Unlike the rest of the compact range of Benzes, the GLB will derive its styling cues largely from the new G-Class and draw inspiration from the 2015 Ener-G-Force Los Angeles motor show concept from 2015.
Less road-focused than any other compact Mercedes SUV, the GLB will still share the next A-Class’s MFA2 architecture to make it scalable, and is also likely to score a high-performance GLB45 AMG variant. It’s also likely to swallow the mild-hybrid powertrain from the upcoming A300 hatch.
About 180mm longer than the current GLA, the GLB has been developed under the X247 code name and will give Mercedes a chance at an even more profitable model mix via a range of off road-style body kits, wheel and tyre and ride height packages. There is also a long-wheelbase version under development (likely to be the version in our spy shots), which will add about 200mm to the GLB’s overall length and a third row of seats to deliver a seven-seat capacity.
The X247 project essentially follows the same strategy Volkswagen used for the Tiguan by using a standard model for Europe and a long-wheelbase model, such as the Tiguan Allspace, to target China and the US.
It’s one of the three new badges for Mercedes-Benz’s five existing compact cars, with the others being a relatively conservative A-Class sedan based on 2017’s Shanghai motor show concept car and a two-door coupe to give the C-Class coupe a baby brother too. Mercedes SA says it cannot make any comments on the GLB but we expect the production version to debut towards the end of 2018.