New Merc baby SUV is being prepped for a reveal this summer, but we'll get to see it in a more concept car form at the Shanghai Motor Show
Mercedes has teased what will be the next member of its growing SUV line-up – the GLB – ahead of revealing a close-to-production concept car at the Shanghai Motor Show two weeks from now.
The image, promoted on Merc’s social media channels, previews the concept car’s cabin in sketch form. We can make out plenty of elements seen on current Mercedes models, such as the switchgear on the doors and the latest MBUX infotainment system.
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However, the teaser hints that the GLB concept will carry some more rugged trappings compared to the likes of the new A-Class and B-Class, on which it will be based. These will inject the GLB with a little bit more in the way of some SUV DNA. Following the GLB concept’s debut in Shanghai, the final production car should emerge this summer ahead of a full introduction at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
New Mercedes GLB leads brand’s biggest ever new-model push
Mercedes is in line for a bumper 2019 and will reveal a host of new models this year, plus its first all-electric cars under the new EQ nameplate.
Continuing the most rapid product offensive in the company’s history, a total of 15 all-new, new-generation or facelifted Mercedes products will emerge before the end of 2021. They will range from commercial vehicles and new SUVs to electric models and a flagship hybrid-powered hypercar.
Ultimately, the biggest news coming in 2019 will be the unveiling of a brand new member of the brand’s SUV family. Likely to be badged GLB, it’ll be revealed in the summer and will add a new dose of practicality at the smallest end of the company’s SUV line-up, as a more spacious alternative to the GLA.
Spy shots show that the final version of the car originally touted as a ‘baby G-Wagen’ may be a bit more contemporary in design. There’s no hiding the GLB’s traditional SUV two-box shape, but it probably won’t wear any of the G-Wagen’s nostalgic styling touches. Instead, the marque’s latest SUV design language, as used on the new GLE, will be repackaged into a small and boxy shape.
We anticipate the GLB will play a role similar to the B-Class, itself a more practical and spacious alternative to the A-Class hatchback, and will be a genuine rival for the BMW X1. It could prove to be an incredibly important car for Mercedes, given that the X1 is comfortably BMW’s best-selling SUV. Our exclusive images preview the look of the new model.
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The GLB will use the MFA2 platform that underpins the latest A-Class hatchback, and as such, will be finished inside with a similar cabin and dashboard layout, focused around Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment interface. It will be offered with the same selection of petrol and diesel engines as the A-Class, too, and an AMG-engineered GLB 35 with around 300bhp on tap is also in the pipeline. After making its debut in the summer, the newcomer will go on sale in the UK towards the end of 2019 and be priced from around £28,000.
Smaller cars will make up an increasing amount of the brand’s business in the years ahead – a trend already established with Merc’s beginning of 2019 reveals.
Even though the brand now offers its Volkswagen Golf-rivalling A-Class in a saloon body style, Mercedes still sees a market for the swoopier CLA, hence the introduction of a new one in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Importantly it allows Mercedes to attach an estate to the A-Class range. The CLA Shooting Brake revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last month is that car. A facelifted GLC and GLC Coupe have also already been revealed so far in 2019.
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The updated GLCs kick off a period that will be dominated by new SUVs. A debut of the third-generation GLS is being lined up for the spring, possibly at April’s New York Motor Show.
The heavyweight seven-seater will go on sale in the summer, and only a few months after the market launch of the new BMW X7 – its chief rival. We expect the design to follow the new rules established by the GLE, but be adapted for the GLS’s more imposing figure. It’ll gain the latest semi-autonomous driving tech featured on the S-Class, and stick with six and eight-cylinder powertrains.
In the AMG version, the 5.5-litre engine will be ditched in favour of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo. A plug-in hybrid using the powertrain from the S 560 e limo could appear as well.
The platform on which the next GLS is being developed will also underpin a new ultra-luxurious SUV for the Maybach brand. At this year’s Beijing Motor Show, the firm signalled its intentions to do so with the Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept.
The final model will be a conventional, large SUV in shape, rather than the limo on stilts design seen at Beijing. It could be revealed towards the end of 2019, with November’s LA event or the Guangzhou show in China in December as potential stages.
One more new Mercedes SUV is due in 2019: the new GLE will gain a GLE Coupe sibling, to provide competition for a new BMW X6 that’s also coming next year. The Mercedes is likely to arrive in the autumn.
Moving into the next decade, the focus will shift away from SUVs, but not before the next-generation GLA is revealed. Again, it’ll be a jacked-up variant of the A-Class, riding taller and with a only a few minor design differences between it and its conventional hatchback counterpart. The interior will be lifted wholesale from the A-Class, as will the engine line-up, but with more 4MATIC all-wheel-drive options offered.
Following the onslaught of new SUVs we’ll see in the next 12 months, 2020 looks set to be much more varied. A new S-Class is due, and Mercedes will also introduce a second all-electric model to its EQ sub-brand in the form of the EQA, a small, all-electric hatch set to take the premium fight to the Volkswagen I.D.
The Formula One-engined, 986bhp AMG ONE hypercar will hit the road for the first time, too, while 2021 should see the introduction of an all-new C-Class, which was spied recently for the very first time.
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Which new Mercedes are you looking forwad to seeing? Let us know in the comments section below…