Mercedes B-class (2012): the first look inside

Published: 29 July 2011

Mercedes is giving its new small car range a much more modern cabin. This first official photo inside the new 2012 Merc B-class reveals a cockpit with distinctive round air vents from the SLK and a heavily stylised dashboard.

We've been to Mercedes' Italian design studio to sit inside the new B-class and can report it's a much slicker affair inside. It feels more like a baby E-class with rounder, more playful forms than today's sober-suited, grown-up B-class cabin.

Chief of the Lake Como design studio Michele Jauch-Paganetti said the new B was designed to inject some spice into the staid current B-class.

So what's the new Mercedes B-class like inside?

It's still very roomy, and there's plenty of space front and back. A six-footer will sit behind a tall adult. There is a small transmission tunnel, however.

The materials are classy and it feels like a much bigger Merc inside. The wheel is the same as a CLS's, those air vents snaffled from an SLK. Pick an auto and the gearlever sprouts from the right hand side of the steering column.

The multimedia display is interesting: it's fixed and looks like - and was shamelessly modelled upon - an Apple iPad. 'It's like televisions; we used to lock them away in cupboards, but now we're proud of our flat screen tech,' said Jauch-Paganetti.

He said in future Merc screens would be fixed in place like on the B-class. It's run by an upgraded Comand system multi-function controller.

Take note of this B-class cabin: the same basic architecture and layout will resurface on the new A-class next year, the planned baby coupe and the junior 4x4 all spun off the new small car platform, called MFA (for Mercedes Front-wheel drive Architecture).

What does the B-class look like?

That's still top secret. It'll be an evolution of today's shape, as the B-class remains a taller, roomier mini MPV and the new A-class - arriving in later 2012 - becomes a more traditional Golf rival.

We were walked through a darkened room to sit in the B-class, but in the gloom it looks like a wedgier, sleeker take on today's car.

We'll find out for sure on 13 September at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet