Even the new compact SUV gets to taste the daunting ’Green Hell’

Mercedes-Benz is busy testing the new GLB-Class compact crossover SUV which is a boxlike alternative to the coupe-bodied GLA with which it shares the platform. The new model will arrive in the U.S. in the last few months of next year for the 2020 model year.

The GLB-Class is the one to have if you are the kind of person to look at the GLS-Class full-size SUV and think it’s too hefty for your needs but you dig the proportions. In other words, the GLB-Class is a compact SUV, smaller than the GLC-Class, that harkens back to the rugged styling of classic SUVs - like the G-Wagon - but is sized to be a practical city commuter.

Mercedes-Benz is almost ready to unveil the GLB-Class but, before it comes clean, the German automaker decided that another run at the Nurburgring is mandatory. Indeed, this crossover SUV isn’t one that would feel at home on a race track but manufacturers still learn a lot from pushing just about any car to its limits on a road course and the GLB-Class is no exception.

Keep reading to learn more about the GLB-Class’ latest trip to the Eifel Mountains

The GLB-Class from Mercedes, an unusual suspect to be spotted on the Nordschleife

Everybody wants to be seen testing at the Nurburgring-Nordschleife, the 16,12-mile-long permanent road course located in Germany that was once the host of the German Formula 1 Grand Prix. It’s become sort of a fad to build a car that can beat the production car lap records in different categories, but not only performance-oriented machinery is given a taste of the ’Green Hell’ - as 1968 German Grand Prix winner Jackie Stewart put it.

Mercedes-Benz, for instance, decided that after three months since its last visit with the new GLB-Class at the ’Ring, a new go was necessary. Sadly, the new compact crossover SUV did not shed any of its dazzling camouflage since it last tackled the +100 bends of the German race track.

We know that the GLB-Class will sit on the MFA2 compact platform, the same that is used for the GLA-Class.

Most likely, the new model will come with a raft of small-capacity engines, such as turbocharged four-pots that will require either gas or diesel. The 1.4-liter turbocharged unit which develops 161 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque might end up being an entry-level choice while the 2.0-liter unit should also find its way as an option with the output in the region of 180 to 210 horsepower. For the European market, the 1.5-liter diesel which develops almost 200 pound-feet of torque might be available.

Mercedes brings the GLB to the Nurburgring
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The new MBUX augmented reality infotainment system will likely be fitted to the GLB-Class as well as some of the driver assistance technology seen on the GLA-Class and the GLC-Class respectively. Some mild autonomy functions should be included on upper-trim models. Finally, the AWD system will be available which is a natural thing for a car that has been seen numerous times tackling snowy trails earlier this year.

According to Motor1.com, "the U.S. version is scheduled to go on sale in the last quarter of 2019," but we don’t know when will the GLB-Class arrive or what will be its MSRP. However, we guess that Mercedes-Benz will choose either the Detroit Auto Show or the Geneva Auto Show next year as the place to take the covers off this model that will be produced at a new factory in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The base price will hover around $34,000 which is about as much as a base model GLA.

Further reading

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class.

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