It has been a couple of months since we brought you spy photos of the future Mercedes-Benz B-Class and thanks to our good friend Andrus, we have something better than photos. We have a video of the Mercedes B-Class B-Class prototype doing cold weather testing in Sweden. The all new Mercedes B-Class is expected to premiere in Frankfurt next year.
These hand-built B-Class prototypes show the evolutionary dimensions and proportions of the next B-class, one of five models that are planned for the new front-drive platform, referred to as MFA. The five passenger MPV will be the first model off the MFA, followed in 2012 by the new A-class, and then a junior SUV and a small saloon.
The MFA is a conventional unibody and replaces the expensive sandwich structure used on today’s A and B-classes. Because of the switch to conventional body engineering, Mercedes will drop its own front-drive engines, which were designed as part of the sandwich platform crash structure.
In their place will be a combination of existing in-house and small-capacity Renault engines. Over time the engine range will eventually include turbocharged 1.2-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre petrols, a 1.6-litre diesel from Renault and Mercedes’ 2.2-litre diesel.
Initially, however, sales will centre on larger-capacity Mercedes units, according to Stuttgart insiders. Gearboxes will be a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch auto in place of today’s CVT, both with stop-start.
The MFA is also being engineered to accommodate three alternative powertrains: plug-in electric (E-Cell), petrol-electric range-extender (E-Cell Plus) and fuel cell (F-Cell).
The basic dimensions of the new B-class are largely unchanged, as is the elevated driving position, but cabin space is better, thanks to a lower floor. There’s more flair in the styling, with tauter surfacing and more defined shoulder treatment, as previewed on the F800 Style concept at this year’s Geneva motor show.
The adoption of LED head and tail-lamps is an important exterior upgrade. The B-class also sticks with conventional doors all round, despite Mercedes experimenting with a sliding rear pair. Merc is also moving the B-class interior up a notch in quality with higher-grade plastics, trim, switchgear and controls from the C-class.