Although it’s one of the brand’s smallest offerings, the 2023 GLB35 SUV still packs Mercedes-AMG’s signature punch. Starting with the Benz-branded GLB250 as its basis, the mad scientists at AMG swapped out that SUV’s 221-hp turbocharged four-cylinder for a more powerful 302-hp turbo-four. They also tweaked the GLB’s chassis components to sharpen handling and deliver a more fun-to-drive responsiveness to your control inputs—but the tradeoff is a rough ride over broken pavement. Those performance-enhancing goodies bring with them a big price hike over the standard Benz GLB but to sweeten the deal Mercedes-AMG equips the GLB35 with a lot more standard features. Rival small SUVs such as the BMW X2 M35i and the Mini Cooper Countryman JCW offer similar thrills, but the GLB35’s boxy body and larger overall size make it an easier crossover to live with as it provides more space for hauling people and cargo. A third row of seats is even available, but we’ll warn you that the wayback is no place for adults.
What’s New for 2023?
Like the Benz-branded GLB-class SUV and the smaller GLA35 and GLA45 models, the AMG GLB35 carries over to 2023 with no changes.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The GLB35 comes well-equipped but there are a couple of option packages we’d splurge on. First, we’d add the Premium package, which includes power-folding exterior mirrors, a hands-free power liftgate, and passive keyless entry. We’d also spring for the panoramic sunroof, and we’d end our shopping spree with the Exterior Lighting package, which includes adaptive LED headlamps with an automatic high-beam feature.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The GLB35 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 302 horsepower; an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are both standard. At our test track, the GLB35 snapped off a brisk 4.9-second run to 60 mph. Handling is fairly sharp and playful but the GLB35’s stiff-legged ride is the compromise for its fun-to-drive nature. We expect a higher-powered GLB45 model to become available at some point, powered by the higher-output version of the turbocharged 2.0-liter that makes 382 horsepower in the revamped CLA45 sedan.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA has given the GLB35 fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. Similar performance SUVs such as the BMW X2 M35i and the Mini Cooper Countryman JCW achieve EPA highway ratings of 29 and 30 mpg, respectively, and earned the same 25 mpg city/highway combined rating. When we get the chance, we’ll subject the GLB35 to our 75-mph highway fuel economy test and update this story with the results. For more information about the GLB35’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Believe it or not, Mercedes has squeezed three rows of seating inside the GLB-class’s compact body, although we’d hate to be the unlucky passenger forced to cram themselves into the wayback. The first and second rows are where the adults sit. Differentiating itself from its Benz-branded counterpart, the AMG GLB-class sports a flat-bottomed steering wheel and microfiber-and-leather upholstery.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A reconfigurable digital gauge display blends seamlessly into a large wide-screen infotainment system behind a single glass panel. Mercedes’s new MBUX infotainment software allows for voice recognition as well as touchpad and gesture-controlled interactions with the system. An onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard; navigation is optional. We’ve found the GLB35’s infotainment software and its various interaction methods to be fussy, which has been our experience with the system in other Mercedes products.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Mercedes-AMG offers several driver-assistance features, but almost none of them are standard. For more information about the GLB-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG offers a somewhat basic, no-frills warranty package on its new cars with four years or 50,000 miles of coverage on both the bumper-to-bumper and powertrain policies. BMW sweetens the deal on its vehicles by offering three full years of free maintenance, but AMG buyers aren’t offered the same luxury.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB35 4Matic
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $50,550/$61,485
Options: sunroof, $1500; leather seats, $1450; multimedia package (navigation with augmented reality, speed-limit assist), $1295; Burmester sound system, $850; third-row seat, $850; premium package (keyless entry and start, auto-dimming and power-folding mirrors), $800; AMG night package (black trim on grille, beltline, and window surrounds), $750; Denim Blue paint, $720; heated front seats, $500; SiriusXM radio, $460; leather AMG steering wheel, $400; AMG mode switches on steering wheel, $400; wood trim, $325; 19-inch black wheels, $300; wireless charging, $200; logo puddle lamps, $110; USB-C adapter cable, $25
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 122 in3, 1991 cm3
Power: 302 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.8-in vented, cross-drilled disc/13.0-in vented, cross-drilled disc
Tires: Continental ProContact GX SSR
235/50R-19 99V M+S
Wheelbase: 111.4 in
Length: 183.1 in
Width: 72.2 in
Height: 65.4 in
Passenger Volume: 126 ft3
Cargo Volume: 5 ft3
Curb Weight: 4023 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.9 sec
100 mph: 12.7 sec
1/4-Mile: 13.5 sec @ 102 mph
130 mph: 24.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 6.1 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.2 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 4.2 sec
Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 155 mph
Braking, 100–0 mph: 336 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.87 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 20 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 23/21/26 mpg
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