Mercedes-Benz unveiled its second-generation B-Class at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show along with a concept for an E-Cell version of the front-wheel drive compact sport tourer.
The new B-Class is almost two inches shorter than the previous version yet has more leg room thanks to a lowered floor. The seats are also more upright but still offer a lot of head room.
European customers will have the choice of two new gasoline and two diesel options, all with ECO start/stop. The turbocharged 1.6 liter B 180 offers 122 hp while the B 200 version offers 156 hp. The 1.8 liter diesel options include the B 180 CDI with 109 hp and the B 200 CDI with 136 hp. B-class models will come with either a 6-speed manual transmission or a new 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
New safety features include a radar-based collision warning system with brake assist designed to reduce rear-end collisions. Other features include adaptive headlamp assist, blind spot and lane keeping assists, a reversing camera, active parking assist and the Pre-Safe preventive occupant protective system. First introduced in S-Class models in 2002, the Pre-Safe system automatically tightens seat belts and closes side windows and the sliding sun roof in emergency situations.
Mercedes-Benz also introduced an E-Cell Plus electric concept version of the B-class with a range extender. The B-Class E-Cell Plus’ lithium-ion battery provides a range of 100 km (62 miles) on electric power with the three-cylinder gasoline-powered engine extends the range to 600 km (372 miles). Mercedes-Benz plans to produce the B-Class E-Cell Plus in 2014.