Mercedes-AMG has kicked off its Frankfurt motor show with the new GLB35 AMG, a small, seven-seat SUV packing the same 302bhp 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and eight-speed dual clutch transmission as the A35 hot hatchback.
Putting this power on the road is the ubiquitous front-wheel biased all-wheel-drive system common to Mercedes models on this platform. Unfortunately, this not of a ‘drift mode’ variety, rather one with a more demure 50:50 maximum front-to-rear torque split, although there is a race-start function if you plan on upsetting all six of your passengers at once, and when you do, 62mph will come about in just 5.2sec.
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Like all of AMG’s recent transversely engined models, the GLB35 features AMG Dynamic Select and AMG Dynamics, two control systems that work within one another to not only automatically control how the GLB attacks a road, but also then gives that variation of choice to the driver via an ‘Individual’ drive mode. Everything from throttle mapping, steering and suspension tune to gearbox calibration, torque split and stability and traction control are connected through these two systems.
The suspension set-up has also been retuned for the GLB35’s ‘sporty’ character, AMG having fitted new suspension knuckles and transverse control arms amongst the fresh springs and dampers. The brakes have also been upgraded, the set now made up of four-piston front calipers gripping 350mm discs. Wheel sizes start at 19 inches, but can be specified up to 21 inches on the options list.
From the outside, AMG has decided to fit its Panamerica grille style to an AMG 35 model for the first time, otherwise it shares its exterior design with those of other AMG-line GLB models, save for single round exhaust outlets, badging and those big optional wheels.
Inside, the usual spread of AMG kit applies, with bespoke screen layouts, a new chunky steering wheel with mode control, and lots of perforated leather. The somewhat upright and MPV-like interior also remains, looking somewhat at odds with the myriad of faux carbonfibre and that aggressive steering wheel.
And yet as mad as this all sounds, an even hotter GLB45 is on its way, likely packing the same bespoke AMG-built 415bhp 2-litre turbo as in other small AMG models in the range. But if there is a company that will always outdo itself, it’s AMG, and remember this is a company that shoehorned an M156 6.2-litre V8 half under the dashboard of a Mercedes R-class. Little makes sense about these cars, but then, who cares?