|Most extreme Mercedes-Benz B-class|
yet - the 388bhp B55
Called the B55, the rapid new MPV has been created by a group of trainees at Mercedes-Benz’s Rastatt factory in Germany as part of a long term in-house engineering program.
But that’s not all! The B55 also dispenses with the standard B-class’s front-wheel drive layout, receiving Mercedes-Benz’s seven speed 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox, specially modified propeller shaft and rear axle assembly from the decade old E430 to turn it into a bitumen shredding rear wheel drive excess.
The new driveline and associated changes, including the adoption of brakes from the old C32 AMG, adds 573lb (260kg) to the B55’s weight, taking it up to 3571lb (1620kg). Mercedes-Benz isn’t quoting any performance numbers right now but Andreas Wurz, the man credited with the idea to squeeze the new engine into the compact confines of the B-class’s engine bay, says it’s good for 0-62mph (100km/h) “in around 5.0sec” or half of that quoted for the B200 CDI.
The B55 rides on a heavily reworked suspension; MacPherson struts are retained up front but the B-class’s torsion beam rear end has been replaced by a multi-link arrangement from the old E-class. It all sits much lower than the standard B-class, giving the B55 a sportying, hunkered down appearance that's further ascentuated by a set of 18-inch wheels wearing 235/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires and a pair of centrally mounted tail-pipes.
Sadly, Mercedes-Benz says there are no plans to place the B55 to production. “It’s just a bit of fun,” says Wurz.