In the never ending quest by European car manufacturers to find a niche to fill, and in an attached quest to find letters of the alphabet to use, Mercedes-Benz has found a way to do both. They’ve gone to their “G” range of SUV vehicles and found a hole between the GLA and GLC. Unsurprisingly it’s been called the GLB.¬† However it’s also a concept at this stage although highly unlikely it won’t see production.

The emphasis here, says Mercedes-Benz, is utilizing a standard platform to provide a compact SUV that manages to maximize internal space. This platform of 111 inches or 2814mm in wheelbase allows a seven seater configuration. This is a first for the German marque in such a sized vehicle. As is the norm, the third row seats can be folded flush into the rear floor to provide an extra measure of cargo space. Bespoke trim for the GLB features nappa and nubuck leather which will contrast nicely with the walnut wood inserts. Milled aluminum also features in the interior, in areas such as the dashboard and for the grab handles. Even the climate control section is made to look as if it’s a single piece of aluminum.

Power is in the form of a turbo-charged four cylinder engine, that delivers 224hp or 167kW, peak torque is 258lb-ft or 350Nm. The block is a diecast alloy piece with cast iron cylinder liners. There’s a slight twist to the look of the cylinders as well. CONICSHAPE tech or “trumpet shaping” has the bores slightly wider at the lower end. The intent is to lower the friction levels and therefore consumption. Drive is sent through to all four gears via an eight speed auto.

The 4MATIC drive system has torque distribution engineered in, and there are three preprogrammed drive modes accessed via the DYNAMIC SELECT switch. The standard mode is Eco with an 80/20 torque split front to rear. Sport ups that slightly to a 70/30 split, whereas the off-road mode makes it a 50/50 percentage.

Outside is an unmistakable M-B family look. Clean lines, sensually shaped curves, and a tweaked Mercedes-Benz nose that’s both bluff in its vertical styling and smooth looking as an SUV can be. The lower chrome look air intake features an integrated dumb-bell like pair of separate intakes and sits between a pair of driving lights that are complementing the MULTIBEAM LED main lights. They also balance the rear in having a similar style that houses the twin exhaust pipes.

Front and rear overhangs are deliberately short for the 182 inch/4622mm long machine in order to provide the optimum off-road driving experience when required. There are also a pair of roof mounted LED spotlights front and rear that are designed to assist in dark driving situations, especially again if off-roading. The wheels are comparatively small at 17 inches but this allows assertively style off-road oriented rubber.

The Mercedes-Benz GLB Concept will be showcased at the Auto Shanghai across April 18 to 25.