2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB spy shots

The first prototype for a new Mercedes-Benz compact crossover SUV expected to be called the GLB has been spotted.

Mercedes already competes in the space with the GLA but the GLB will be a larger, more rugged offering with styling influenced by the iconic G-Class.

The Ener-G-Force concept unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles auto show hints at what’s to come.

Engineers previously used the makeshift body of a GLA to hide the new mechanicals. These test mules revealed a stretched wheelbase and wider track compared to the GLA.

The new mechanicals are a next-generation version of the current MFA (Modular Front-drive Architecture) platform for front-wheel-drive-based compact cars. Referred to as MFA2, the platform will bring weight savings plus greater capacity for alternative drivetrains and should debut soon in the next-generation A-Class hatchback.

Models like the GLB as well as the next-generation B-Class and a new A-Class sedan will use the largest version of the platform, and feature a powertrain lineup consisting of a series of inline-4 units, in both gasoline and diesel flavors. A plug-in hybrid option should also be available.

Mercedes will produce some MFA2-based cars at a plant in Mexico. The cars will also be produced at plants in Europe and China.

Look for a debut of the GLB in late 2019 or early the following year. This means we’ll likely see it arrive in showrooms as a 2021 model. Potential rivals include the Jeep Renegade as well as the new BMW X2 and Volvo XC40.

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