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2023 Mercedes GLB facelift to introduce plug-in hybrid power

Mercedes’ seven-seat SUV is due for a refresh, and test cars have been spotted out on German streets

2023 Mercedes GLB - front
  • New portrait-style MBUX infotainment
  • Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains
  • Due to be revealed in 2023

The Mercedes GLB has been on sale since 2019 and three years after its initial launch, the German brand is already looking to update its seven-seat SUV. The facelifted GLB is due to arrive sometime in 2023 and will introduce a host of styling upgrades, as well as the option for a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

best seven seater carsTop 10 best 7-seater cars 2024

Spy photographers have managed to capture test versions of the new Mercedes GLB patrolling the streets of Germany. While these prototype ‘mules’ are dressed in heavy camouflage, the photographs give us a clear indication of what changes we can expect for this new model.

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At the front, the new Mercedes GLB will get a simplified LED daytime running light design, with one angular strip of light, similar to that seen on the Mercedes CLA. Plenty of camouflage around the front bumper suggests this will get a significant overhaul too, potentially with a more minimalist look than before. We expect AMG models to go in the opposite direction, however, with even larger and more aggressive air intakes.

Taking a look at the rear of the prototype GLB, a large portion has been covered up, signalling we’ll also see an update to the car’s LED tail-light signature. Looking closer, we can see that the old square design will be replaced with horizontal bars that converge towards the centre. The sheer amount of camouflage at the rear also suggests the standard GLB could get a rear light bar, similar to that fitted to the electric Mercedes EQB.

2023 Mercedes GLB - rear

More drastic changes could be coming on the inside as the GLB may receive Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system, as seen on the S-Class limousine. This comprises an 11.9-inch portrait touchscreen, alongside a 12.3-inch set of digital dials. MBUX is one of the slickest infotainment systems on the market and offers several cutting-edge features such as augmented reality navigation and enhanced voice control. This, of course, would mean a radical overhaul to the layout of the GLB’s cabin. Regardless, the compact SUV will still be offered with seven seats.

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Things will be mostly business-as-usual under the bonnet of the facelifted car; buyers will still have a choice of a variety of petrol and diesel engines. The biggest new addition will be that of a company car tax-busting plug-in hybrid model. This will use the same setup as in the smaller Mercedes GLA SUV which consists of a 1.3-litre petrol engine, alongside a 15.6kWh battery and electric motor. Together, these produce a potent 215bhp and should get the GLB from 0-62mph in around 7.5 seconds. A pure-electric range of around 35 miles should also be possible.

What does this mean for car buyers?

The Mercedes GLB holds appeal over its sibling, the GLA, thanks to its added practicality and chunky 4x4-esque appearance. A facelift for the seven-seater will undoubtedly make it an even more attractive proposition, with more mainstream rivals such as the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace slowly catching Mercedes in terms of tech.

The upgrades will come at a price though, as the facelifted Mercedes GLB is expected to start from around £40,000 when it goes on sale in 2023. While this is bad news for private buyers, the GLB will finally become a valid option for company-car drivers, who will appreciate the forthcoming PHEV’s inevitably rock-bottom Benefit-in Kind tax rating.

Looking for a car that’s as efficient as it is practical? Check out our list of the top 10 best hybrid SUVs

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