Larger and more upright; four-whee-drive variant planned
22 October 2009

Early prototypes of Mercedes’ new B-class have hit the road in Germany at the start a two-year development programme.

The car is among a range of new, compact Mercedes due in late 2011 to replace the current A-class and B-class with models that are cheaper to produce.

Hi-res Mercedes B-class spy pictures

Larger and more upright than the existing car, the new B-class will compete against the next VW Touran, Germany’s best-selling MPV since its launch in 2003. At around 4400mm long, the new car will be 130mm longer; it’s also 50mm taller, at 1655mm.

The styling will remain a one-box affair with a high waistline, but the tailgate will be more upright. Mercedes will use the larger dimensions to add an optional third row of seats.

The new B-class is based on a new front-drive platform that dispenses with the flat floor and expensive sandwich construction of the current A and B-class, in favour of a more conventional structure with defined footwells, which will improve interior space.

It also means Mercedes will be able to replace the costly four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Used exclusively in the A-class and B-class, they will be replaced by new diesel and direct-injection petrol engines that share their basic architecture and a large percentage of components with the four-pot petrols and diesels used in other Mercedes models.

Alongside standard front-wheel drive, Mercedes-Benz is also planning to launch a four-wheel-drive B-class. This will enable the creation of a new entry-level SUV below the GLK. Codenamed X156, it will rival the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 when 
it arrives in 2012.

Greg Kable

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Mercedes reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz B-Class

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

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    It's got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again