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Off-road orientation: the exterior design
The powerful proportions of the GLB underscore its off-road design. The surfaces of the forms are emphasized, while lines are minimized and the seams are executed with high precision. The upright front section with its striking headlamps are clear evidence of off-road genes, as are the short overhangs at the front and rear.
The muscular vehicle shoulder dominates the side view at the height of the C- pillar, an effect reinforced by the rising waistline. The doors reach over the side bar, improving ease of access, while keeping the door openings free of dirt, as well as increasing protection in the event of a side impact. All-round protective claddings divide the overall proportions and emphasize the vehicle’s off-road character, as do the optical underride guard at the front and rear.
“Its iconic design lends the Mercedes-Benz GLB an unmistakable SUV character,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. “The clear forms with reduced lines and powerful surfaces conveys our design philosophy of Sensual Purity.”
With aluminum details: the interior design
The instrument panel consists of a single piece, which has optical cutouts in the driver and front passenger area. There is a widescreen cockpit facing the driver while the functions and displays are controlled via MBUX (Mercedes- Benz User Experience). A new feature is the off-road tubular element in an aluminum look, which rounds off the lower section of the instrument panel and houses the three round center air vents. These give the dashboard support and create an impression of robustness, power and a certain element of fun. Below the air vents is the air conditioning control panel, whose buttons create the impression that they have been milled from a solid aluminum cylinder.
The robust character of the interior continues in the center console. Tubular elements in a machined look lend strength to the design of the components and controls. Along the doors, the SUV character is accentuated by its horizontal grab handles as part of the standard design and equipment line, this forms a robust part of the door panel structure, resembling a modified aluminum tube.
Ready for boarding: up to seven seats
The GLB is the first compact vehicle from Mercedes-Benz to offer an optional third row with two additional seats. The extensive safety equipment includes retractable headrests, seat belts with belt tensioners, and a side window airbag, which also protects the passengers in the third seat row. Additionally, the GLB supplies ISOFIX and TOP-Tether anchorages for suitable child seats, and these can be used to attach up to four child seats in the rear.
Comfort details in the third row include two drink holders between the seats as well as two stowage compartments with a rubberized insert on the left and right in the load compartment trim, each with a USB-C port. The seats can be folded so that they are flush with the load compartment floor in order to extend the load compartment.
The comfort suspension: at the front, the GLB has MacPherson suspension struts, at the rear an acoustically and vibrationally decoupled multi-link axle with compression springs. Adaptive adjustable damping is available on request. With this, the driver can change between more comfort or particularly sporty tuning via the DYNAMIC SELECT switch.
Adding more traction: the 4MATIC® all-wheel drive
The GLB can be equipped with the permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC®, with variable torque distribution. This sporty all-wheel drive configuration allows the driver to use the DYNAMIC SELECT switch to influence the characteristics of 4MATIC®. Three characteristic programs are available to control the all-wheel drive clutch, though the system responds flexibly to the current driving situation in any mode. In regular driving operation, the drive program “Eco/Comfort” is based on an 80:20 distribution (front axle: rear axle), while in “Sport” it is 70:30. In off-road mode the all-wheel drive clutch acts as an inter-axle differential lock, with the basic distribution a balanced 50:50.
4MATIC® components include the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the automated dual clutch transmission, and the rear axle differential with an integrated multiplate clutch. This is electro-mechanically operated. Via a spur gear and ball ramp, an electric motor exerts an axial force on the clutch pack to open or close the plates. The rear axle differential compensates the different paths/rotational speeds of the rear wheels. The advantages of this control system are above all non-rpm-dependent operation across the entire actuation range, pilot control of the clutch while still stationary and higher efficiency thanks to the ball ramp concept.
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