2021 Mercedes-AMG GLB35 Debuts: OMG, It's the AMG Baby G

It promises more than 300 horsepower and a crackling soundtrack.

Mercedes' smallest seven-seater just got a whole lot more fun. The AMG engineers in Affalterbach have applied their touch to keep occupants in all three rows of the GLB-class compact crossover entertained.

The Mercedes-AMG GLB35 packs a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder punching out 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, notable bumps over the regular GLB's 221 horses and 258 lb-ft. Channeled through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the GLB35 AMG's output hits all four wheels via standard 4MATIC all-wheel drive. AMG hints at a crackly, burbly exhaust sound from the twin tailpipes thanks to partial ignition interruption between shifts—hit the aluminum paddle shifters to fire them off as you please.

Hop in, pick up six friends, and head to the drag strip. There, the GLB35's launch-control function will scoot the crossover from zero to 60 mph in a claimed 5.1 seconds, on its way to a 155-mph top speed. When you're finished, selectable drive modes tune dynamics to suit the road ahead whether it's an open highway or twisty back road. AMG's chassis experts devised a number of model-specific components, including the steering knuckles and subframe, to give this GLB what's being touted as a mix of plushness and response.

Like every AMG model, the GLB35 wears new trimmings to give it a sporty aesthetic. Above the aluminum-edged, aero-enhanced front bumper is AMG's vertical-slat Panamericana grille, which adds aggression to the GLB's cutesy façade. Around back, a diffuser-ish panel is mounted between the aforementioned big-bore tailpipes, while a spoiler is applied to the roofline's trailing edge. Multispoke wheels ranging from 19 to 21 inches and available adaptive suspension aid the little SUV's hunkered-down stance. The drilled brake rotors now measure 13.8 inches up front, where they're clamped by four-piston fixed calipers; the rotors are 13.0 inches with single-piston floaters at the rear.

The theme continues inside with a flat-bottom steering wheel and available carbon-fiber trim. Two high-resolution widescreen displays work around Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system and digital assistant, here featuring AMG-specific graphics and the ability to peruse performance-oriented data. USB charging ports are available for occupants in all three rows. While the GLB isn't Mercedes' roomiest SUV, an available dual-panel moonroof helps the cabin feel more spacious.

As a whole, the GLB35 presents a compelling lifestyle option for drivers seeking a balance of sport and practicality in a compact footprint. It's set to make its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, and it will land at U.S. dealerships by late 2020.

This story originally appeared on MotorTrend.

Related Articles