Mercedes-Benz is out evaluating a test mule for what’s believed to be a new compact crossover SUV to be called the GLB.
Mercedes already competes in this space with the GLA but the new GLB will be a larger, more rugged offering with styling influenced by the iconic G-Class.
The Ener-G-Force concept unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show hints at what’s to come.
The new mechanicals are hidden beneath the makeshift body of a GLA but we can clearly see the wider track. The wheelbase has also been stretched, as evidenced by the additional panel at the leading edge of the rear wheel arch.
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force off-road conceptEnlarge Photo
The new mechanicals are a next-generation version of the current MFA (Modular Front-drive Architecture) platform for front-wheel-drive-based compact cars. Referred to as MFA2, the new platform will bring weight savings plus greater capacity for alternative drivetrains and should debut in 2018 in the next-generation A-Class.
Infiniti will also use the MFA2 platform for its next-generation compacts, and both Infiniti and Mercedes will produce MFA2-based cars at a plant in Mexico. The cars will also be produced at plants in Europe and China.
Models like the GLB as well as the next-generation B-Class will use the largest version of the platform. This will allow designers to squeeze in three rows of seats.
Look for a debut of the GLB in 2018. The vehicle likely won’t be on sale in the United States until the following year, as a 2020 model.