Mercedes’ A-grade B-class revolution


2010-mercedes-benz-b-class-1MERCEDES-BENZ is expected to unveil its next-generation B-class small car in 2011 with an all-new front-wheel-drive platform that might include a relatively affordable two-seater convertible.

However, while the Concept BlueZero show car displayed at last week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit is the strongest indicator yet as to what the blocky five-door hatchback will look like, GoAuto has learned that the “eco” versions of the next B-class will diverge from the regular internal combustion versions by retaining the old sandwich-style platform.

Little is known about the new front-wheel-drive architecture – which should also find its way under the 2011 A-class replacement – other than that the lack of the controversial sandwich floor should improve space efficiency in the car, result in less boxy designs and lower the centre of gravity for improved dynamic capabilities.

The latter should get a fillip with the expected adoption of a more sophisticated multi-link independent rear suspension to take on the sportier BMW 1 Series, instead of the current B-class’ parabolic rear axle and coil springs arrangement.

All-wheel and even rear-wheel-drive capability is believed to have been developed for the new platform, although it should feature a regular transverse-mounted engine.

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