Drive Notes: 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLB35 AMG 4Matic

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Every time I drive an AMG-massaged Mercedes-Benz crossover/SUV, I get a sense of déjà vu.

They're all quick, fun to drive, and bestowed with the latest in Mercedes-Benz dash tech. That last bit means lots of screen space, enough customization options to make your head spin, and haptic touch that mostly works.

Here is my short-take snapshot of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLB35 AMG 4Matic.


Pros

  • This little one can move. Floor it, and after a half-second of thinking it over, the powertrain will comply and catapult you forward in a manner that's relatively rare among compact luxury crossovers. You can even seen how much of the 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque you're summoning via one of the screen options.
  • MBux infotainment works well, though there can be too many menus. The "hey Mercedes" voice assistant generally understood my asks, but occasionally failed.
  • Rear headroom isn't bad, but you can notice a subtle slope.
  • It's cool that these cars have a "car wash" mode.
  • Mercedes has the best haptic-touch buttons out there. They're still not perfect, and I sometimes wonder if this tech should even be used in cars, but if one has to use it, this is as good as it gets at present.
  • Slapping the dial into Sport or Sport+ brings about a growling engine and some sharp handling.

Cons

  • I don't love the dainty column shifter that feels like it will break if you sneeze on it.
  • There was some low-speed clunkiness from the powertrain. Not sure if the hybrid assist was acting up or if the eight-speed DCT transmission was confused, but it wasn't Mercedes smooth.
  • Engaging either Sport mode similarly causes wonky powertrain behavior at low speeds and light throttle.
  • Sixty-eight grand seems too high, even for an AMG-massaged Mercedes. That's as-tested, to be fair, but the base price was a still dear $59,050.
  • Apple CarPlay sometimes would not connect.
  • As much as I like MBux, changing radio sources or channels requires too much menu-diving. Please, automakers, please, make certain functions simple, no matter how dazzling your infotainment tech is. Tuning radio stations or changing audio sources should be quicker and easier.
  • Wet roads led to seriously squeaky brakes. The binders still felt stout, though.

See you next time.

[Images © 2024 Tim Healey/TTAC.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
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