Update: BAIC reveals the BC301Z. Mercedes' IP lawyers set to pounce . . .

No, not the Mercedes-Benz B-class.
It's the BAIC BC301Z . . .
Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) has revealed its new BC301Z - the controversial copy of the Mercedes-Benz B-class to be sold in China from early 2011.

We’re not exactly sure what Mercedes-Benz makes of the BAIC BC301Z.

Earlier requests for an official comment on the new five seat MPV, which mirrors the appearance of the B-class down to the finest of details – both in terms of its exterior and interior styling, have gone unanswered.

BAIC and Mercedes-Benz operate a successful joint venture out of a plant in Beijing, producing the C-class and a long-wheel base version of the E-class. But Mercedes-Benz says the BC301Z is not part of any deal with BAIC.

Despite the obvious visual similarities, the BC301Z is a good deal smaller than the B-class. Measuring 4038mm in length, 1720mm in width and 1500mm in height, the new BAIC model is 232mm shorter, 55mm narrower and stands 105mm closer to the ground than the six-year-old Mercedes-Benz. It also rides on a 280mm shorter wheelbase at 2500mm.

The BC301Z comes with the choice of two four-cylinder gasoline engines produced under licence from Mitsubishi. Included is a 1.3-litre unit with 99bhp and a 1.5-litre with 113bhp. Along with the MPV version seen here, BAIC is also planning a sedan called the BC302Z and an as yet uncorfirmed third body style that is set to get the name BC303Z.

Further pictures after the jump . . .

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