Cars

Mercedes-Benz targets Audi Q3 with rugged GLB concept

In the concept, the second row of seats can be slid by 140mm to free up leg room for occupants sitting in the third row. The backrests of the second row of seats also offer eight-stage inclination. They split in a 40:20:40 configuration and can be folded down to create a level load bay, with the third row sitting flush to the floor. 

To ease access to the third seat row, the outer seats within the second row receive a so-called easy-entry function, which allows the backrest to fold down and the entire seat to be pushed forward. Up to four child seats can be accommodated in the second and third rows. 

Hinting at the top engine planned to be offered in the standard GLB line-up, the Concept GLB receives a turbocharged M264 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The transversely mounted unit, which uses a two-stage variable valve timing system among other efficiency-boosting measures, develops 221bhp and 258lb ft and is set to power the initial range-topping GLB 250. Other engines, including diesels, will be available when sales commence, including an even more potent version of the M264 producing 302bhp and 295lb ft and set to appear in the AMG-badged GLB 35. 

Drive is sent through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a multi-plate clutch 4Matic fourwheel-drive system featuring Standard, Eco/Comfort and Sport drive modes. 

Each drive mode apportions a different distribution of torque between the front and rear axles. The Standard mode is 50:50 front to rear, in Eco/Comfort mode it alters to 80:20 and in Sport it becomes more rear wheel-biased, at 70:30. 

The GLB’s engine range at launch is set to be petrol- and diesel-based, but Mercedes’ commitment to launch over 130 electrified models before 2023 means a fully electric version will appear within the next couple of years. 

Fitting into the maker’s EQ sub-brand and due to be dubbed EQB, the electric SUV will sit below the recently launched EQC and feature a similar, aerodynamically optimised redesign including a bespoke front end. 

The EQB will use the EV driveline from the upcoming EQA hatchback, using two electric motors, with one mounted at the front and one at the rear, to power both axles. Insiders suggest the EQA will use a battery of at least 60kWh in capacity, giving a claimed range of around 310 miles. 

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