Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

6 days ago
Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

Compact SUVs that look just as tough as their bigger siblings are big business, and the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB taps into that aesthetic nicely. Making its debut at Auto Shanghai 2019, the new concept SUV isn’t the largest out there – indeed, it’s actually shorter than a C-Class sedan – but it still manages to seat seven and look the part.

It’s based on Mercedes’ compact car platform, and intended to sit alongside the Mercedes-Benz GLA. Whereas the GLA is a sports crossover, though, the Concept GLB reimagines the architecture for lifestyle purposes, borrowing design cues from the automaker’s bigger trucks.

Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

That means upright surfaces, a long wheelbase, short overhangs, and muscular shoulder lines. There’s plenty of protective cladding, too, even if GLB owners may not make the most of it in off-road conditions. White mango paint gets high-gloss black contrast parts, like the roof box, while the orange-highlighted grille is flanked by Multibeam LED headlamps.

Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

For the show car, there’s even more of an emphasis on go-anywhere styling. LED spotlights on the roof, for example, are joined by an integrated roof box. 17-inch two-tone wheels have off-road rubber.

Inside, though, the compact car origins are clear. Unlike the GLA there’s room for a third row of seats, allowing the Concept GLB to seat up to seven. Given how popular three-row SUVs are at the moment, that wouldn’t be a bad idea for an addition to Mercedes’ line-up. The automaker claims they’ll even accommodate adults.

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Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

The second row has a 40/20/40 split, and folds down to a level load surface. It also slides forward and back, and has an eight-stage backrest recline mechanism. An Easy-Entry function pulls the backrest forward and slides the whole seat, for access to the third row. Up to four child seats can be safely fitted.

Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

New leather and trim have been used, with chestnut brown being the key color. Orange highlights – like the sublayer fabric visible through the perforations in the seat leather – echo the exterior trim. Open-pore walnut is on the dashboard, with a chiseled honeycomb pattern.

The new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, is installed, and the dashboard in general is reminiscent of the B-Class. However Mercedes has added more rugged controls, like milled aluminum for the HVAC system, and there are matching grab handles.

Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy

Mercedes’ four-cylinder gas engine gets 224 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and is paired with an 8-speed DCT gearbox. There’s permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive, with three drive modes that each adjust the distribution of power. In Eco/Comfort mode there’s an 80:20 split, while Sport changes that to 70:30. In off-road mode, the SUV’s all-wheel drive clutch acts as an inter-axle differential lock, for a 50:50 split.

Mercedes’ Concept GLB is a chunky urban SUV that would sell like crazy
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In all, though Mercedes may be calling the car a concept, it’s notable just how close to a production vehicle the Concept GLB looks. The automaker isn’t talking about production plans at this stage, but does draw attention to the fact that the road-going GLA first started as a Concept GLA back at the Shanghai auto show in 2013. Given the current appetite for SUVs and crossovers, history could do worse than repeat itself.


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