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2012 Mercedes B-Class: Tease and Technical

Tue, 12 Jul 2011

It's the 2012 Mercedes B-Class in the dark

When we get a tease for a new car it’s usually just a shadowy image of the new wonder with all the detail taken away, in case we use Photoshop to bring it to life. Just like the photo (above) we got in of the 2012 Mercedes B-Class.

But this teaser photo of the new B-Class is not just a bit of PR frippery, as it comes with a proper raft of detail on how much effort Mercedes has put in to the new B-Class, and just how much is new.

Although it’s easy to see the new B-Class is more of an evolution of style rather than a revolution, the B-Class has changed in size. It’s 86mm longer, a tad wider (9mm) and is less high-riding, with 43mm chopped off the height. Remarkably, for a still high-up car with a hatchback, it manages to be very slippery, with a drag figure of just 0.25.

The engines and transmissions for the new B-Class are all new, with the new 4-pot petrols getting the same direct injection as the BlueDIRECT engines. Offered as a 1.6 litre,  the B180 gets 120bhp and the B200 gets 154bhp, both of which come with an all new 6-speed manual ‘box or the option of a new 7G-DCT ‘box.

The oil-burner is also a new lump – a development of the once-troubled OM651 – with 1.8 litres, where it manages to deliver 107bhp in the B180 CDI and 134bhp in the B200 CDI. Again, the same option for manual or new 7g-DCT.

Mercedes are saying that the chassis on the B-Class is’ fascinatingly agile’ with it’s lower centre of gravity, new back axle and upgraded ESP. There’s even a new sports suspension option which further lowers the ride height and chucks in new dampers.

But it looks as if the old sandwich floor carries over, despite the belief the new B-Class would share underpinnings with the new A-Class. Or maybe we’re misreading the piles of bumph from Mercedes.

The steering has been redesigned with the electric motor moved to the steering gear which, Mercedes say, improves its agility and economy – it only works when youy’re actually steering.

In what Mercedes claims is a first in its sector, the 2012 B-Class gets a radar-based collision warning system together with a raft of other technology including adaptive headlights, blind spot and lane assist, attention assist (that’s the one with the coffee cup), speed limit assist (which ‘reads’ speed limit signs), Distronic plus with BAS and Mercedes Pre-Safe. Impressive list.

All looks very promising. Unlike many others we think the current A and B Class cars are underrated, and the new A and B Class cars promise to be a big step forward from what are already able and competent cars – light years away from Mercedes first efforts at a small car.

Which should make the 2012 B-Class potentially very good indeed when it bows in at Frankfurt in September.

(19 photos – click any thumbnail for full gallery)

By Cars UK