Today, the DTW hobbyhorse® gets another outing, as we return to the world of the automotive press release – where written English goes to die.
Simultaneously in both Stuttgart and for some inexplicable reason, Salt Lake City, Utah, Mercedes recently introduced their much-heralded GLB crossover – the latest, but unlikely to be the last of the current A-Class derivations vying for your undivided online attention. Since you will undoubtedly have formed your own opinions as to its merits by now, I will not trouble you with mine.
Instead, let’s gather round and review the carmaker’s press release – an especially well-crafted document which has all the appearance of being scribed by someone who either really wanted to be doing something else entirely, or else left the matter to Daimler’s MBUX personal assistant, the elegantly titled ‘Hey Mercedes!‘ to complete.
Special off-road light
“Powerful proportions with short overhangs and off-road-oriented design as well as optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive and a special off-road light which helps detect obstacles immediately in front of the vehicle at low speeds – the new Mercedes-Benz GLB is a versatile SUV.” And you think my sentence construction is laboured? Not content with jettisoning lines and creases, Mercedes seems on a mission to rid the world of punctuation, to say nothing of relevance or meaning. But then again, Sindelfingen has tangible form in this arena.
“At 2829 millimetres the GLB has ten centimetres more wheelbase than, for example, the new B-Class. Together with the function-oriented greenhouse this is decisive when it comes to the generous amount of space. [Is it possible to have a greenhouse of dysfunctional variety? Is there a helpline we can call if we discover we have?] The headroom in the first seat row is 1035 millimetres – a best in this segment. At 967 millimetres the effective legroom in the rear of the five-seater is at an especially comfortable level.” [I’m sorry Mercedes, but I’m more interested in the GLB’s ineffective legroom. What do you mean you haven’t got the measurements for that?]
“The powerful proportions of the GLB underscore the design with its off-road orientation: the surfaces of the forms are emphasised, and reduced lines and precise seams are major features. The upright front section with its striking headlamps is clear evidence of off-road genes, [is it really?] as are the short overhangs at the front and rear. [Not so short at the front though.] The muscular and sensuously contoured vehicle shoulder dominates the side view at the height of the C-pillar, an effect reinforced by the rising waistline. [Anybody following this?] All-round protective claddings divide the overall proportions and emphasise the vehicle’s off-road character, as does the simulated under-ride guard at the front and rear.” [Simulated being the pivotal term here, one assumes.]
Two words: Ground clearance. Lack of… same. Okay, that’s five words, but let’s not get carried away in a sea of needless pedantry. Anyway, never mind all that, here comes the science bit.
A design icon
“Its iconic design lends the Mercedes-Benz GLB an unmistakable SUV character”, says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. [Ah, Mr. Wagener, we’ve been expecting you.] “The clear forms with reduced lines and powerful surfaces conveys our design philosophy of Sensual Purity.” [Now you can accuse our Gorden of many things, but inconsistency clearly isn’t one of them.]
Tubular elements – an impression of robustness
Moving to the cabin and amidst the bumpf about the latest MBUX interface gubbins, resides this gem. “A new feature is the characteristic off-road tubular element in an aluminium look which rounds off the lower section of the instrument panel and houses the three round centre air vents. These give the dashboard support an impression of robustness, power and a certain fun factor.” Of course I’m no expert on these matters, but I’m fairly confident that the item in question is more commonly referred to as a passenger grab handle. An ‘aluminium look’ passenger grab handle, mark you.
In four cylinders we trust.
“The new GLB places its trust in the four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines which were completely updated to relaunch the compact model series. [This is verbatim, by the way.] In comparison to the previous generation, they are characterised by significantly increased power, improved efficiency and emissions.” None of your untrustworthy six or eight cylinder units here. Oh no. And as for those duplicitous triples, they can take a running jump as well. By the way Mercedes, I think the phrase you’re struggling for here is ‘reduced emissions’.
“The two-litre M 260 engine in the GLB 250 (combined fuel consumption 7.4-7.2 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 169-165 g/km) has cast-iron cylinder liners in its engine block of diecast aluminium, widening at the lower end as per the CONICSHAPE® principle. [There’s really no need to shout.] In-house the cylinder bore process is descriptively known as “trumpet-honing“. This minimises piston friction and cuts consumption.” Now of course, we’ve all done a little ‘trumpet-honing’ in our time, especially when there’s an ‘R’ in the month, so who am I to cast stones?
“The opitional [sic] ENERGIZING comfort control: it networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massages for a wide range of feel-good programs. [This sounds horrifying.] The ENERGIZING COACH recommends these programs according to the situation. [You’re shouting again.] If the Mercedes-Benz vivoactive® 3 smartwatch or another compatible Garmin® wearable is linked, personal values such as stress level or sleep quality improve the precision of the recommendation.”
Hey Mercedes! as a matter of interest, exactly who is collecting, storing or otherwise sharing these ‘personal values’? Hey, Mercedes…. hello…?