The GLB 35 sits atop the line-up, which will reach Australia around June or July next year. First to arrive will be the Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 4matic. This all-wheel-drive mid-range variant will be quickly joined by the base-grade frontdrive GLB 200, and the GLB 35.
GLB, as the name suggests, is intended to fill the gap between Mercedes-Benz’s existing small GLA and medium GLC SUVs. But the newcomer isn’t a precise in-betweenie fit. While the GLB is built on the second generation of Stuttgart’s MFA architecture, the same as the new A-Class and CLA, its wheelbase is a neat 10cm longer. This means the GLB is close to the GLC for length and wheelbase, while standing taller. And it’s way bigger than the soon-to-be replaced GLA. The GLB is the size it is for a reason. The Chinese market expressed a strong desire that it should have seven seats, and Mercedes-Benz decided to oblige.
The individually folding pair of seats that make up the third row will accommodate adults without a problem. With the seven-seat interior comes a centre bench with 140mm of fore-and-aft adjustment, plus extra curtain airbags. The backrest folding split is 40/20/40, while the slider mechanism divides the seat 60/40. The angle of the centre-row backrests is also adjustable.
With the local launch of the GLB so far off, M-B Australia is still some way from finalising specification and pricing, but the seven-seat interior is likely standard across the range in Australia.
From the front seats the view contains both familiar and fresh elements. The widescreen display of instrumentation and infotainment won’t surprise anyone who has been inside a current A-Class, except the screen is set into a ledge carved into the chunky, SUV-style dash.
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