This week I am reviewing a small performance SUV, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB35. This is next to the smallest SUV in the Benz lineup.
Since it's an AMG model, you know it’s going to be a performer, and it does not disappoint.
This is usually where I write about the exterior looks, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but this SUV from the side view, at least for me, is very unattractive. The front and rear look good, the 19” wheels are awesome, but from the side, it looks a bit too chopped off. I can’t figure out why we needed an SUV between the GLA and the GLC, but that is none of my business.
Under the hood there sits a 2-liter inline 4-cylinder turbo that puts out 302-horses and 295-pound feet of torque. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic with shift paddles. My review vehicle is all-wheel drive, which Mercedes calls 4MATIC. Top speed is 155-miles per hour.
Inside is a very nice cabin, with leather and Alcantara bolstered power seats. As you sit, you see two 10” screens, that look like one. The gauge cluster is heavily configurable and quite easy to read.
Center dash is the touchscreen that operates the sound system, Navigation, Bluetooth, houses the front and rear cameras, the settings, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
When you hit the pushbutton start, just under that is the switch to turn off the start/stop system, making it easy to start the vehicle and turn the stupid start/stop off in one quick motion.
The center console has a touchpad if you prefer that to the touchscreen. There are also shortcut buttons there to change the modes on the screen. You get adjustable cup holders, a power outlet, and USB ports. I also find the air conditioning vents to be quite attractive and useful.
There is a switch to change the drive modes on the console, or you can change them from a round knob on the steering wheel. Yes, of course Sport Plus is my favorite.
Back seat room surprised me, as did overall head and legroom. Back seat occupants get A/C vents, power outlets and USB ports.
Cargo area after opening the power lift gate is good. There is 22 cubic-feet of cargo, and 60 cubic-feet with the back seats folded down.
Equipment and Options
It’s a Mercedes, so it’s loaded with a ton of standard and optional features. Notably missing is a panoramic moon roof, and I am surprised there are no ventilated seats, but the front is heated. One neat feature I really liked is there is a setting that when the front camera detects a red light, it turns the front cross-traffic camera on. That could be a great safety feature.
Ride and Drive
This GLB35 handles crisply, is super stable in turns, the transmission shifts hard and fast in Sport Plus mode, and the exhaust sound is great. Acceleration is really strong in Sport Plus, but a little anemic in Comfort mode.
Fuel economy is 21 city and 26 highway, and total MSRP is $55,590.
So, my assessment is: as much as I love Benz SUVs, especially the AMG models, this one is overpriced and I’m sorry, but just don’t find it to be attractive.
- What I Liked Most: The interior and instrument panel.
- What I would change: Exterior appearance.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 21 in town, 26 highway, 23 Combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 1,800 miles.
- Weight: 3,896 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Inflator kit.
- Length-Width-Height: 183.1” long/79.5” wide/63.7” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 13.5 gallons with the filler on the driver’s side.
- Towing Capacity: 3,869 pounds.
- Official Color: Night Black.
- 2021 AMG GLB35 in a few words: I love Benz SUVs, but this one just isn’t my favorite.
- Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance.
- Final Assembly Location: Aquascalientes, Mexico.
- Manufacturer's website: Mercedes-Benz