Mercedes-Benz Concept Glb Debuts: Small And Rugged

When you hear that a new vehicle is called the “Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB,” you may groan as you wonder whether the world really needs yet another thin slice of the crossover pie. Of course it doesn’t. But if someone is going to keep slicing the pie anyway, the result really ought to be just like the GLB: funky, functional, and as Mercedes as it gets.

Making its debut at the 2019 Shanghai auto show, the GLB is the go-anywhere, sporty middle brother to the smaller GLA crossover and the more mature GLC. “We asked ourselves whether there is still space between the GLA and GLC in our successful SUV range. The concept GLB is the answer to this question. With it we are demonstrating the creative ideas we have for this segment, too,” says Britta Seeger, member of the board of management of Daimler AG.

Being a concept, this version of the GLB is design-forward. Its rugged embrace of its sport-utility roots gives it a handsome, ready-for-action vibe, with muscular proportions, BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires, a roof box, and LED spotlights.

Of interest to family types will be the third row, a first for Mercedes-Benz in this size class. Seating for seven is bound to be tight in such a compact vehicle, but some clever tweaks may make it more usable than you’d think. The second row has a 40/20/40 split-folding arrangement, can be slid fore and aft through a range of 5.5 inches, and features backrests that recline through eight positions of tilt.

Mercedes’ next-gen MBUX infotainment system powers the massive dual display that stretches across most of the dashboard, bringing with it the tri-pointed star’s latest in navigation, entertainment, and AI-based assistance. Under the hood, the Mercedes Concept GLB sports an M260 four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine rated at 224 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, paired to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. And as you’d expect of any luxurious Mercedes crossover, the GLB will offer 4Matic all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution and three different configurations: one for economical, everyday driving (with an 80/20 front/rear power distribution); one for slightly sportier behavior (70/30 split); and one for off-road use, engaging the all-wheel-drive clutch as a central locking differential, with a 50/50 torque split.