They say you can't be all things to all people.
But that hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz having a red-hot go with this car, the GLB35 AMG.
Not content with being one of the most versatile members of the ever-growing Mercedes fleet, the GLB is further pushing the boundaries with an AMG-tuned, high-performance model.
This compact little SUV is a part-time off-roader, versatile around-towner, capable weekender, seven-seat people mover and, in its latest incarnation, a part-time sports car as well.
You'd think that would have us shouting from the rooftops about this latest model to wear the famous three-pointed star. After all, it would be unlikely, almost unthinkable, to find an AMG vehicle I didn't particularly take an instant liking to. But this one comes close.
We tested the conventional GLB250 a few months back and, while being impressed with its versatility and value, we aired our concerns at the time that in being so keen to tick as many boxes as possible, it had lost sight of its own core competencies.
So when the nice people at Mercedes offered a steer of this GLB35 with its punchy, high-output turbocharged engine, we wondered whether some more power and performance would make the GLB more appealing. Well ... not exactly.
While all other Benz SUVs are sleek and elegant, the GLB looks surprisingly boxy (one friend asked if it has been designed with a ruler). Benz won't thank me for saying this, but style-wise it reminds me, strangely enough, of a Subaru Forester GT of a decade or more ago.
That was a boxy, square-looking little all-wheel-drive wagon with an insanely powerful, yet totally enjoyable, two-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Just like this one.
Our previous test in the GLB revealed the compromises in both space and design that made possible its (barely) seven-seat capacity. Those compromises are still very much on display in the GLB35, even if it looks more impressive at first glance.
We hoped the addition of some explosive acceleration and an always-ready attitude might have made the GLB feel altogether edgier.
Again, yes and no. Reaching the speed limit in just over five seconds, it's pretty impressive for a little SUV, but really a bit ho-hum when compared with any other member of the AMG range. That includes the smaller GLA45.
By comparison, the GLB felt a bit middle-of-the-road. No harm in that, but it's not what we've come to expect from Benz, and certainly not from the mad scientists in the AMG hot-rod factory.
I guess it was inevitable that, somewhere along the line, a car would defy the transition from "garden variety" Benz to the AMG recipe.
And it's clear that the compromises were built into this car long before the AMG engineers got involved.
Those puny third-row seats might sound like a great idea, but our experience was otherwise.
Mercedes claims they suit any passenger up to 1.68m tall (read young teenagers) which, they claim, makes it ready to "change the shape of the premium SUV market".
You have to admire the achievement - within the wheelbase of a compact car (2829mm) they still offer class-leading headroom and almost a metre of leg room for second-row passengers.
But in their efforts to maximise space in the passenger cell, they've made the car taller, boxier and, inside have created a rather ugly, upright dash configuration - a far cry from the beautifully sculpted interiors of most other Benz.
The GLB35 is the flagship of the three GLB models on offer Down Under - there's also a GLB200 with a 1.3-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a punchier two-litre turbo four in the GLB250 (165kW, 350Nm). The GLB35 delivers 225kW and 400Nm squeezed out of that same two-litre engine.
While the GLB250 costs $73,900 plus on roads, the GLB35 will set you back $88,535.
That's actually one of the lesser premiums you'll pay to get the AMG badge on your Benz, which, come to think of it, is possibly the biggest appeal of this model.
It's still beautifully built and amply equipped, with panoramic sunroof, Sports Direct Steer system, an off-road engineering package, and big 19-inch alloy wheels. Mercedes' now-familiar dual-screen digital instrument and infotainment display which dominates the dash, and incorporates the brand's brilliant MBUX multimedia system.
There's a track-pad controller for navigating the infotainment and navigation functions, or, for the more adventurous, via the "Hey Mercedes" voice activated command system that learns your voice and speech habits.
So be careful what you say about the little GLB when you're sitting in it.
Okay, the GLA35 is clearly superior to the less powerful, but equally clever and equally-flawed GLB250.
The extra power and tougher-looking profile make it more attractive, but I'm not sure I could justify the additional $15k investment. Unless, of course you've worked out that this is probably the best-value AMG model available.
A car to please everybody? Or a jack of all trades, master of none?
I suspect that in this case, Mercedes-Benz has outsmarted even itself.
MERCEDES-BENZ GLB 35 AMG 4Matic
* HOW BIG? Capable of accommodating seven people (as long as some of them are children), the little Benz is Tardis-ike in its interior space, but not genuinely big enough for a big family,
* HOW FAST? Benz quotes a 0-100km/h time of 5.2 seconds, which is impressively quick for a little SUV like this one, but makes it by some margin the slowest AMG model on the market.
* HOW THIRSTY? Officially it sips 8.3L/100km, about half a litre more than the GLB250, but you will see this number tumble on the open road.
* HOW MUCH? At $88,535 plus on road costs, it's substantially more expensive than the GLB250.