Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We’ll know all the ins and outs of the new 2012 B-Class in about two months time at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but Mercedes today provided us with the first official teaser photos and initial specifications of its small MPV that will go on sale in Europe in November.
While the shape and styling of the new B-Class won’t surprise anyone given the close proximity to the current model, there’s more than meets the eye about the Mercedes-Benz model.
"No model change in the history of Mercedes-Benz has ever seen so many new developments introduced in one fell swoop," argues Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Development, Mercedes-Benz Cars.
First of all, Stuttgart’s newcomer is longer at 4,359mm (+86mm), wider at 1,786 (+9m) but surprisingly, has a lower height at 1,557mm (-43mm). It also features an impressive drag coefficient of cd=0.26 which drops to an outstanding cd=0.24 when equipped with the optional ECO Technology package, which will be available at a later date. For comparison, the current Toyota Prius has a cd figure of 0.25.
The latest B-Class introduces a brand-new range of petrol and diesel engines as well as new manual and automatic transmissions, all of which were developed in-house.
Starting with the new four-cylinder gasoline engines, codenamed M270, all come equipped with the third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct injection system that was introduced last year with the BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines.
Designed for both transverse and longitudinal installation, the four-cylinder units are initially available in the B-Class with a displacement of 1.6-liters, as the B 180 rated 122HP and 200Nm and the B 200 with an output 156HP and 250Nm.
The B-Class’ new four-cylinder diesel is a further development of the OM651 deployed in the C- to the S-Class, a common rail direct-injection engine of the third generation. It’s displacement is scaled down to 1.8-liters as the B 180 CDI generating 109HP and 250Nm, and the B 200 CDI rated at 136HP and 300Nm.
Transmission options will include a 6-speed manual and the firm’s new 7G-DCT dual clutch gearbox.
Even though it was initially believed that the new B-Class would share the same platform with the upcoming 2012 A-Class, that’s not the case as Mercedes opted to update the current model’s sandwich floor.
The German company said the 2012 B-Class’ updated chassis has a lower center of gravity and comes with newly designed four-link rear axle, an upgraded ESP Electronic Stability Programme and a redesigned electromechanical steering.
It also claims that the new chassis offers “enhanced dynamic performance in comparison to its predecessor” without any compromises on comfort. A sports package featuring with a lowered suspension (-20mm) featuring different dampers with amplitude-selective damping and a Direct-Steer system will be optionally available.
Other technological highlights include a new radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist that will come as standard on all models.
From what we know up until now, Mercedes-Benz has no plans to bring the B-Class to the States.


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