Mercedes-Benz has already announced that it will be bringing the all-electric EQB to India, but what it hasn’t made public is that the regular GLB is headed here too. Likely to be launched in early December, the seven-seat GLB will be imported from Mexico and sold as a fully built-up unit.
- Only other Mercedes 7-seater in India besides GLS
- Mercedes GLB considerably larger than the GLA
Mercedes-Benz GLB: no local assembly means it’ll be expensive
While other front-wheel-drive Mercs like the A-Sedan and GLA are assembled here, the GLB – which made its global debut in 2019 – will only be imported. This is also why it will be considerably more expensive. Prices are expected to be in the range of Rs 65 lakh to 70 lakh. This is quite a step up from the Rs 45 lakh-49 lakh needed for a GLA, or the Rs 42 lakh-44 lakh asking price of an A-sedan.
It’s not that Mercedes India doesn’t want to assemble the car here; it would love to. The GLB would make a great addition to the range, it would bridge the gap to the GLC nicely and, market forces willing, could even become the bestselling car/SUV in the Mercedes portfolio, taking over from the GLC. But CKD kits for the GLB aren’t available in right-hand drive, and no kits from Mexico means no assembly.
Mercedes-Benz GLB: the 7-seat advantage
The GLB’s trump card, of course, is that it is a 7-seater. This is something Mercedes SUV owners have been asking for. Plenty of Mercedes SUV owners want to travel with their extended families and the GLB will give them this opportunity. What will also give the GLB something of a lift is that it is the only other Mercedes 7-seater apart from the GLS.
What will also help the GLB’s case is the fact that it is considerably larger than the GLA. The length at 4,634mm is seriously impressive and it is built on a 2,829mm wheelbase.
Mercedes-Benz GLB: it even looks like a GLS
The GLB's other highlight is that it looks like a baby GLS. The stand-up lines are sure to be appreciated by Indian SUV buyers. The upright grille and headlights set the tone, it has a long flat bonnet and roofline, the squared wheel arches and the ‘D’ pillar are similar to the GLS, and around the rear, even the segmented tail-lights make it look very familiar.
It isn’t all me-too; the GLB has a distinguishing feature, an interesting kink in the shoulder line. Its job is to raise the shoulder line towards the rear, but without making the SUV look tipped forward.
Mercedes GLB: sophistication and class on the inside
The GLB’s interior borrows heavily from its sister SUV, the GLA. The sloping dash, the door pads and seats, all look similar to the GLA, and various individual elements on the dash are also taken from the MFA parts bin. The long single-piece touchscreen and instrument panel, the ‘deconstructed dash’ with the twist to close vents, the air conditioning controls and the trackpad on the centre console are all familiar. The high-quality steering blends leather, chrome and knurled buttons beautifully. And what will also be carried forward onto the GLB is the solid build.
Expect kinetic front seats, multicolour mood lighting, ‘Hey Mercedes' voice activated commands and a panoramic sunroof. Space and comfort on the second row should be good and you can slide the second row back. The third row, however, is tight on space. Autocar India staffers who have sat in the car say space is only sufficient, even with space on the first and second row adjusted. This means the third row, though practical, will ideally only be used for short stretches.
Mercedes-Benz GLB: practicality and performance
What’s nice, however, is that even with three rows up, there’s a fair-sized boot where you can stack some soft luggage. Space with all three rows up is 130-150 litres, depending on how high up you load it.
Mercedes is likely to limit the engine choices to the 190hp 220d and the 163hp 200 petrol. With its 400Nm of torque, the 220d is likely to be the better choice. Unless Mercedes decides to import the 224hp petrol, which would sort of be ideal. Some versions will get 4X4 or 4Matic and that will be an important addition too.
All in all, Mercedes SUV buyers will have more of a choice now, five seats or seven. And isn’t that what luxury’s all about – having the power to choose?
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