Scheduled to go into production later this year, with five or seven seats, the GLB features a boxy off-road design and variable four-wheel drive that Mercedes hopes will combine to give the car some Land Rover Defender-style cachet as one of its more distinctive models. The GLB will serve as a rugged rival to the Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
As well as being offered with petrol and diesel engines, by 2021 the GLB will be available as an electric variant, dubbed the EQB.
The new SUV is described by Mercedes as offering class-leading levels of versatility, and will be positioned between the upcoming second-generation GLA and the recently facelifted GLC. The GLB follows the A-Class hatchback and saloon, China-only long-wheelbase A-Class Saloon, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA as the eighth model to be based on the firm’s MFA architecture.
“We asked ourselves whether there is space between the GLA and GLC,” said Britta Seeger, Mercedes-Benz board member responsible for sales. “The GLB is the answer to this question: a durable and practical SUV with nonetheless compact dimensions.”
The Shanghai concept is said to provide a close preview of the production version of the GLB, although a number of styling elements have been added to the exterior in a bid to provide it with a more rugged and upmarket appearance than that of its forthcoming showroom sibling. Among the concept car flourishes are widened wheel-arch cladding, reworked sills, additional lights incorporated into its glass roof and a cargo box nestled within its roof bars.