SPY - 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Klasse - new photos + the story of the future Mercedes small/compact car range

The future Mercedes-Benz B-Klasse, set to make its public debut in 2011, is just one of the many models Mercedes-Benz is to include in its completely new range of small and compact cars.

The testing of the 2012 B-Klasse commenced this year;now, the car has reached the icy landscapes of Northern Scandinavia for a tough session of cold weather testing.

The test prototype seen in the spy pics is clearly the new B-Klasse, codenamed W256;it will be sporting the same 5-door, MPV architecture, which has been slightly altered as to become more dynamic.

Apart from the W256, Mercedes-Benz will also launch a sporty, 3-door model(W 176) in 2012. Apparently, the Stuttgart constructor decided to drop the A-Klasse designation and, instead, opt for a new one that is to sit on the new 3-door coupe. CLA-Klasse might be on their minds.

The X 156 project is the competitor for the new BMW X1 and for the forthcoming Audi Q3. We are talking about the compact SUV BLK-Klasse, to be unveiled in 2011.

The biggest surprise of the new small/compact range will be a 4-door coupe, or, in other terms, a true baby CLS. The new car will be most probably badged BLC(C 117)-not BLS, as this moniker belongs to Cadillac;this new niche model will be unveiled in 2012 and should reach an overall length of 4.5 metres. The aesthetiques will mimic that of the future CLS, whereas the dashboard will display an appealing design, with premium materials to be used, in pure Mercedes style. Moreover, the interior will be roomier than those of its direct competitors;the technical platform for the BLC will be a new one and will be offered in RWD mode as standard, with 4MATIC on the option list. Power will come from a new generation of diesel and petrol engines, that are under development:

- the diesel units(OM645) will feature a lightweight construction, as the engine block will be built from aluminium, thus ensuring a 30 kilos weight loss;

- the new petrol engines(M274) will feature direct injection;power transfer will be ensured via a new 7-speed, double clutch automatic gearbox.

Mercedes-Benz is also preparing a full hybrid B-Klasse model, to be offered in 2 combinations-diesel engine+electric motor / petrol burner+electric motor = over 600 km of autonomy;in full electric mode, the autonomy will equal 80 km. This eco-friendly model should come somewhere in 2013. Expect a fuel-cell model to also make its debut;it will be sold in a limited series up to 2017;estimated autonomy=425 km.

Last, but not least, the assembly plants chosen to build the new small and compact Mercedes-Benz models are the facilities in Rastatt(Germany) and Kecskemet(Hungary).

Source of the photos >> WorldCarFans

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