Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new GLB-Class compact crossover SUV in June, but the versions we're more interested in, those from Mercedes-AMG, are still being developed.
Yes, “versions” isn't a typo as AMG is working on two performance levels for the latest generation of Mercedes compact cars. There will be direct replacements for the current crop of 45-series cars, plus a new crop of slightly tamer 35-series cars, the first of which was the A35 hatchback unveiled at the 2018 Paris International Motor Show.
We won't see the A35 hatch in local showrooms but A35 and CLA35 sedans have since been revealed and are headed our way, along with the more potent 45-series versions of those cars. Also coming our way will be GLB35 and GLB45 SUVs, the latter of which has just been spotted in prototype form.
AMG in June revealed the new engine that will power its future 45-series cars. The engine is a newly developed 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 tuned to deliver outputs of 382 and 416 horsepower. The outputs correspond to a standard 45 model and spicier 45 S model, respectively.
AMG M 139 Engine
The 416-hp output will make cars like the GLB45 S the most powerful in the compact class. Previously, the title went to Audi with its RS 3, which is rated at 400 hp.
Beyond the more potent powerplant, the 45-series cars are expected to benefit from an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, rear-biased all-wheel drive, and drift mode. One of the performance targets is a 0-60 mph time of under 4.0 seconds. Top speed will likely be capped at 155 mph.
Inside, unique AMG touches should include the Affalterbach's tuners own screens in the digital instrument cluster, as well as the Track Pace performance data logger. The latter can record and measure more than 80 data points, including speed, acceleration, G-forces, and more. It also records lap and sector times, which are displayed in the infotainment system.
The standard GLB reaches dealerships later this year as a 2020 model. It is expected to also be joined this year by the GLB35 and GLB45.