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by Sam Rawlings

German car maker Mercedes-Benz has reportedly trademarked the name GLB, which could hint at the introduction of a new SUV to sit between the GLA and GLC crossovers.

According to British website Auto Express, the new SUV would be based on the small B-Class MPV, debuting as an additional and more spacious rival to models like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

The report suggests Mercedes has identified gaps in its line-up in the past, with the car maker also suggesting it is not against capitalising on the current trend of smaller SUVs.

Speaking with the website last year, the company’s research and development boss, Dr Thomas Webber, said: “The SUV segment is one of the most important because it is clear there is global demand. Is there room for additional SUVs? Why not?”

This follows comments from Mercedes-Benz board member Ola Källenius, who told CarAdvice in March that the company is “plugging the final holes” in its range, but that it is not entirely done.

“People are looking for maybe a more individualistic choice, they like sporty driving but still want to have some utility,” Källenius said.

2016-mercedes-benz-gla180-2

The GLB is said to be sized larger than the GLA, pictured above

Auto Express claims it has spied development mules of the GLB, although there has been little evidence that this represents a preview of such a model.

If the proposed GLB moves to production, its powertrains would likely mirror those in the company’s other front-wheel-drive models, offering GLB200 and 250 petrol variants, along with 200d and 220d diesel versions.

If history is any indication, a range-topping AMG GLB45 variant and a plug-in-hybrid could also be on the cards.

Supposedly based on the company’s smaller A- and B-Class models, power will likely be sent to the front wheels while more expensive variants may gain the 4Matic four-wheel-drive system.

The GLB would be Mercedes’ sixth SUV range, joining the GLA, GLC, GLE, GLE Coupe and GLS, as well as the big G-Class 4×4.

While no official word has been given by the manufacturer on any future additions to its SUV range, reports speculate that we aren’t likely to see the new model until at least 2018.

MORE: Mercedes-Benz news, reviews, pricing and specs




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