Just when you thought there were no new market sectors for Mercedes-Benz to conquer, along comes the GLB, a compact SUV with seating for up to seven. Although it’s still officially a concept, pre-production vehicles are undergoing their final tests in preparation for launch later in 2019.
But don’t run away with the idea this is going to be a niche product – the GLB will be coming up against big-selling rivals like Audi’s Q3, the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. It looks like it could be worth waiting for.
This exciting new model will be available to view or test-drive at the Jardine Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Lakeside (Thurrock), and Southend.
Contact your nearest showrooms for further information.
Although the concept car looks rugged, chunky and ready to conquer Australia’s Outback, we can probably discount the permanent roof box and roof mounted spotlights as motor show window dressing. Even so, there’s more than a hint of the flagship G-Class in its styling. While the smaller GLA clearly shows its A-Class origins, the GLB looks more upright and is significantly roomier. With a 100mm-longer wheelbase than the A-Class, the GLB offers room for five with occasional seating for up to seven – rather like the Discovery Sport’s ‘5+2’ seating.
Those two seats possibly will only be suitable for kids but they’ll add welcome versatility to the GLB’s appeal. Headroom looks generous, and unlike some SUVs that give rear-seat passengers a claustrophobically shallow side window to peer out of, the rear side windows look generously proportioned.
Full specification details have yet to be released but pre-production models have already been driven by motoring media in Sweden’s Arctic Circle and the most powerful of these, the GLB250 4Matic, featured a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that makes 221bhp and 248lb ft. If, as many expect, the GLB shares engines with the A-Class then we can also expect a GLB 200 powered by a 1.4-litre petrol turbo as well as a diesel model such as a GLB 180D.
Although not intended as a hardcore off-roader, the GLB’s entry and departure angles look to be handy for uneven terrain and the all-wheel drive 4MATIC transmission will be standard. Watch this space for further details as they’re available.
Again, nothing confirmed for now, but the concept features the class leading MBUX system and so will the production cars. Top spec models will feature twin 10.25-inch touchscreens and you can control the infotainment either via the screens, a touchpad, steering wheel controls or simply by saying ‘Hey Mercedes’ followed by a command.
MBUX can easily be programmed to user preferences, but it also uses artificial intelligence to adapt to your needs – so if for instance it ‘learns’ your usual commute it can suggest an alternative route if it sees a traffic jam ahead – even if you haven’t programmed in a destination. Spooky, but quite useful.
Other related models on the same basic platform have achieved five stars in the EuroNCAP safety rating system so there’s no reason to doubt that the GLB will do likewise. Safety technologies common to both A-Class and B-Class include Active Brake Assist (which can mitigate the effects of a rear-end collision or even prevent it completely) and Attention Assist, which warns the driver if they are showing signs of fatigue.
The Driving Assistance package, which will probably be an option, can identify dangerous situations, provide warnings and even initiate emergency braking thanks to sensitive radar sensors, a special 3D camera and the high-resolution cockpit display.
The GLB will appeal to all those SUV customers who need more seating and load capacity than the GLA can provide, but who don’t need or want to venture up to GLC territory. The GLB looks the part, can accommodate up to seven and five in comfort for long journeys without being too big to park or too thirsty at the fuel pumps. We predict a warm welcome for this latest arrival in the Mercedes-Benz SUV range, so get in touch with our sales teams to be one of the first to try it out.
|Vehicle Length||4,656 mm / 183.3 in|
|Vehicle Width||2,096 mm / 82.5 in|
|Vehicle Height||(unladen) 1,639 mm / 64.5 in|
|Wheelbase||2,873 mm / 1113.3 in|
|Unladen Weight (DIN)||1,845 kg / 4,067 lb|
|Combined Cycle||56.5 mpg|
|Urban Cycle||51.4 mpg|
|Engine / Cylinders||2.2 litre diesel / 6|
|Max Torque||500 Nm @ 1,600 -1,800 rpm|
|Max Power||204HP @ 3,800 rpm|
|Top Speed||138 mph|
|Acceleration||0-60 mph / 7.6 seconds|