The Tough-Truck Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB Treks to the Shanghai Auto Show
The demand for off-road-capable crossovers is one that Mercedes-Benz will happily meet.
Mercedes-Benz is looking to enhance its crossover portfolio with the debut of the Concept GLB. Showing at the Shanghai Auto Show, the little truck previews Daimler's plans for an off-road-capable, seven-seat, compact CUV to slot neatly between the GLA and GLC models. And of the three, it's the GLB that looks most able to hang with the namesake G-Wagen.
The Concept GLB's exterior borrows the 2020 GLC's facelifted design—which debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show—with some key modifications to suit expeditionary endeavors. Large, BFGoodrich All-Terrain TKO tires are outfitted underneath the enlarged fender flares. A set of underbody guards with integrated air inlets to “emphasize the off-road qualities" add further off-road protection. There's a shrouded roof rack with an integrated LED lighting package that doubles as an “orientation aid" for off-road driving, according to the press release. Mercedes-Benz finished it off with a weather-sealed roof-box.
Inside is typical Mercedes-Benz quality as the Concept GLB sees three rows of plush seating, though the third row is only suitable for small children. The interior is well-appointed in “Open-Pore Walnut” finishes and a warm, brown leather treatment, plus small orange accents on the trim to provide a pop of color. The switchgear is done in brushed aluminum, and the third and second row both fold flat for added utility.
Under the Concept GLB’s hood is a turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 224 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It's linked to Mercedes-Benz’s 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. The Concept GLB further receives three drive settings, including Eco/Comfort, Sport, and Off-Road, the latter of which “acts as an inter-axle differential lock” and holds the front-to-back power distribution at 50-50.
Though the Concept GLB’s future is undecided, the market’s demand for crossovers of all shapes, sizes, and capabilities likely heralds this particular Benz's production—though maybe not with those tires.