Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new concept crossover-SUV, the Concept GLB, at Auto Shanghai as a follow-up to the Concept GLA unveiled in 2013. The GLB is a compact crossover aimed towards being more daily-use versatile, with additional interior space and better off-road credibility.
The GLB would fit between the smaller GLA- and the larger GLC-Class. Shortly after its introduction, the Concept GLA went into production as the GLA-Class in the 2015 model year. The GLB concept being shown in Shanghai appears to be as production-ready as the Concept GLA was when unveiled.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB is more robust-appearing with muscular proportions. Its wheelbase appears short compared to the crossover's track width, accented by thick fender flares and squared-off elements on the fascia. Large off-road-ready tires, an aggressive approach angle, and a roof-mounted gear rack and lighting finish the more ready-for-action appearance of the GLB.
Mercedes is calling the Concept GLB "ready for expeditions" with its black-on-white coloration and heavy roof rack. Inside, the GLB has seating for up to seven, although in tight quarters. A third row is unusual in a compact-sized SUV like the GLB, but all three rows can slide fore and aft for added legroom. The second and third rows fold down flat for more cargo space.
On the concept, there is leather upholstery throughout, featuring nappa and nubuk leather tanned to chestnut brown. Wood trim elements in open-pore walnut are also added into a honeycomb pattern on the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB's dashboard and console.
The Concept GLB would be powered by a 224-horsepower (167 kW) four-cylinder engine, Mercedes' M260 unit. This couples to an eight-speed dual clutch transmission. The engine is designed to maximize power output while lowering fuel consumption through several Mercedes innovations such as conical-shaped cylinders, low-friction oil, optimized piston rings, cooling ducts in the pistons, and other friction-reducing engineering.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB showin in Shanghai is all-wheel drive ("4Matic") by default using the standard Dynamic Select 4Matic system that is found in several Mercedes vehicles. Torque distribution between axles can be as much as 50:50, defaulting to an 80:20 (front:rear) for fuel economy and 70:30 for sportier driving.
If the Concept GLB follows the GLA's progression, the unveil in Shanghai will be closely followed by a pre-production unveil and then production. So we could see the GLB in showrooms as soon as the 2021 model year.
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