FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOW: Driver-focused, more efficient B-Class due 2012
Soon to become the carmaker’s only compact MPV, it shares its platform with the forthcoming coupe-like A-Class, retaining the outgoing model’s front-wheel drive layout.
Engines are all new, and based on units from larger models in a bid to reduce costs. The range comprises two 1.6-litre diesels and two 1.8-litre petrol engines, all with direct injection, and the choice of either a new manual gearbox or 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic. The carmaker said its sandwich floor would also allow space for alternative power sources in the future.
Designed to be more driver-focused than the old model, it sits lower to the ground, offering easier access and more headroom, while rear legroom that beats the S and E-Class. New features include an optional seating system that allows the rear bench to move forwards by up to 140mm and the passenger seat to fold flat for long loads.
COMAND Online also debuts in the B-Class, allowing internet browsing while stationary and a simplified app with Google Local Search, weather information and route downloads for browsing on the move.
The B-Class will be unveiled to the public at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and prices are expected to be announced closer to its launch in March 2012.