricing aside, there are some quirks that I would like to highlight; from its cheap-ish dash quality mentioned earlier on, to the third row not having any air-conditioning vents available. No they are not deal breakers, but they will be two things you will often notice during your ownership journey.

Our Thoughts

Great performance aside, the GLB 35 4matic is quite an oddball… a stand-alone in its class, even in “bread-and-butter” form.

But setting yourself back at approximately $250k, the go-faster SUV sets itself to attract a special few. Especially since there are many larger and more competent people-movers available.

Comparing this to what other luxury vehicles are available within its price range, it may not make much sense. Knowing however, that you can buy something this interesting, and entertaining… now that truly excites.

So it really is not a question of ‘why yes?’… but ‘why not?’

Credits: Words and Photos by Clifford Chow

Cars in this article
Mercedes-Benz GLB GLB35 AMG 4MATIC 7-Seater (A) 2020

Mercedes-Benz GLB GLB35 AMG 4MATIC 7-Seater (A) 2020

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