Testing is progressing towards production-ready models.
New spy photos of the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class are out, and there are some noteworthy changes since the last time we saw the boxy SUV in action. Gone are the strange bullet-style tail lights that were obviously placeholder units. Now, we have what looks like the production-spec lights at the back, and there are new lenses up front as well. It’s hard to tell if some of the chunky hood-camo has disappeared as well, or if that’s just a by-production of the production-style headlamps filling up more space.
That’s not to say the GLB-Class is all slim and curvy under the obvious hood cover. Yes, some of this SUV’s boxy shape is misleading thanks to that bit of crafty camo, but the new headlights do help us see the GLB’s actual body lines in the front. With sharper vertical lines and a broader, taller shape, there’s certainly an ode to the G-Class at play with this all-new model.
Despite the big appearance and seven-passenger seating, the GLB-Class will share its MFA2 platform with the A-Class and B-Class. As such, it should slot into the compact SUV segment where it could be quite a contender with its seating-for-seven capability. That model would almost certainly have a stretched wheelbase, and at this time it’s unclear if that version will make it to U.S. shores. We’ve heard that the standard five-passenger GLB should be on-sale in the States in the latter half of 2019.
We’ve also heard there could be some high-performance AMG variants in the works. Thus far we’ve credited the new crossover with having similar engine layouts found in the current A-Class. While those power options are adequate if underwhelming, rumors of range-topping GLB-Class models with 400-plus horsepower would be exciting to say the least.
Seeing production lights on the current prototypes certainly means testing is well underway, but we still don’t expect a proper introduction to the GLB-Class anytime soon. A debut at the very end of this year is a remote possibility, but a formal introduction in 2019 seems more likely.