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concept glb is the rugged tyke of the mercedes benz compact clan

Concept GLB is the rugged tyke of the Mercedes-Benz compact clan

Only a concept in name, expect the production GLB to look pretty much the same; except the tyres and roof-mounted spotlights

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

16 Apr 2019

The stumbling block for carmakers right now with motorists never-ending lust for SUVs right now is how to create more variants and slot them in your portfolio without diluting the models and their designation. Fortunately, that’s no issue for Mercedes-Benz.

Stuttgart has just squeezed in a new SUV into the gap we never knew existed between the GLA and GLC to give us the Concept GLB; a rugged little tyke that debuted at the ongoing Auto Shanghai.

A concept only in name, it previews the production model that will follow soon. Mercedes-Benz says the Concept GLB emphasises spaciousness and robustness; easy enough to see. It’s an optional 5+2-seater and looks the part with burly, muscular lines.

The GLB rides on the same MFA-II platform that already underpins the A-Class hatchback, A-Class sedan, and CLA-Class. It measures in at 4,634mm long and 1,890mm wide; that’s just 22mm shorter than the GLC-Class but identical in width. The word “compact” is clearly applied with plenty of artistic license here.

Expect it to go up against the more SUV-like BMW X1 as the GLA-Class could never put up a fight in that department as a lifted hatchback. Even Volvo would have an eye on the rear-view mirror of its XC40.

If you see one on the road, you best move out of the way. Squint a little and you could just about dub it a baby G-Wagen, especially with those rubbers underneath. Multibeam LED headlights flank an upright grille that screams “get out of the way” in any rearview mirror.

Even down the sides, the Concept GLB has muscular, angular lines with short overhangs that add to the façade of aggression. Roof-mounted LED spotlights further amplify the “overland” look they were going for.

At the rear, the taillights share quite a resemblance with the GLC-Class; right down to the two-piece setup that is part of the tailgate. If you squint, you’ll notice the four baby exhaust tips hiding within each of the larger dual exhaust outlets.

Mercedes-Benz teased the interior in sketch form a week ago and it didn’t stray far from the teaser. The dash layout is almost identical to the compact cars in its stable. You’ll find large twin-connected displays with one half serving as a digital instrument cluster and the other half as the home of MBUX.

That chestnut brown tone though is something new and definitely an eye-catcher. Paired with walnut trim, this will be our favourite part of the production SUV if it makes the transition across.

The third-row seats aren’t suitable for long distances but Mercedes-Benz claims they can fold flat into the floor and even safely be strapped in with two child seats, bringing the total number of child seats to four with the additional two in the second row.

Engine options for now is more like the singular option. It runs on a 2.0-litre turbo four that makes 221hp and 350Nm of torque. 4Matic sends the power to all four corners via an eight-speed dual-clutch box.