2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC SUV Review


We reviewed the newly introduced Mercedes GLB 250 last year. It is a three-row capable SUV slotted between Mercedes’s GLA, and the GLC. We praised the GLB 250 for its premium interior and its unrivaled practicality, but the exterior styling and performance leave some room to be desired. 

Now for 2021, Mercedes-AMG has extended its product portfolio with a high performance version of the GLB class, the GLB 35. With a 302 hp twin-turbocharged engine and AMG specific styling, we couldn’t wait to give it a test drive. 

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz Canada, we were loaned the new 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4MATIC for one week to do so. Below is our unbiased review.


It is amazing how much sexier the GLB 35 looks with a few upgrades from the AMG team. At the front, the AMG-specific radiator looks bold and highly distinguishable. Our tester is equipped with the optional Night package, which comes with a high-gloss black front splitter. It contrasts nicely with the body paint and gives the GLB a more rugged look.

From the side, the upgraded 21" AMG multi-spoke matte black wheels not only look expensive, but also work in unison with the matte black rocker panels to make the tall side profile of the GLB look more proportional. I really like the denim blue paint of our tester. It is classy but not boring. The reflective surfaces showcase the muscular curvatures of the body panels perfectly. 

The AMG team also gives the GLB 35 a more prominent rear apron with two round, single tailpipes, and an additional black spoiler lip. With the Night package, the rear apron is in gloss black, so are the chrome exhaust tips.


As a member of the AMG family, the GLB 35 has to come with sports seats. They are upholstered in black ARTICO man-made leather with white double topstitching. The seats are very comfortable, and provide excellent lateral and lumbar supports. Other than the sports seats, the interior of the GLB 35 is mostly identical to that of the GLB 250. 

The dash features the familiar dual screen infotainment display found in most new Mercedes-Benz models. Besides that, the jet turbine inspired illuminated air vents will certainly catch your attention. The interior of the GLB looks more rugged than other models with beefy metal trims along the deck, door handles, and the center console. The dash board also features black open-pore wood inlays and soft-leather surfaces.

The optional ambient lighting system provides the wow factor that is expected of a Mercedes-Benz interior. Users can select from 64 different colors and various animated effects via the MBUX infotainment system. Below the center air vents is a roll of climate control buttons. The buttons are made of real aluminum and provide solid tactile feedback. 

The rear seats provide a good amount of head and legroom. The ability to recline and slide the rear seats forward by up to 6” gives the owner more options to optimize the ratio between cargo space and rear cabin space. The back of the center console features two dedicated air vents for the rear cabin. It also hosts two USB C ports and a household 120VAC socket. Our tester did not come with the optional 3rd row seats, but given the amount of space left in the trunk, I can’t imagine it being too comfortable sitting in them. On the other hand, it is nice to be given the option when you do need the extra seats.

Thanks to the large windows and two-piece panoramic sliding sunroof, the outward visibility from the rear seats is excellent. The cabin is also very quiet on the road. Part of it can be attributed to the hefty doors. Not only do they open wide for easy entry, but they also make a satisfying thud when you slam them shut. 


The GLB 35 comes with the excellent Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system but adds AMG-specific displays for performance related information and settings. 

The MBUX consists of a few different components. First, the twin standard 10.25" displays that are positioned right next to each other to appear as one giant screen. The left screen sits right in front of the steering wheel and displays important vehicle information such as the speed, fuel economy, and engine rpm. The right screen, which is a touchscreen, sits right on top of the center console. It is multi-functional, and has an extensive, yet intuitive user interface. Android Auto and Apple Carplay are available with the Premium Package, which our tester is equipped with, but they really should be standard in 2021.

The second part of the MBUX system are the touchpads on the steering wheel. They are similar to the small touch pads we used to see on older Blackberry phones. The left one controls the left display, and the right for the right, simple. I love the fact that you never have to take your hands off the steering wheel to access all functions of the infotainment system.

There is another way you can control the many functions of the car without taking your hands off the wheel. This is accomplished via the LINGUATRONIC voice assist. It is a natural language smart assistant that functions like the Apple Siri or Google Assist. Simply say "Hey, Mercedes", or press the voice command button, and you can ask the GLB 35 to make a phone call, plot a new navigation route, close the roller sunshade, or change the interior light. The voice assistant can control basically anything that is not safety related. The system is smart enough to understand natural language commands like "I am cold" or "I am hungry", and responses by raising cabin temperature, or to find the closest restaurant.

