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Mercedes-Benz GLB revealed

From:Greg Kable 2019-06-11 10:25:19

Versatile SUV joins German car maker’s compact car line-up

Mercedes-Benz’s heavily trumpeted eighth compact model, the GLB SUV, has been revealed ahead of a planned start to Chinese sales for the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 rival later early next year.

Offering the choice between a standard five-seat and optional seven-seat interior layout, the GLB has been conceived to deliver class-leading versatility in a move Mercedes-Benz expects will see it appeal more to family car buyers than the smaller GLA – itself set to be replaced by an all-new second-generation model planned for launch in 2020.

The production version of the new SUV, codenamed X247, retains the upright and largely unadorned lines of the earlier Concept GLB revealed at the Shanghai motor show back in April, albeit without some of the more rugged and off-road inspired exterior styling elements of the one-off show car.  

The GLB is the largest of Mercedes-Benz’s so-called compact car models. Based on the German car maker’s MFA II platform featuring a McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension with optional adaptive damping, it measures 4634mm in length, 1834mm in width and 1658mm in height, making it 21mm longer, 56mm narrower and 20mm taller than the recently facelifted GLC SUV.

Inside, the GLB receives a uniquely styled dashboard featuring Mercedes-Benz’s so-called widescreen cockpit consisting of a single digital panel housing the instruments and infotainment functions. It is controlled by the German car maker’s latest touch screen MBUX user interface, which can be optioned with both speech and gesture control.

Mercedes-Benz claims best in class front seat headroom and, with a wheelbase that is 100mm longer than that of the third-generation B-class at 2829mm, a generous amount of nominal legroom for the second row of seats.

To maximize versatility, the second seat row offers 140mm of longitudinal adjustment as well as multiple back rest inclination adjustment. When optioned with a third-row of seats, the GLB also receives a so-called easy entry function as well as two individual seats that can be folded away into the boot floor when not in use.

Luggage capacity is put at 560-litres in five-seat guise, providing the GLB with a considerable 140-litres more than the Audi Q3 and 55-litres more than the BMW X1. Up to 1755-litres is available when the standard 40:20:40 configured second seat row is folded away.

Details to the Chinese market GLB line-up is yet to be revealed. In Europe, it consists of four models, with all but the top of the line four-wheel drive diesel offered with front-wheel drive as standard.

Buyers will be able to choose between two four-cylinder petrol engines and a single four-cylinder diesel in two different states of tune from the outset of sales.

The petrol models include the GLB200, which runs a turbocharged 1.3-litre unit delivering 120kW and 250Nm of torque and the GLB250, whose turbocharged 2.0-litre engine develops 165kW and 350Nm.

The two diesel models run the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. It delivers 110kW and 320Nm in the GLB200d and a gutsier 140kW and 400Nm in the GLB220d 4Matic.

The four-wheel drive GLB220d 4Matic can be ordered with an optional Off-Road Engineering Package, which adds Multibeam LED headlamps among other extas.

A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox is standard in the GLB200, while the GLB250, GLB200d and GLB220d 4Matic all receive a more advanced eight-speed gearbox.

Additional GLB models, including the powered up GLB35 4Matic and GLB45 4Matic from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance car division, will see sale in various markets in 2020.

Also under development is a four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid variant of the GLB featuring an electrified rear axle and a pure electric range that Mercedes-Benz sources put at “well over 50km”.

The new SUV also forms the basis of a pure electric EQ B model that is planned for sale in 2021.

The GLB will be produced at two Mercedes-Benz plants in Beijing, China, and Aguascaliente, Mexico.

Editor:Greg Kable