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The Mercedes-Benz GLB has impressed many with its combination of up-to-the-minute technology, ample space and rugged style. Now AMG’s engineers have stepped up with an exhilarating 306hp performance model, the GLB 35 4MATIC.
All GLB models, this AMG version included, come with Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist (to monitor driver tiredness) and ESP Curve Dynamic Assist. Safety equipment includes seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, a window airbag that extends to protect third-row passengers and i-Size/ISOFIX and Top-Tether anchorages for compatible child seats.
All GLB models feature the acclaimed MBUX system with its choice of touch commands or the intelligent ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control, the MN-B equivalent to Siri or Alexa. The GLB 35’s twin 10.25-inch touchscreens include three AMG specific display modes; ‘Classic’, ‘Sporty’ and ‘Supersport’, the latter mode featuring a central, round rev counter and bar graph-style driver information.
The AMG Dynamic Select drive programs comprise Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual driving modes. Satellite navigation, smartphone integration with wireless charging, USB ‘C’ ports and an advanced 225W sound system come as standard.
Although the fastest model in the standard GLB range, the GLB 220d, can hit 0-62mph in a respectable 7.1 seconds it wouldn’t see the Mercedes-AMG 35 4MATIC for dust. This model’s turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine produces 306hp and 400Nm of torque, reaching 62mph in just 5.2 seconds from a standing start. Power is distributed to all four wheels via AMG Performance 4MATIC fully variable all-wheel drive, which can vary from front-wheel drive to a 50:50 front/rear split.
Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph. The suspension is re-engineered to match, with new steering knuckles and transverse control arms on the front axle, as well as a model-specific subframe and wheel carriers at the rear.
The GLB’s unfussy lines and practical upright rear end straddle the divide between chunky and chic, with echoes of the flagship G-Class in its styling. Unique to the GLB 35 4MATIC are an AMG-specific radiator grille with vertical slats, a more aggressive front splitter and a roof colour spoiler, ensuring that it’s recognisable at a glance as a performance model from the AMG stable.
Wheels are 19-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke alloys in tantalum grey and the brake callipers are picked out with black AMG lettering. AMG interior features include black sports with red double topstitching and red seat belts, as well as a multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather. Two-tone leather interiors are a further option.
Verdict: the GLB makes a great base for an AMG performance model as it has appealing looks, versatility and practicality as standard. The AMG 35 package gives this seven-seat SUV a serious boost in performance and handling, along with extra touches of luxury and distinctive design.