The brand-spanking-new Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class isn’t even here yet, but our spy team managed to catch a preview of the inevitable AMG-tweaked model. It was sighted only briefly as it circled a roundabout, but it’s enough to give us this first look at the gutzy compact people mover.
At a glance it doesn’t look much different than the other GLB-Class spy photos we’ve seen, however, the devil is in the details. This prototype seems to sit just a bit lower, and the wheels are a touch larger. Furthermore, those rims are fitted with some low-profile rubber that looks more at home on the street than on a trail. That grille is likely a placeholder for a more aggressive design too, but the real clincher is at the back. This is the first GLB-Class test vehicle we’ve seen with dual exhaust cutouts in the rear fascia.
That begs the question: What will this compact SUV dish up for power? Current thought is that, like its chassis, it will share the powerplant from the amped-up AMG A35 hatchback. To refresh your memory, that car utilizes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 302 horsepower (225 kilowatts) and 295 pound-feet (300 Newton-meters) of torque. The power will naturally be spread to all four wheels, and though it won’t set the world on fire, it should be enough to make the GLB-Class a spicy meatball. Perhaps more importantly, it leaves room for something more powerful should Mercedes decide there’s a demand for such a beast. Can you say GLB 45?
Before the AMG GLB 35 can arrive, however, the base GLB-Class needs to debut. We know it’s slated to go on sale later next year, so a reveal at Detroit or perhaps Geneva seems likely. Once that’s done, you can expect the hotter AMG version to arrive late in 2019 as a 2020 model.