Mercedes' new B-class is based on ground-breaking new technology that needs a patent
21 October 2010

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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Comments
17

20 October 2010

Build that in pretty much that form and I think it will be a big success. In my opinion looks like a better looking CLS

20 October 2010

"“The MFA also gives us the package room to fit a battery pack, fuel cell stack, hydrogen tanks and CNG tanks,”

Wasn't this the idea behind the original sandwich floor design of the A class in the '90s?

Back to the future.

20 October 2010

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”.

Do I understand this correct? All the above at the same time? It sure is written like that. Surely it must read 'either'.

“powered by [either] petrol, diesel, natural gas, hydrogen and electricity”.

20 October 2010

Lovely looking car

20 October 2010

[quote sierra] Wasn't this the idea behind the original sandwich floor design of the A class in the '90s?[/quote]

Think so - certainly batteries and certainly at prototype stage - not sure how long into its life the idea lasted.

Gratuitous swipe at BMW: This is the sort of innovation Mini should be doing!

20 October 2010

[quote Squonk61]Gratuitous swipe at BMW: This is the sort of innovation Mini should be doing![/quote]

The innovation seems to have been saved for the Megacity project.

20 October 2010

I am glad to see that one of the more conservative manufacturers is prepared to take a risk with such technology, lets hope its encourages BMW, Audi and even VW to take risks as well.

20 October 2010

[quote sierra]

Wasn't this the idea behind the original sandwich floor design of the A class in the '90s?

Back to the future.

[/quote]the sandwich floor concept was originally designed primarily to aid the packaging of the original A-class from 1998 however as fuel cell and hybrid technology developed it became apparent that the sandwich floor concept would also be suitable to house the components required for this drive system.

20 October 2010

I just don't understand what is going on with those swage lines at the side. They make no sense and aren't attractive. A single line flowing from the front, through the door handles would be much better and, crucially, much more Mercedes. Also, the business around the bottom of the doors is cruddy. It's a car that'll date in months rather than years.

20 October 2010

I think the car in the pictures will be the new CLC, rather than being a hatch it's going to be a small cls based on a b class platform.

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