Cars Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_2021 test drive

Published on February 24th, 2021 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Mercedes GLB 35 AMG Test Drive Review

This is a hot hatch Mercedes hidden under a SUV Shape.

Yes, take my word, this is quick vehicle. Very quick and with handling to boot. The next thing to note is that the 3rd row seats which are fitted in its siblings, the GLB 200 and GLB 250 have been removed to provide for a very decent sized luggage space which will go down well with weekend mountain bikers and hypermarket shoppers. 

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_rear

Mercedes has worked well to remove its ‘old uncle’ image with exciting and vibrant vehicles in the last two decades. Here comes its next best seller.

This is a new segment vehicle from Mercedes and it is designed, we believe, to target the younger generation (with good income) looking for a lifestyle vehicle. 

BHP_Euro5 diesel_Mercedes

Launched in September 2020, the Mercedes Benz GLB is designed to be an all day city commuter but robust enough for off-road excursions. This is the first Mercedes-Benz for the fast-growing compact SUV segment. The GLB comes with the new-generation permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC, with fully variable torque distribution. This new GLB rounds off the extensive SUV portfolio of Mercedes-Benz which is dominated with the best selling GLA, the popular GLC and celebrity preferred G-Wagon. 

GLB AMG Exterior

The GLB provides a large greenhouse, raised vehicle body and large wheel arches, this GLB offers an interesting appeal. The clearly defined surfaces are supplemented with sharp lines that provide definition and precision. Its almost like a compact G-Wagon at a fifth of its selling price.

The front splitter, the prominent rear apron with two round, single tailpipe trim elements and the AMG roof spoiler in the vehicle colour also guarantee a high recognition factor.

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_side view
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_front view
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_driving

The 20-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels painted in tantalum grey with a high-sheen finish and the AMG high-performance brake system with silver brake callipers and black AMG lettering at the front provide further visual highlights.

The prominent and self-assured, upright front end with a central star lends a muscular and superior impression to the GLB. An impressive front aspect is ensured by the headlamps and LED daytime running lamps. The front bumper features diamond-pattern grilles in front of the cooling air intakes. The fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper. Claddings all-round emphasize the SUV characteristics of the GLB. These claddings begin low down at the front bumper and provide protection against stone, dirt and gravel impact.

GLB AMG Interior

All trim surfaces are galvanised in silver-shadow for material authenticity, resulting in a metallic finish with a “cool-touch” effect. Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel, by voice control or gesture control: the control concept is both versatile and flexible. Thanks to the innovative voice control which are activated with the keyword “Hey Mercedes”. The AI software recognizes and understands practically all commands common in infotainment and vehicle control, even when spoken indirectly.

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_rear a/c vents
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_entertainment screen
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_tire repair kit
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_power seat adjustments
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_driver instruments

With the three AMG-specific display styles “Classic”, “Sporty” or “Supersport”, the vehicle functions are directly visualised on the left side of the instrument cluster and in the touchscreen display on the right. Visually, the two displays under one shared glass cover blend into a Widescreen Cockpit and as a central element consequently emphasize the horizontal orientation of the interior design.

At 2829 millimetres the GLB has ten centimetres more wheelbase than the new Mercedes B-Class. The headroom in the first seat row is 1035 millimetres which is a best in this segment. At 967 millimetres the effective legroom in the rear of the five-seater is at an especially comfortable level.

The load compartment capacity of 560 to 1755 litres (figures for the five-seater of this AMG 35) boasts the qualities of a station wagon. 

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_front seats
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG-rear seats

GLB AMG Drive Impression

Equipped with 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, this is the same engine that you would find in popular selling Mercedes-Benz AMG SUVs, but it has been refined and retuned to suit the needs of this more compact SUV. With 306bhp and four-wheel drive traction, this is a crossover that can chase down a Subaru WRX but not overtake it due to its height. 

Over a weekend we took this GLB AMG thru its paces on the open highway, back roads around Petaling Jaya and some riverside scenic visits. We took this AMG tuned GLB up to Kuala Selangor for a day drive with no issue and returned impressive dynamics along the JKR maintained roads. 

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_cockpit
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_electric seats
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_rear legroom
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_infotainment system

The steering was connected to us and with ‘feel’ at every corner. The slim tires fitted to the 20-inch AMG wheels returned some feedback on the smooth tarmac but when the road surface got a little rough, the feedback was unwanted. Better on the toll operated highways, these run-flat high performance tires are not happy with JKR maintained roads around our country.

We started in the city and slowly moved along the Sungei Buloh roads up to Ijok village. With no speed camera presence and traffic police, we could abuse the GLB 35. What more could we ask for as we made our way. 

There was little worry in our minds as we built up our speed along this slippery wet soaked road as it had rained overnight, however the 4-MATIC traction worked its magic to keep up our confidence as we built up our speed. We also maintained our speed sanity to avoid any unwanted situation. 

Rear passengers were comfortable with the good head and legroom and on our return journey we found a stretch oh highway to take in some illegal high speed runs which had the AMG exhausts ‘barking’ a tune at every gear-change. 

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_focal audio
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_navigation
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_speed
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_on the road

GLB AMG Conclusion

This RM363k Mercedes AMG Crossover competes directly with the Lexus NX 300 F Sport which retails for RM339k and the Audi Q5 Sport that sells for RM340k. The GLB 35 AMG is quicker and more spacious over the two rivals. If you like the boxy looks of the Mercedes G-Wagon and can’t afford the RM1.5 million price tag, then this GLB 35 AMG suddenly looks very very very tempting.  

Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_side view
Mercedes GLB 350 AMG_parked

Mercedes-Benz GLB 35 4-MATIC Specifications

Engine: Inline 4, turbocharged

Capacity: 1991cc

Gearbox: AMG DCT 8G Dual Clutch

Max power: 306bhp @ 5800-6100rpm

Max torque: 400Nm @3000-4000Nm

Top Speed: 250km/h

0-100 km/h: 5.2 seconds

Selling Price: RM363,136.

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