At yesterday’s opening of the Auto Shanghai motor show, Mercedes-Benz has announced that it is introducing a new nameplate to its growing compact car family, the GLB-Class. The car seen here is technically still a concept, albeit one that’s very close to series production stage.
Sitting between the GLC-Class and GLA-Class, the GLB-Class is a significantly larger, more SUV-like rival to the BMW X1 than the GLA-Class, which was more of a taller riding A-Class hatchback than a genuine contender to the BMW X1.
Measuring 4,634 mm long and 1,890 mm wide, the GLB-Class is right at the limit of what anyone would call a ‘compact car.’ It’s only a tiny bit smaller than the GLC-Class, just 22 mm shorter with identical in width.
Compared to the outgoing generation (MFA platform) GLA-Class, the GLB-Class’ 2,829 mm long wheelbase is 130 mm longer. The additional 130 mm length between the axles allow Mercedes-Benz to cram seven seats (optional) inside the GLB-Class, something which BMW doesn’t offer with the X1, whose 2,670 mm wheelbase is 159 mm shorter.
As you would have guessed, the GLB-Class is built on the same MFA-II platform that already underpins the A-Class hatchback, A-Class Sedan, and CLA-Class Coupe.
It also means that Mercedes-Benz now have three different wheelbase lengths for the MFA-II platform – 2,829 mm for the GLB-Class, 2,789 mm for the China-only A-Class Sedan long wheelbase, and 2,729 mm for the A-Class sedan and hatchback, B-Class, and CLA-Class.
The third row seats are only suitable for short distance trips or for children, and folds flat into the boot floor.
The second row seats can slide 150 mm front and back (90 mm front, 50 mm back) and the backrests, which split-folds in 40:20:40 ratio, can be adjusted to incline in eight different angles. To facilitate access to the third row, the second row seats can be folded forward and pushed upwards.
Like any recent Mercedes-Benz, the GLB-Class uses comes with MBUX infotainment system.
Currently, only one engine has been announced – a 2.0-litre M260 turbocharged petrol shared with the A250. It makes 224 hp and 350 Nm but unlike the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic A250, the GLB-Class will use the 8G-DCT from diesel-powered variants of the B-Class. It will also feature 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive.
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