The new Mercedes-Benz GLB: Our compacts have never been this grownup

The new GLB (Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,4-5,0 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 169-133 g/km.)* from Mercedes-Benz is now adding a new chapter to the successful history of compact vehicles. And I’m the proud Product Manager. That’s why I’m glad to have the opportunity to introduce this new vehicle to you from my personal perspective.

The new GLB is “ready for boarding.” It marks the first time that up to seven people can sit in a compact SUV from Mercedes-Benz. In addition to its “inner values,” I especially like the fact that the GLB is so visually distinctive, featuring short overhangs at the front and rear as well as a vertical front section containing striking headlamps. This down-to-earth SUV look is ideally complemented by the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and the Off-Road Engineering Package that makes the GLB even fitter for cross-country outings. Besides downhill driving assist DSC, the package includes an additional drive program. It adjusts the engine’s performance, the characteristics of the 4MATIC, and the ABS system to the needs of driving on easy terrain away from paved roads.

The GLB is the biggest representative of our new family of compact vehicles

The new GLB offers lots of room in all dimensions: At 2,829 millimeters, it has the longest wheelbase of our current generation of compacts. In conjunction with the functional greenhouse, the long wheelbase is the main reason why the vehicle is so spacious. There’s 1,035 millimeters of headroom in the first row of seats — a record value for this segment. This also makes a number of special features possible that we haven’t previously offered our customers in this segment. The inclusion of seven seats is an example. The GLB is an ideal vehicle for parental shuttle services to sports practice or other leisure activities. Because of its size, the GLB can also take along the kids’ friends, even if they are quite young, because four child safety seats can be attached to Isofix anchoring points in seat rows two and three.

The GLB ideally complements the GLA

But does Mercedes-Benz really need another SUV in its product lineup? People often ask this question. I always answer with a definite “yes” because SUVs and compacts are important volume segments for us: One in three Mercedes-Benz models is now a SUV, while one in four is a compact. A compact SUV such as the GLB thus combines all of the success factors of our two best-selling segments. The vehicle’s attributes make it a perfect fit for our model range, in between the GLA and the GLC. Without revealing too much, I can already say that the next GLA will remain a dynamically sporty vehicle, which means it will be positioned as a city SUV for lifestyle-oriented customers. In a sense, the GLB ideally complements the GLA.

Mercedes-Benz GLB: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,4-5,0 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 169-133 g/km.*

What began with the A-Class back in 1997 has long since become an international success story. With the addition of the new GLB, Mercedes-Benz’ family of compact vehicles now consists of eight models. The A-Class, the A-Class Sedan, the A-Class Sedan long version, the B-Class, the CLA Coupe, the CLA Shooting Brake, and the current GLA are already available on the market. In 2018 more than 609,000 customers worldwide have taken delivery of a compact model from Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz has supplied more than 6.5 million compacts worldwide since the first A-Class was launched in 1997. Now, plants in Germany, Hungary, Finland, China, and, most recently, Mexico are all contributing to this success story.

The new GLB openly displays its offroad genes

The GLB’s powerful proportions underscore its offroad-oriented design. The styling focuses on surfaces and employs reduced lines and clear-cut seams. Protective wraparound claddings structure the overall proportions and emphasize the vehicle’s offroad character, as do the visible underride guards at the front and back. The same message is communicated by the vertical front section and its striking headlamps as well as by the short overhangs at the front and rear. The side view is dominated by the muscular and sensually modeled vehicle shoulder — an impression that is reinforced by the rise of the beltline to the height of the C-pillar.

Mercedes-Benz GLB: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,4-5,0 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 169-133 g/km.*

The doors that spill over the sills not only make entry easier, they also prevent the door cutouts from getting soiled and provide added protection in case of a side impact. A new feature in the interior is the offroad-style tubular element featuring a milled aluminum look. It is located on the front passenger side of the instrument panel. The interior’s robust appearance is also evident in the center console, where tubular elements featuring the aforementioned milled look provide the components and control elements with constructional support. The SUV nature of the vehicle is underscored at the doors by the horizontal grab handle. Beginning with the Progressive design and equipment line, this handle has the form of a milled aluminum tube, which is powerfully integrated into the overall sculptural form of the door trim.

Needless to say, the GLB offers everything that our other compacts also have

Depending on its range of equipment, the GLB can “see” up to 500 m ahead with its camera and radar sensor systems. In certain situations, it can drive partially automated. For example, the Active Distance Assist system DISTRONIC conveniently adjusts the speed ahead of curves, intersections or traffic circles by accessing map and navigation data, among other things.

Mercedes-Benz GLB: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,4-5,0 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 169-133 g/km.*

The optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps have an electronic control system that makes it possible to adapt the beam of the driving light quickly and precisely to the current driving situation. The Adaptive High-Beam Assist Plus enables the high beam headlamp to remain switched on at all times. The new GLB is equipped with either a four-cylinder gasoline or diesel engine, which were completely updated for the relaunch of the compact model series. Thanks to its expanded exhaust treatment system, the two-liter diesel engine (OM 654q) already meets stage 2 of the Real Driving Emissions (RDE), which will not become mandatory until 2020. Moreover, the engine is certified in accordance with the Euro 6d Standard. It goes without saying that the vehicle is also equipped with the intuitively operable infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).

A vehicle that is tailored to my needs

I’m delighted that I was from the very start lucky enough to be a part of the team that put the GLB on the road. It’s a fantastic experience to accompany a vehicle from the concept specifications stage all the way to its market launch. In this case, my profession and my inclinations formed a perfect match. I’ve been in love with SUVs for a long time. From the days of DaimlerChrysler, I still have a Jeep Wrangler in my garage that I’ve even driven in offroad competitions. I also need the room that the GLB offers, because I have three kids and lots of hobbies with high transportation needs, from bike to surfboard. My love of the GLB has also been noted by the people in advertising. As a result, the imaginary target customer that the agencies should take as the basis for their concepts is called “Jürgen L.”.


*Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO2-Werte“ i.S.v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet.

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Jürgen Leiter was born in Franconia and studied business information technology at the Berufsakademie Stuttgart (now part of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University). After working for six years in the Aftersales IT unit of Mercedes-Benz’ German sales organization, Leiter moved to the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart in 1998. In 2009 he became involved in product management. Since 2015 he has been the Product Manager of the new GLB. After working at Daimler for 30 years, he loves anything that has four wheels and makes a lot of noise: from big offroaders to ATVs. To unwind, Leiter likes to ride his mountain bike and do water sports. What he loves doing most is to go away with his family as often and as far as possible. These trips primarily take them to Asia and Australia.