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Mercedes-Benz GLB Shanghai Concept Not Clownin' Around

Mercedes-Benz GLB Concept; Manufacturer images

Looks like: A welcome departure from Mercedes' SUV "coupes"

Defining characteristics: Third row, Swiss Army knife second row, A-Class dash

Ridiculous features: As much roof paraphernalia as the Ecto-1

Chance of being mass-produced: Highly likely, given production-ready elements 

The latest concept from Mercedes-Benz is something of a clown car — a compact SUV that seats up to seven. But the luxury brand isn't clowning around: The Concept GLB SUV debuting at the 2019 Shanghai auto show appears production-ready, and Mercedes assures it "will be of great interest to our customers," sales chief Britta Seeger said in a statement.

Related: Mercedes-Benz Touts All-New GLS as Its Largest, Most Luxurious SUV

Styling is something of a GLC-Class with a Subaru Forester's worth of tall windows and thin roof pillars, a welcome departure for a brand whose SUV "coupe" derivatives go the opposite direction for visibility. The Concept GLB's interior sports a two-position third row and production-ready dashboard, with many elements borrowed from the new A-Class and redesigned CLA. That means a wide, tabletlike surface with two side-by-side screens in place of the usual gauge hood and separate center display. Climate controls occupy a band of buttons below three circular air vents, with horizontal themes about the dash and doors.

A Real Third Row

With a wheelbase of 111 inches, the Concept GLB is 182 inches long and 74 inches wide — nearly the same footprint as a GLC and considerably bigger than the subcompact GLA. If the concept sees production, it wouldn't be the first time an automaker shoehorned a third row into a compact SUV. Models from the Volkswagen Tiguan to the Land Rover Discovery Sport offer tiny third rows; the Concept GLB's wheelbase exceeds both, which could translate to something bigger than a kids-only third row.

Indeed, Mercedes characterizes the third row as "far more than emergency seats" with "comfortable seating for two medium-sized occupants." The second row, meanwhile, folds in a 40/20/40 split. It also slides 5.5 inches, reclines to eight positions and boasts sliding walk-in access to the way-back chairs.

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The concept has 17-inch wheels with beefy off-road tires; lower-profile rubber is likely for any production version. Other fanciful items include roof-mounted LED spotlights to aid off-road visibility, plus a roof-mounted box over the rear cabin area. Under the hood is the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the redesigned CLA250, which here makes 224 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. It pairs with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and front-biased all-wheel drive that can vary power up to a 50/50 split.


Mercedes-Benz will debut the Concept GLB at Auto Shanghai on April 18. In 2013, the brand debuted a concept at the same show that eventually became the GLA-Class. Mercedes stopped short of confirming the same for the GLB, but it seems primed for similar transformation.'s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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