The final part of the MBUX system is the track-pad that is located in the center console. There is a padded resting place for the wrist, which allows your fingers to scroll through the display menu effortlessly. 

One cool optional feature of the new infotainment system is the virtual reality style navigation system. When you are close to a junction, the center display would pull up the video feed from the front camera, and superimpose arrows to show you exactly where to turn. It is a very cool technology but does require you to take your eyes off the road to see. If you don’t want to take your eyes off the road while driving, the $1500 optional head-up display provides all of the same information directly onto the windshield in front of the driver. It is one of the larger, high resolution HUDs I have seen, so I believe it is worth the premium. 

Safety and Driver Assistance

The GLB 35 comes with the following standard safety features:

  • Active Brake Assist
  • Adaptive braking technology
  • Tire Pressure Loss Warning System
  • One-touch SOS calling 

The following features are optional:

  • MULTIBEAM LED headlamps
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Vehicle Exit Warning
  • Traffic Sign Assist
  • Active Parking Assist
  • Active Blind Spot Assist
  • Active Distance Assist
  • Active Lane Change Assist
  • 360 camera

The GLB class earned a 5 star rating by NHTSA.


Thanks to a twinscroll turbocharger, Mercedes-AMG is able to squeeze 302 ponies out of the 2.0L engine of the GLB 35. It delivers 295 lb.ft. of torque at a low rpm range of 3000-4000. Coupled with an AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch 8-speed automatic transmission, the result is a responsive, lively drivetrain that can propel the 1755 kg car from 0-100km/hr in just 5.2 seconds. 

I thoroughly enjoyed driving the GLB 35 hard. The 8-speed dual clutch transmission is fast and predictable, especially in Sport mode. While the 2.0L turbocharged engine of the GLB 35 doesn’t deliver that overwhelming sensation of a proper V8, at no point do I feel the car needs more power. 

The added benefit of utilizing a smaller engine is the car’s impressive fuel economy. With compact piezo injectors which deliver fuel extremely precisely to increase efficiency, and technologies like the CAMTRONIC variable valve control, the GLB 35 returns a fuel economy rating of only 12.0L/100km after one week of very spirited test drive.

In terms of handling, the AMG version of the GLB feels substantially more capable than the non-AMG one. AMG engineers increased the body’s rigidity with bolted aluminum plates, underbody bracing, and a strut tower brace that is visible under the hood. There is very little body roll in corners, and the suspension firms up considerably when you put the car into Sport or Sport+ modes. Even so, the ride never became so hard that it is punishing. Returning the car to Comfort mode and the car once again glides over bumps and dips. 

The steering is also impressive. It is firm, precise, and responsive. The 4Matic all-wheel drive system works in conjunction with the AMG Dynamics agility control to optimize the car’s responses based on road conditions, and the drive mode selected. It is able to send up to 50 percent of the engine torque to the rear axle, which greatly enhances the car’s stability and agility. 

While I know there is an even more powerful GLB 45 in the pipeline, I am already very impressed with the way the GLB 35 handles itself on the road. For a tall, boxy SUV, the GLB 35 delivers a ton of driving enjoyment. 

Cargo Space & Storage

The GLB 35 offers great cargo capacity due to its boxy design. There is 700L of cargo space behind the second row seats. Folding the 40/20/40 rear seats down, the cargo capacity is increased to 1680L. The trunk floor can be dropped to increase cargo capacity, at the expense of a deeper trunk well. Under the trunk floor is a tire inflation kit. On the sides of the trunk are mesh pockets and elastic straps to hold smaller items. Unfortunately you can’t fold the rear seats from the trunk. The pull strings that allow the rear seats to be folded can only be accessed through the rear cabin. 

In cabin storage options are plentiful. The front side door pockets are wide and deep. The rear ones are a little smaller, but still above average. The glove compartment is decently sized, so is the center console storage bin. The front cup holders have integrated folding tabs to hold smaller diameter cups. You will also find additional cup holders in the rear folding armrest. 


The 2021 GLB 35 is the AMG I would seriously consider for myself. It is handsome, premium, practical, fuel efficient, and most importantly, fun to drive. It is hard to find a car that fits all these categories. The fact that you can have one at just $57,500 CAD makes the GLB 35 an irresistible offer. Of course, just like buying any other Mercedes-Benz, the final sticker price could be significantly higher depending on how much self-restraint you have. 

Test Vehicle

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic SUV with:

  • Navigation Package 
  • Premium Package
  • Night Package
  • AMG Driver’s Package


$72,230 CAD as tested $57,500 CAD base


Denim Blue


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