► Baby Mercedes GLB scooped
► Spy photos from winter test
► Due in 2019, chunkier GLA sibling
Talk about convenient timing: no sooner has Mercedes shown the new G-class, than we've scooped its little brother. Codenamed X247, the new Mercedes GLB is due to enter production in September 2019 and is in essence a compact GLA dressed up like a baby G-Wagen. Yes, they're preparing a baby G-wagen to bring the chunky SUV look to the masses.
The GLB badge is the likely name earmarked for this junior 4x4, which is openly referred to in the corridors of power in Stuttgart as a smaller G-wagen. Our new spy photos confirm the brick-like silhouette we predicted back in 2014 when we first scooped the car - necessary to squeeze in three rows of seats.
It's a tougher, rougher SUV compared with the GLA’s smooth, school-run focus. Just compare it with the regular G-wagen and the Ener-G Force concept car (below) - the latter was an outlandish look at a smaller, hardcore SUV presented at the 2012 Los Angeles motor show.
As our new scoop pictures attest, this concept car won't translate directly to the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLB - but some of its spirit may just survive in the production car, Daimler insiders hope.
New 2019 Mercedes GLB: what to expect
The GLB had in an earlier development phase been planned with two different bodystyles, but when Mercedes and Infiniti added up their volume projections, only the long-wheelbase seven-seater made the grade. The character of the car has remained the same from day one: this is a charming mix of G-class visuals, B-class proportions and GLA-class dynamics.
You will be able to order X247 with an on-road body kit and with front-wheel drive, or you can specify the full all-terrain treatment complete with 4Matic 4x4 (caught below being tested on icy winter test in Sweden).
The extended wheelbase makes provision for wider rear doors which in turn facilitate access to the third row of seats. Those who don’t want to use their GLB as minibus can fold seats number six and seven flat and individually push back seats number three, four and five for maximum legroom and XXL luggage space.
See more Mercedes spyshots here
Based on MFA2: the next-gen small-car platform
The GLB is built upon the Daimler empire’s next-generation MFA2 architecture, the small-car platform which underpins the A- and B-class families, and associated Infinitis such as the Q30, too. It will be built in Mexico, according to CAR's sources.
What’s new? It’s said to be lighter, stiffer, more flexible and cheaper to produce than today’s. And with those swollen outputs thanks to the Renault-Nissan alliance, capacity is set to increase to 400,000 units - meaning they can afford two different rear suspensions.
Engines in the new mini G-wagen
Renault is to supply the three-cylinder engines reserved for the entry-level models in the MFA2 family, while M-B will oversee the four-cylinder units.
Fresh additions to the line-up are a 136bhp 1.6-litre diesel in high-volume mainstream versions, plus a low-end torque 204bhp 2.0-litre diesel, a more potent turbo version for the GLB35 generating some 340bhp, and a 408bhp twin-turbo high-end unit reserved for the GLB45 AMG. Seven-speed twin-clutch and a nine-speed auto will be offered.
In addition to the mandatory mild hybrid, we expect two PHEV plug-in hybrid Mercedes GLB options rated at 50kW (eFWD) and 70kW (eRWD) respectively.
Our guesstimate for the baby G-wagen predicts a starting point of £29,000 - some £3000 more than the five-seater GLA.
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