The mini-ute that Mercedes debuted earlier this year, the GLB, will get a power bump for the 2021 model year and the name Mercedes-AMG GLB 35. A twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four puts out a peak 302 hp between 5,800-6,100 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque between 3,000-4,000 rpm. Power then channels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and on its way to all four wheels. This is good for a claimed 5.1-second sprint to 60 mph and a governed top speed of 155 mph.
The GLB 35 includes five drive modes, which Mercedes calls AMG Dynamic Select. They are: slippery, comfort, sport, sport-plus and individual. Sport and sport-plus are the most AMG appropriate settings — both the engine and transmission have the sportiest tune and the auto engine start/stop feature is disabled. Additionally, the GLB comes with basic and advanced AMG Dynamics, which control all-wheel-drive torque distribution and steering assist. Basic is tied to comfort and slippery drive modes. Advanced goes with sport and sport-plus. Individual is up to the driver.
Coming from a front-wheel-drive-based car, it’s logical that front-to-rear torque split spreads between entirely front-wheel drive to as much as 50 percent going to the rear axle. Side-to-side torque distribution management comes from the brakes and stability control settings.
AMG underpinned the GLB 35 with new steering knuckles, front control arms and revised components in the rear to give it legitimate sport credentials over the standard GLB SUVs. Adjustable shocks, called AMG Ride Control, are optional. Brakes, too, get an upgrade: 13.8-inch discs with four-piston calipers clamping down on them in front, with 13.0-inch discs and single-piston calipers doing the work in back. Along the same lines, the base wheel size is 19 inches, and Mercedes will offer 21s for those who want to go big.
Visually speaking, the GLB 35 uses a different radiator grille, a front splitter, different rear bumper and a roof spoiler, and the brake calipers are painted silver. Mercedes will also sell the AMG night package, which blacks out the splitter, rear bumper and tailpipes. Inside, the sportier theme continues with sportier seats and a meaner look. Lots of tech is offered, too, as is an optional-third row seat.
The standard GLB is due to hit dealers before the end of the year. The GLB 35 is a 2021 model year utility that Mercedes will start to sell here about a year later. No word on price or fuel economy yet. Regardless, the specs definitely whet our appetites for a drive.
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