Mercedes-Benz has revealed its new GLB compact SUV, which will rival the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 when it goes on sale in the UK later this year.

The new model is the eighth in the firm’s compact range, and unlike its direct class rivals will be offered in both five and seven-seat layouts. Mercedes says the machine has been designed to offer class-leading versatility to appeal more to family car buyers than the smaller GLA.

The production version of the new SUV, codenamed X247, retains the upright lines of the earlier Concept GLB revealed at the Shanghai motor show back in April, albeit without some of the rugged exterior styling elements.  

Based on Mercedes’s MFA II platform, the GLB features a McPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension with optional adaptive damping. It measures 4634mm in length, 1834mm in width and 1658mm in height, making it 21mm longer, 56mm narrower and 20mm taller than the recently facelifted GLC. It has a wheelbase of 2829mm, which is 100mm longer than the B-Class MPV.

While it has lost many of the rugged styling feature from the concept version, the GLB retains a square, angular style inspired by the larger G-Class, including short overhangs at the front and rear, and a new headlight design. Multibeam LED headlights and LED for lights are both available as options.

Inside, the GLB receives a uniquely styled dashboard with an aluminium-look ‘tubular’ lower element. It features Mercedes-Benz’s widescreen cockpit, consisting of a single digital panel housing the instruments and infotainment functions. It is controlled by the latest version of the MBUX interface.

Mercedes-Benz claims best in class front seat headroom of 1035mm and 967mm of rear legroom when in five-seat form.

The five-seat version has 560 litres of boot space, 140 more than the Q5 and 55 larger than the X1, which can be expanded to 1755 litres with the 40:20:40 second-row of seats folded.

In seven-seat form, with two extra seats that can be folded into the boot floor, the GLB features an easy entry function.

The line-up will initially consist of four models, with all but the top-of-the-line diesel offered with front-wheel drive as standard. Buyers will be able to choose between two four-cylinder petrol engines and a single four-cylinder diesel in two different states of tune.

The petrol models include the GLB200, which runs a turbocharged 1.3-litre unit with 161bhp and 184lb ft, and the GLB250, with a 218bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine with 258lb ft. Engine emissions range from 137 to 169g/km CO2, with fuel economy ranging from 38 to 47mpg.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is offered with 148bhp and 236lb ft in the GLB200d, and 187bhp and 295lb ft in the GLB220d 4Matic. The diesel engines have emissions ranging between 137 and 169g/km CO2, and fuel economy between 51.3 and 57.6mpg.

The four-wheel-drive GLB220d 4Matic is available with an optional Off-Road Engineering Package, including Multibeam LED headlamps, hill assistance and an additional off-road driving mode, which includes a special infotainment display showing gradient, incline angle and technical settings.

A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox is standard in the GLB200, while the GLB250, GLB200d and GLB220d 4Matic utilise an eight-speed gearbox.

Further models, including AMG GLB35 4Matic and GLB45 variants, are due next year.

Also under development is a four-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid variant, featuring an electrified rear axle and a pure electric range that Mercedes-Benz sources tip to greatly exceed 31 miles. The GLB will also form the basis of a full electric EQB, due to arrive in 2021.

Pricing has yet to be set. UK-bound GLB models will be produced at a joint venture plant operated by Mercedes-Benz and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in Aguascaliente, Mexico. It will also be produced in China for that market.

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