Two compact crossovers, one with an internal combustion engine and the other pure electric.
In the market for a premium SUV? Mercedes has them by the dozen. From the compact GLA all the way up to the fullsize GLS and its forthcoming Maybach version, there probably a high-riding vehicle carrying the three-pointed star out there for you. The company’s entry-level offering will be making the transition to the second generation in 2020 and will be followed a year later by a new entry into the vast SUV lineup – the EQB.
Both of them have been spotted recently roaming the streets of Germany while undergoing testing. The GLA needs no introduction as it’s been a veritable cashcow for Daimler ever since its launch back in late 2013. The new one will get all the goodies we’ve seen already in the revamped A-Class, which isn’t exactly a surprise considering the GLA is effectively a crossover version of the five-door hatchback.
Once again, the GLA will spawn an AMG version, but the usual “45” will be joined by a hotter “45 S” and a lesser “35” serving as the most affordable way to get behind the wheel of an AMG crossover. Output for the 2.0-litre petrol engine will be rated at 302 bhp for the base member of the AMG trio, followed by the mid-range model with 382 bhp and the top dog with 416 bhp.
The prototype spotted in Deutschland by YouTuber walkoART was a non-AMG version while carrying the full production body and lights. As seen with the other refreshed compact Mercedes models, the exterior styling will be an evolution of today’s model while the interior will be overhauled to accommodate a digital revolution and a more upmarket feel.
As for the EQB also caught by walkoART, it will serve as the pure electric version of Mercedes’ new seven-seat GLB boxy crossover. It has already been confirmed for a 2021 market launch and will slot underneath the bigger EQC. This test vehicle appears to be lacking some of the production bits, but it will likely stay true to the design of its conventionally powered cousin while receiving some tweaks to make the electric crossover more identifiable as an EQ model.
Official details are scarce at the moment, but it is believed the EQB will use two electric motors – one for each axle – and feature a battery with a capacity of at least 60 kWh. It should have enough electric juice for a range of about 310 miles. The modified exterior design – such as the closed-off grille and new wheels – will also help improve aero by lowering the drag coefficient to a Cd of under 0.30 to enhance efficiency.
When will the SUV craze end? Probably not in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, get ready for petorl, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles on stilts, including some interesting ones like Europe's new GLE 350de with its diesel-electric powertrain.