Mercedes-Benz Previews Compact Seven-Seater Concept GLB

Mercedes-Benz today revealed the Concept GLB, its idea for a compact seven-seater that would slot in between the existing GLA and GLC models.

Set for a full reveal later this week at the Shanghai auto show, the Concept GLB is based on the GLA-Class platform but boasts stretches in wheelbase and overall length. Along with a boxier shape, the GLB's larger size gave Benz the space to fit the compact model with a third row of seats.

The photos Mercedes supplied show the Concept GLB looking ready for off-road adventure, with knobby all-terrain tires, generous ground clearance and a roof rack fitted with LED lighting.

However, should the GLB make it to production -- and we would be surprised if it didn't -- we expect Mercedes' marketing would place more emphasis on a pair of third-row seats that promise "comfortable seating for two medium-sized occupants."

Other nods to the Concept GLB's people-mover aspirations include a second-row seat that slides fore and aft to better accommodate passengers in the third row. The 40/20/40 split second-row seats recline and fold/slide forward to ease third-row access.

The Concept GLB's interior is done up in chestnut brown leather and open pore walnut wood, elements that will certainly be options if they're included in a future production model at all. The concept's dash is based on that of the A-Class compact car, and includes the MBUX infotainment system.

Bolstering the Concept GLB's production-model possibility is its use of Benz's 2.0 L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes the same 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque as the A 250 hatchback. It's matched with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and the 4Matic all-wheel drive system, whose front-to-rear torque distribution changes according to which drive mode (comfort, sport, off-road) the driver chooses.

Benz expands utility 4/15/2019 3:01:22 PM