The endless onslaught of SUV’s for the South African Market and the equally infinite marketability of a vehicle of such a design has resulted in the Stuttgart giant Mercedes to create a kind of ‘Mini-me’ version of the GLC, dubbed the ‘B’. The GL terminology is indicative of the SUV origins and the B to indicate where it will fit into the range. Merc’s range is a bit tricky at the moment, but the GLB falls part of the target market as stablemates A class, A-class sedan and CLA. Offering an additional 10 centimetres on the B-class Platform and extending a total length of 4634mm, while providing the elevated SUV driving position that has become the typical statement of a vehicle of this class and design with a 1658m height.
The GLB offering aims to take on the VW Tiguan directly into its crosshairs with its compact design and the well put together compact Merc package that offers the option of extended versatility through the ability to spec an additional row of seating. The range will comprise of the GLB 220d and the GLB 250. Later the GLB 35 AMG will join the lineup and serve as the range-topper.
The engines are shared with other models within the range, and the tried and true motto means the GLB 220d makes use of the familiar 2.1Litre turbodiesel motor, producing a maximum output of 140kW and 400Nm paired to an 8-speed DCT automatic. These numbers are suitable for a 7.6 second 0-100 sprint time and a top speed of 217Km/h. The GLB 250 makes use of a 2.0Litre Turbo producing 165KW and 350Nm, which equate to a relatively brisk sub-7 second 0-100 and a 236Km/h top chat. In the interests of efficiency and fuel consumption cylinder deactivation and Start aim to lower consumption and emissions.
Drive is to all four corners through optionally available 4Matic which ultimately under typical drive situations and in Eco and Sport, splits power 80:20 between the axles and when in sport 70:30. In Off-road mode is the power split equally 50:50 through the Dynamic Drive Select which alters the 4Matic and characteristics and allows the ABS-system to assist with low traction situations.
Internally the GLB brings out its origins through the typical New-Generation Mercedes interior roots raining clear. Aluminium vents and design trim elements, and the combination of quality materials are to be expected throughout. The options list serves as your proverbial oyster, and this way almost endless connectivity and customisation are available. The 10.25″ Display and MBUX user interface offering the option of Augmented Reality Navigation, Wireless charging, hard drive storage and bundles of optional features. The passive and active safety elements not forgotten, and encompasses DISTRONIC Active Adaptive cruise control, PARKTRONIC with Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Hill Assist as some highlights. LED headlamps with adaptive High beam Assist are standard throughout the range, with the option for Multibeam LED lights as an option. The key feature of the optional 3rd row of seating has been designed with passengers of up to 1.68meters.
GLB 35 AMG
The Range Topper 35AMG takes the speed and driving dynamics to another level with the 228kW 2.0litre turbo petrol powering all for wheels through 4Matic AWD, Enough to propel the sandwich like SUV to 100Km/h in 5.2seconds and on to the 250Km/h Limiter. Standard features and specifications on the AMG model are more extensive than the standard model and rides of a set of 20″ inch alloy wheels.
Bring the kids along: Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door coupe on the way.
If the upcoming CLS is not sporty enough for you, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door coupe may just be what you’re looking for. Based on the E-Class chassis, this vehicle is aimed at the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Audi’s A7 model – a niche segment for an eccentric buyer. Despite bearing looks similar to that of the AMG GT, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door shares more similarities with the Mercedes-Benz E Class (so we’re told). Having seen the blistering results of vehicles such as the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, one can only imagine what’s in store for the GT 4 door coupe.
At this point, all we know is the fact that the vehicle is undergoing testing “around the world”, with a few vehicles doing the rounds in specific areas. We can only imagine a unit or two running around the heat infested Upington region – an area often used for hot weather testing. In terms of engines to be offered, it’s all speculation – but judging by Merc’s push into electrification, we can expect EV technology to present itself. The recent announcement of inline 6 cylinder “53” engine variants is a telltale sign regarding where the brand is going. Publications such as Autocar have also reported on an apparent upcoming high powered 4.0 litre V8 turbocharged engine, integrated with EV systems – providing epic performance (800hp+) and electric range too. All we can do for now is wait for the official announcement at the Geneva Motor Show on the 6th of March. Tobias Moers, you have our attention…
South African Car News: Mercedes-Benz GLA Facelift
The GLA has been a love/hate car since its launch in 2013. Some didn’t know how to place it, is it an SUV? Or simply a larger A Class? Mercedes can confirm that it is indeed a compact SUV, positioning itself in a competitive market since sedans are “so yesterday”. So what are the notable changes in the new GLA?
Of course exterior changes have been made. However subtle they are, the new look makes the car have a more aggressive presence. Lighting systems have a come a long way and the new GLA is an example of that. There is a choice of what Mercedes calls LED High Performance head lamps. This lighting system replaces the Bi-Xenon headlamps and is meant to replicate daylight in terms of temperature, helping the driver alleviate stress on the eyes at night. The rear taillights are also brightness adjustable, brighter in the day, dimmer at night and dimmest at standstill so as to not fry the eyes of other drivers.
Other technology included in the new GLA is a 360 degree camera and an 8 inch infotainment system. Chrome accents have been added to certain interior items, making things look bolder for those who have a hawk eye. Three lines are available, Style, Urban and AMG. Different packages can also be chosen in the car, making your GLA unique.
Under the bonnet there is the choice two petrol engines, the 200 and 250 4MATIC. As well as two diesels, the 220 d and the 220 d 4MATIC.This obviously excludes the range topping Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC. This variant now features the upgraded 2.0 litre turbocharged engine which produces 280kW/ 475Nm. Adding to the power-plant are options which make the GLA 45 more sporty. For instance, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package comes with a host of features to aid performance and grip. A locking front diff, AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension and a RACE program ensure that the driver remains thrilled and confident behind the wheel. Aiding convenience, all GLA models can be fitted with a HANDS FREE ACCESS system. This system gives you keyless access into the car, making it better for those days when you’re hands are full. For the longer drives, a standard feature called Active Brake Assist is equipped. If you’re tired and don’t notice that you’re about to rear end someone, the car will use sensors to do it for you. This of course comes in very handy to avoid accidents and black eyes.
Overall the updated GLA looks good. It was the one of the older cars in the stable, so a facelift is welcome. As previously mentioned this segment continues to boom, so consumers now have another toy to play with. Pricing for the car is as follows: