New Mercedes Benz B-Class Reveal

New Mercedes Benz B-Class Reveal

If you’re a fan of class where automobiles are concerned, then you can’t go wrong with the new Mercedes Benz B-Class (which has the word “class” right in the name!).  Although the 2012 model has not yet debuted, a Belgian news site was kind enough to leak the first photos of the updated B-Class (although prototypes have apparently been spotted tooling around near the automaker’s Stuttgart, Germany headquarters for a while now).  And Mercedes itself release a few snapshots as well in advance of their intended reveal at the Frankfurt Auto Show starting September 13th.  The photos (some of which are professional shots meant for the press, while others are clearly shot on the street) reveal a car that is cool, compact, and aimed at an international market (unlike the previous model).

The big story behind the new B-Class, it seems, is that there are three separate designs intended to hit the marketplace.  A revamp of the current B includes four doors and a hatchback, as well as a downward sloping nose predicted to meet European safety standards.  But despite its diminutive exterior, the cabin looks roomy, with a slim center console (that nonetheless features plenty of gadgetry) and a sophisticated two-tone color scheme in black and tan (although other options will likely be offered).  Controls on the steering wheel are also a nice touch that consumers are sure to applaud, as is the standard TFT screen (available in two sizes).  And the rear bench seat features headrests and shoulder belts for three.

But reports indicate that there are going to be two other models in the B-Class category, with sedan and SUV versions of the vehicle slated to join the lineup.  Although there are as yet no photos available for these two variants, it is speculated that they will appeal to a more mainstream market, namely U.S. and Asian buyers, who haven’t flocked to the hatchback (which has garnered great success in the UK since its 2005 release).  Perhaps the real problem lies in the fact that this “premium compact” is a bit pricier than its competitors in the economy class.  But it would appear that MB is banking on international consumer markets to pay a little more for larger vehicles.

As for what’s under the hood, reports reveal that Mercedes has a new powertrain in the works for their latest set of small cars.  Both the 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engines will get a boost from the addition of a turbocharger, which will offer 122 horsepower in the former and 156 in the latter version.  Six-speed manual transmission and seven-speed automatics will be offered.  Unfortunately for the rest of the world, only the UK will have access to the turbo diesel engines that will offer greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

There is no word yet on pricing, but considering the hood ornament it’s bound to cost a pretty penny.  And you won’t save any money on the maintenance either, thanks to German manufacturing (so you’d better get yourself a swivel handle filter wrench, a spark plug wrench, a brake bleeder, and some anti-seize lubricant).  Of course, anyone who can afford a Mercedes can likely pay the tab for its check-ups.  Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a little longer to get your hands on a 2012 B-Class since they won’t be available for purchase until November.  But check out the auto show coverage in the meantime to get a closer look.

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