More conventional platform and Renault engines for new small MPV, due next year

The new Mercedes B-class, the first Benz to be powered by Renault petrol engines, has been spied in winter testing for the first time ahead of its launch at next year’s Frankfurt show.

These hand-built prototypes show for the first time the evolutionary dimensions and proportions of the next B-class, one of five key models based on an all-new front-drive platform, dubbed MFA. The five-seat 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.

See the latest spy pics of the new Mercedes B-class

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.

Read more on Mercedes' small revolution

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.Greg Kable

See all the latest Mercedes B-class reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz B-Class
The B-Class straddles the C-segment and MPV markets better than most models

Change is coming to Mercedes’ small-car range, and this new B-Class is the first taste of it.

Join the debate

Comments
16

15 December 2010

Bring on the BLS!

15 December 2010

i am looking forward to the BLK sport, short name BLKS :P

15 December 2010

What about a B-Class turbo? BLT with a sandwich construction.

15 December 2010

[quote Autocar]The new Mercedes B-class, the first Benz to be powered by Renault petrol engines[/quote] This statement is misleading. At launch it will use existing Mercedes engines, and over-time as Mercedes and Renault enter a joint venture to develop new engines those will be fitted instead. The next A-Class on the other hand will be the first Mercedes to debut using just the jointly developed Renault/ Mercedes engines. Will be similar to the arrangement BMW and PSA have for the MINI.

15 December 2010

how can it be misleading when they said much the same as you elsewhere in the article?

15 December 2010

[quote philcUK]how can it be misleading when they said much the same as you elsewhere in the article?
[/quote]

I think J400 is saying that they are not dropping existing Renault engines from a Clio into the A class; that they will co-develop a new range of engines over time for both cars.

Personally, I have no qualms about having a 'renault' engine in a Merc, typically their smaller units have been at the top of the field and have over time proven themselves to be sturdy little motors. It's normally the other bits and electrics that let them down.

22 November 2010

[quote Autocar]the first Benz to be powered by Renault petrol engines[/quote]

Was about to make a negative comment about them risking devaluing the brand, but then I thought of their main competitor: BMWs sales & reputation don't seem to have been adversely affected by their engine-sharing with the PSA group, so maybe it won't matter to buyers much, especially lower down in the range, on cars like the A-class & B-class, the fact it still has the 3-pointed star on the bonnet will be enough for most buyers. & I am sure Mercedes will be paying close attention to quality & reliability, they themselves admit their quality went off the mark about 10 years ago & I'm sure they won't let that happen again, their reputation really took a battering.

I hope the saloon looks like the F800 Style concept (http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle/AllCars/247636/), that was an absolutely stunning looking small saloon, IMO.

currently a happy owner of a Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin :)

22 November 2010

I thought that these small enigines were meant to be co-developed by Merc and Renault, just like BMW do it with PSA.

22 November 2010

Just like your recent article suggesting Audi will build A3 saloon, I doubt Mercedes are planning a B-Class saloon. It just wouldn't fit in the market.

22 November 2010

[quote miecio]

I thought that these small enigines were meant to be co-developed by Merc and Renault, just like BMW do it with PSA.

[/quote] Yes that's correct, and they haven't been developed yet. I should imagine at launch this car will just be using the MB units as suggested in the article, i.e. detuned versions of the current 4-cylinder offerings from the C-Class. However when the new Renault engines are ready it will switch over to using those, with the new A-Class coming out at the same sort of time using the Renault engines. Presumably the reason the A-Class isn't coming out for another couple of years is because they don't have the engines ready for it.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run