The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class features new petrol and diesel engines as well as new manual and automatic transmissions. The new four-cylinder petrol engines (internal designation M270) mark the launch of a completely new engine series. The combustion process is based on the third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct injection system which was introduced last year with the BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines. Its use in the B-Class marks this technology’s debut in the compact segment. The new four-cylinder engines have been designed for both transverse and longitudinal installation. In the new B-Class they are initially available with a displacement of 1.6 litres, as the B 180 rated at 90 kW (122 hp) and the B 200 with an output of 115 kW (156 hp). Their maximum torque of 200 and 250 Nm respectively is available from an engine speed of 1250 rpm.
The new four-cylinder diesel engine is a further development of the OM651 deployed in the C- to the S-Class, a common rail direct-injection engine of the third generation. With its displacement scaled down to 1.8 litres and numerous optimised points of detail, this is the first time that the compression-ignition engine has been mounted transversely in a Mercedes-Benz car. The B 180 CDI generates 80 kW (109 hp) of power, while the B 200 CDI has an output of 100 kW (136 hp). The maximum torque stands at 250 Nm from 1400 rpm for the 80 kW variant and 300 Nm from 1600 rpm for the 100 kW variant.
Another Mercedes-Benz premiere is the new 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. This transmission is extremely compact, extremely variable with regard to adaptation of the engine speed thanks to seven gears, features an electric oil pump for start/stop capability, shifts gear without any interruptions in tractive power and combines the comfort of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission.
The new 6-speed manual transmission designed along similarly compact lines as a three-shaft transmission is a close relative of the DCT. Extremely easy gear shifting, low shift forces, low internal friction and a low weight are among its most important characteristics.
The new B-Class is a typical Mercedes sports tourer, offering plenty of space combined with impressive dynamic performance as a hatchback saloon. The characteristic lines of the exterior design indicate both of these attributes: front and rear sport a width-emphasizing design, with a wide, prominent grille and headlamps extending along the sides at the front while the rear end features a wide rear window, two-piece tail lights with horizontally offset meander and a large tailgate with low loading sill.
The new sportiness and the outstanding aerodynamics are particularly evident in the side line: the bonnet flows seamlessly into the A-pillar and the roof line descends sleekly to the striking roof spoiler. The roof features a swage line which lends the vehicle a longer appearance. The pronounced wheel arches offset by dynamic feature lines under the beltline are a sporty interpretation of the current design line from Mercedes-Benz. The bottom edge of the body features dynamic side skirts which add a light touch to the vehicle’s appearance. Refined details such as the exquisitely designed headlamps with the new spotlight element confirm the brand’s unmistakable premium credentials which shine through in the compact segment, too.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is optionally available with the so-called EASY-VARIO-PLUS system. This enables simple reorganisation of the interior so as to enable the transportation of bulky items. Features of the EASY-VARIO-PLUS system include fore/aft adjustment of the rear seats by up to 140 millimetres (thereby increasing the luggage compartment volume from 488 to 666 litres) and a front passenger seat whose backrest can be folded forward onto the seat cushion.
Many features have been the reserve of higher classes of vehicle to date and embody Mercedes-Benz’s special definition of quality and aesthetics. The dashboard is optionally available in ARTICO man-made leather finish and features stitching, for example. Four equipment packages (Chrome, Sports, Exclusive and Night package) enable individualisation according to personal tastes.
The world premiere of the All-New Mercedes-Benz B-Class (length/width/height: 4359/1786/1557 millimetres) will take place at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show. It will be making its way to European dealers in November 2011.