Tech meets old-school craftsmanship in the Mercedes-Benz GLB concept

For years, we’ve heard rumors about a G-Class-inspired Mercedes-Benz crossover positioned between the GLA and the GLC. It finally materialized at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, where the German firm introduced a close-to-production concept named GLB. It’s merely a design study for the time being, but it will spawn a production model in the not-too-distant future.

The GLB looks like a more rugged offshoot of the popular GLC. It’s an inch shorter than the GLC, almost exactly the same width, but nearly 11 inches taller. It wears a boxier design characterized by a more upright front end with rectangular headlights and an angular grille. Its roof line has less of a slope than the GLC’s, a styling cue which clears up a generous amount of interior space while creating a visual link to the second-generation G-Class.

The taller greenhouse let designers carve out room for seven seats, and Mercedes promised two medium-sized occupants can comfortably fit in the third row. It hasn’t given us its definition of “medium-sized,” so your mileage may vary. Up front, the dashboard is dominated by a wide, high-resolution screen that replaces the instrument cluster and the infotainment system’s display. The left side of it shows the driver key information about the car and its surroundings, like the speed and navigation directions. The right side of it displays the cutting-edge MBUX infotainment system that’s gradually spreading across the Mercedes portfolio.

Open-pore walnut trim, gorgeous nubuck leather upholstery, and aluminum accents add an upscale touch to the overall design. The natural materials combine with the digital features to strike a pleasant balance between old-school craftsmanship and technology.

The biggest technical difference between the GLC and the GLB is found by peeling off the sheet metal. While the GLC is closely related to the C-Class, the GLB is built on the same modular platform as the GLA, the A-Class Sedan, and the CLA, among other compact models in the Mercedes family. Power comes from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine tuned to send 224 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque to the four wheels through an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system.

The Mercedes-Benz GLB is not just a concept; behind the scenes, it’s already well on its way to becoming a production model. We expect to see it in the metal before the end of 2019, and it will arrive in showrooms in time for the 2020 model year. When it lands, it will start in the vicinity of $35,000. It will compete in an increasingly crowded field of soft-roaders that also includes the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, and the Lexus NX.

Updated April 15, 2019: Added full information about the GLB.

Cars

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.
Cars

The 2020 Subaru Outback wants to take you to (and teach you about) the outdoors

The Outback is one of Subaru's most significant models, so the Japanese firm couldn't afford to make a mistake when it overhauled the model. The sixth-generation Outback is still rugged but more user-friendly than ever before.
Cars

Technology trickles down from above to make the new 2019 Audi Q3 smarter

The redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The firm's smallest SUV receives tech features like a virtual cockpit and a single screen variant of MMI Touch Response from bigger models.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show will have it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe will travel to the 2019 edition to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 proves the General Motors luxury brand still cares about sedans. Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it features Cadillac's Super Cruise tech and a lineup of turbocharged engines.
Cars

2020 Lincoln Corsair crossover is small in size, but big on luxury

The 2020 Lincoln Corsair made its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. It replaces the MKC as the smallest crossover in Lincoln's lineup and shares underpinnings with the 2020 Ford Escape.
Cars

Genesis’ all-electric Mint concept proves small cars can still be stylish

Unveiled ahead of the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Genesis Mint concept is a future electric city car with scissor doors in place of a traditional hatchback. Genesis likely won't put it into production, however.
Cars

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.
Cars

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes in a bold new design direction, with LED streaks on its hood and sleeker bodywork all around. It starkly contrasts with the current Sonata's conservative design.
Cars

With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.
Cars

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous, electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.
Cars

Ford Mustang EcoBoost upgrade pulls serious performance from just four cylinders

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost gets a new "High Performance Package" that boosts output from the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to 330 horsepower, and adds suspension and brake upgrades.