Currently reading: Merc's small car revolution
Mercedes' new B-class is based on ground-breaking new technology that needs a patent

Mercedes is to shake up the premium small car segment next year when it launches an all-new B-class. The new car is based on ground-breaking new technology, according to senior Mercedes sources.

Many in the industry had expected the line-up of new small Mercedes to be a family of conventional, Golf-class road cars. However, the head of development for the A and B-class and Smart families, Jorg Prigl, says the new MFA Mercedes Front-drive Architecture) platform is so radical that it will be the subject of a patent.

See official pics of the Mercedes F800, which previews the next B-class

“We will start with the B-class and the MFA platform will contain an IP [Intellectual Property] solution that will allow us to produce both a direct, high-roof, high seating position replacement for the B-class as well as a new range in the Audi A3 class,” Prigl told Autocar at the recent Paris motor show.

The structural innovation was apparently cooked up by the heads of ‘body in white design and safety’ at Mercedes. “The MFA also gives us the package room to fit a battery pack, fuel cell stack, hydrogen tanks and CNG tanks,” said Prigl. “It will allow us to build either an internal combustion or electrically driven vehicle, as well as a number of body styles.”

Read the full story on the F800 concept

Some Mercedes insiders say the MFA patent could be revealed on 29 January next year, exactly 125 years after Karl Benz was awarded a patent for his Motorwagen, which was described as an “automobile fuelled by gas”. The upshot is that the MFA patent is likely to centre around an automobile that can be “powered by petrol, diesel, natural gas, hydrogen and electricity”.

Mercedes is also poised to bill the new A-class and B-class family as “the first car of the next chapter” in the history of the automobile.

Gorden Wagener, global automotive design chief for Daimler, said the new B-class is aimed at “loyal clients” who want the high driving position. “The A-class is completely different, a revolution, a benchmark in compact cars. It really defines the Mercedes brand,” he said.

A number of other body styles will emerge from the MFA project, including a small saloon previewed by the F800 concept. Most of the MFA models will be built at a new Mercedes factory situated in Hungary.

Hilton Holloway

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

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I am not so chi... 4 January 2011

Re: Merc's small car revolution

I have owned 63 cars and took my first trip into Mercedes territory earlier in 2010 with a 180CDi A class CVT.

A cracking little car in all respects. If MB do away with the current A class concept they are absolute fools! UNLESS it's replacement is higher that the Euro box type (Golf A3 etc, which I gather the new A is to emulate), We old crumblies like the ease of access and egress that the A class affords us.

When my A had to go back to the dealer for some cosmetic treatment they lent me a 180 petrol B class and although pleasant to drive and slightly more roomy for my 6'2" 17 stone frame the behaviour on motorway standard roads in a high side wind was ATTROCIOUS. I would never buy a B for just this one reason. The wind was on the beam and I was sawing the steering wheel back and forth just to stay in a straight line at 60mph.

Come on Mercedes, don't shoot yourself in the foot just to keep up with the Jones'.

p.s. your article is headed New A class and then you hardly mention it???

Will86 23 October 2010

Re: Merc's small car revolution

Love the look of the F800, please build it just like that.

275not599 21 October 2010

Re: Merc's small car revolution

Mercedes styling, which was so clean and elegant in the 60s and 70s, has become progressively baroque. BMW must be grinding their teeth. If this isn't "flame-surfacing", I'm a Dacia Duster. It's pure Bangle except that it doesn't have a boot bustle.