The iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Class could get a smaller sibling before the end of the decade, according to a recent report.
Tentatively named GLB, the crossover will slot between the GLA and the GLC in Mercedes’ ever-growing lineup of soft- and off-roaders. Visually, it will wear a brawny design that will borrow styling cues from both the aforementioned G-Class and the Ener-G-Force concept (pictured) that debuted during the 2012 edition of the Los Angeles Auto Show. The final design hasn’t been locked in yet, but the mini G is shaping up to be one of the most rugged-looking models in its class.
While the G uses body-on-frame construction, the GLB will feature unibody construction. British magazine Auto Express believes it will share the modular MFA2 platform with the next A, B, GLA, and CLA models. The upcoming MFA2 platform will be highly flexible, so Mercedes will be able to offer a standard-wheelbase model with room for five, and a long-wheelbase variant with seating for up to seven passengers.
Power for the GLB will come exclusively from turbocharged four-cylinder engines. In the United States, that means the soft-roader’s volume engine will be a gasoline-burning 2.0-liter available in several states of tunes. Buyers in Europe will have access to a turbodiesel, but there’s little indication that Mercedes is interested in selling the oil-burner on our shores. Front-wheel drive will come standard, and 4Matic all-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost.
Read more: How Mercedes-Benz is building a sportier SL
The GLB won’t be as capable as the vaunted G off the beaten path, but it will be available with an off-road package to suit buyers looking for a little more off-road prowess. At the other end of the spectrum, AMG will build a hot-rodded GLB powered by a 2.0-liter turbo four tuned to provide approximately 400 horsepower.
Auto Express claims the Mercedes-Benz GLB will go on sale in 2019, likely as a 2020 model. If the report is accurate, the baby G-Wagen will make its public debut in 2018.