During the 29th edition of the Tour Auto, the "LesVoitures.com" team followed the story of the Fiat 850 Moretti Sportiva in a comfortable Mercedes-Benz GLB. The "great German" and the "little Italian" crisscrossed, side by side, the roads of France between Paris and Marseille. The SUV ensured the images and media coverage of the race while the second, of course, participated in the rally. Starting the adventure as a simple following car, the Mercedes SUV finally made it to the finish line of the Tour Auto on the Paul Ricard circuit. Indeed, forced to retire during the 4th stage between Toulouse and the Pont du Gard, the Moretti crew finished the race aboard the spacious GLB in its 250 4Matic petrol configuration.
After three days of fierce racing, there are already about fifteen retirements among the 200 cars entered in the Tour Auto 2020. Let us recall that at the Tour Auto, there is an opponent who thrills all drivers without exception and who does not. savings person: mechanics. Before claiming victory, you have to claim the finish, and each crew makes a conscious commitment. The timed events follow one another at an intense pace. The old ones are suffering but are not spared as much. Among the unfortunate people left on the side of the road is, alas, the extremely rare Fiat 850 Moretti Sportiva entered by the Scuderia Classic. So the rally ended for us aboard the Mercedes-Benz GLB.
After keeping the distance between Paris and Toulouse, the engine of the little Italian girl gave up her soul with a last breath a few kilometers from the priory of Saint-Michel de Grandmont in Hérault. Find the start of the Fiat race by clicking here. But has the Tour Auto adventure come to an end? This is without counting on the robustness of the Mercedes-Benz GLB "LesVoitures.com" which finished the race in place of the Italian.
This is how the fate of the Mercedes SUV takes a real turn in the midst of the adventure. Small clarification however, it is, of course, as a press car that the German can reach the last stage. This in no way detracts from the fun you get when riding the GLB. The contrast with the 850 Moretti Sportiva is stark, the gigantic German ogre sounds deep in the laps alongside the slight capricious Italian princess who is almost three times lower.
Admittedly, the 1,735-kilo SUV seems less comfortable in curves than the 850, but its precise steering allows for good cornering. Its dual-clutch automatic transmission (8-speed 8G-DCT) is really nice and the responsiveness of gear changes is appreciated when driving in the middle of Ford GT40 and Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta "Tour de France".
This year, only two Mercedes have entered the Tour Auto field. Among them, there is one that does not go unnoticed. This model which marked automotive history is none other than the legendary 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL from the duo Pierre Mellinger / Tommaso Gelmini (photo below). Regularly engaged, this legendary Mercedes has often crossed paths with the GLB on the Tour Auto.
On the outside, the look of the SUV remains true to the brand. The GLB is a successful "cross" between an adventurous and boorish gauge of the GLK and a design close to the compact brand with the stars. While it looks genuinely imposing, the GLB has proportions that are in line with other compact SUVs on the market. The 500-liter trunk provides ample space for filming equipment along with the crew's suitcases.
The real argument of the Mercedes GLB is inside, the comfort, the choice of materials and all the driving aids make all the difference on journeys as long as the Tour Auto (over 2000 km). The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) interface is a great tool that is easy to learn and does everything you need with the force of your thumbs while keeping your hand on the wheel. The two numeric keypads which replace the traditional counters and the central touch screen are complete, of very good quality and the information is perfectly readable. The air vents and luminous finishes inside the vehicle also reveal its premium positioning. The entire interior of the vehicle is carefully designed to optimize comfort and driving, a must! The GLB is also a very good all-road vehicle. The proof with our photos taken in the region of La Croix-Valmer after the rally.
Finally, all of these modern technological tools are certainly the opposite of the old ones that take part in the Tour Auto, but it is above all what makes the comfort and pleasure of driving cars today. These modern vehicles above all have the advantage of being much more reliable and this is what allowed the Mercedes-Benz SUV to finish the Tour Auto 2020 on the legendary Le Castellet circuit. These last few days at the wheel of the German are also an opportunity to remember our first test of the GLB 220d 4Matic AMG Line.
Text: Guillaume de Gaillard
Photos: LesVoitures.com and Scuderia Classic