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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - B-Class

Frankfurt show: Official Benz B-class photos emerge

How low can you go: The roof of the Mercedes B-class is also 48mm lower than its predecessor for a sleeker appearance.

Mercedes-benz unveils all-new B-class ahead of Frankfurt after leaked image

Mercedes-Benz logo26 Aug 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MERCEDES-Benz has released official pictures of its next B-class hatch ahead of its public debut at Frankfurt on September 13 and Australian launch in the second quarter of next year.

The full suite of exterior and interior images was issued just 24 hours after a single leaked photo emerged, but this time the images reveal the car’s rear-end styling and back-seat accommodation – which Benz claims is more spacious than the back seat of its S-class limousine flagship.

Described as a compact sports tourer, the new B-class is claimed to contain more developments than any previous Benz and rides on a development of the original’s ‘sandwich floor’ platform that can accommodate alternative drivetrains, including electric and fuel cell.

Mercedes says test drivers say the new B-class is “fascinatingly agile”, with dynamics honed not only by the lowered centre of gravity thanks to a loss in 48mm of roof height, seats situated 86mm lower and a new four-link rear axle design plus optional sports suspension pack that drops the car a further 20mm.

However, the Stuttgart-based brand emphasises that there is no compromise on comfort and that the suspension system designed to “meet the requirements of the high-torque engines with regard to minimum noise levels”.

The fuel-saving electro-mechanical steering of the B-class now gets an assistance system directly on the rack and dual-pinion steering gear.

4 center imageThe sports suspension pack adds Direct Steer to make the steering ratio “noticeably more direct at greater steering angles”, to “substantially” enhance handling and agility while serving to “emphasise the car’s sporty character”.

As GoAuto has reported, Mercedes is also preparing an Audi TT-rivalling entry-level front-drive roadster to hang off the same B-class underpinnings, along with a four-door sedan, completely re-thought A-class hatch that switches to a sportier, more conventional two-box layout and potentially a compact crossover.

The B-class will launch with turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and 1.8-litre diesel engines, each available in two states of tune.

The B180-badged petrol produces 90kw and 200Nm, its more powerful B200 counterpart upping that to 115kW and 250Nm. The similarly-badged diesels – but with a CDI suffix – produce 80kW/250Nm and 100kW/300Nm respectively.

Benz will move away from the outgoing model’s five-speed manual or CVT automatic transmissions and bring in all-new, in-house developed six-speed manual and seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions that enable efficiency-increasing idle-stop technology.

Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications manager Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto that more would be known about Australian pricing and specification towards the end of this year or early next year.

The current B-class range opens at $37,875 for the 1.7-litre 85kW/155Nm petrol B180 and tops out with the 2.0-litre 142kW/280Nm B200 Turbo at $54,217.

Although lower, the new B-class grows 90mm longer, to 4359mm, and is 10mm wider at 1786mm, making it sleeker while increasing interior space.

The rear bench can slide up to 140mm, enabling the luggage compartment to vary from 488 to 666 litres – an increase of 121 litres over the outgoing model – at the gain or expense of legroom. The rear seat backrest can also be folded forwards to increase carrying capacity.

As GoAuto reported, Mercedes claims the B-class will debut the standard fitment of radar-based collision warning systems in its segment. Collision Prevention Assist alerts the driver to potential obstacles and primes the brake circuit for maximum deceleration to help avoid rear-end shunts.

Attention Assist, which detects a drowsy driver, will also be standard-fit across the range.

Trim levels called Basic, Exclusive, Chrome and Sports will be offered, each with its own interior theme.

The new interior shots showcase the car’s optional fibre-optic ambient lighting that pipes a soft amber glow across the dashboard, into footwells and door-handle recesses.

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