CAR reader Phil Wright was in the right place at the right time when he spotted the new Mercedes B-class half a year ahead of its planned debut.
Stuttgart is home to Mercedes and Porsche, so it's a great scoop hunting ground. It bore fruit for Phil when this heavily disguised B-class zoomed past him in the street - and he managed to rattle off these spy shots before it disappeared.
The new Merc A- and B-class
'Saw this car testing in Stuttgart,' said Phil. 'Maybe the replacement for the Mercedes-Benz A-class?'
Got it in one, Phil. Although this is in fact the bigger B-class, we reckon. The new B-class arrives first and should be seen at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show this autumn, before sales roll out next year. The A-class lands in 2012.
Both junk the complex sandwich floor for a new platform dubbed Mercedes Front-wheel drive Architecture (MFA). The A-class is dubbed W176 and the B-class W246 and they'll be bigger this time: the A is around 4280mm long, the B 4360mm. Merc's new small cars are taking on the Golf set.
What else do we know about the new A-class?
In an interview with CAR at the 2011 Geneva motor show this week, Dr Dieter Zetsche told us the new A- and B- twins would again be co-developed, but the range would expand this time to include additional bodystyles.
That confirms the bigger range of small cars previously reported by CAR, and set to include a CLC coupe, the X156 BLK baby crossover and a shooting brake tourer dubbed X117.
Zetsche scotched rumours that the EV version of the new A-class had been scrapped.