Currently reading: Next Merc B-class - new pics
More conventional platform and Renault engines for new small MPV, due next year
Autocar
News
2 mins read
15 December 2010

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

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marj 15 December 2010

Re: Next Merc B-class - new pics

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

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.

philcUK 15 December 2010

Re: Next Merc B-class - new pics

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

J400uk 15 December 2010

Re: Next Merc B-class - new pics

Autocar wrote:
The new Mercedes B-class, the first Benz to be powered by Renault petrol engines
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.