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Junior Merc-anics build a sporty B

2010-12-31 08:56

LOST AMG? All that's missing is the badge... This B-Class is a dicing granny's dream.

What happens when you hand a B-Class to a group of petrolhead Merc trainees and leave them to tinker about? That’s right – they squeeze a 5.5-litre V8 into it.

So, the brief from Mercedes-Benz’s Rastatt, Germany, plant manager Peter Wesp to Andreas Würz, a foreman in the technical vocational training department was simple; use the basis of a regular B-Class and create something special from it. 

Würz's immediate response? “Let’s put a V8 into the engine compartment.”

And there starts the story of a most unusual once-off project. The little Mercedes-Benz B-Class at the absolute mercy of a group of second- and third-year trainees in production mechanics and automaotive mechatronics and their gleeful trainers.

EASY AS PIE


The rules were simple, too. The “spatial concept” of the B-Class couldn’t be touched and the car’s exterior could show very little sign of the conversion work that had been done. The interior was to be upgraded and the final car had to be capable of dealing with day-to-day driving tasks.

A B 200 CDI was allocated to the training workshop for “learning purposes”. The trainees promptly disassembled the car while a suitable engine, in the form of a 289kW/530Nm 5.5-litre V8, was sourced.

With a few minor adjustments and reprogrammings, the V8 including its engine control unit and seven-speed automatic transmission were transplanted into the B-Class.

A rear drive axle problem was remedied by designing a subframe around the rear axle of an older W210 E-Class and using that on the B-Class instead.

ULTIMATE SLEEPER: Minimal work has been done to the exterior, but the B55 should be good for a sub six-second 0-100km sprint.

Steering niggles were sorted, while the exhaust, seemingly fashioned from odd bits around the workshop, in its final form is said to emit a particularly sonorous burble.

PART AMG, PART MONSTER

Brakes were sourced from a C32 AMG and this B-Class rolls on stylish 18-inch AMG sports alloys. 

The B55’s cabin is a mix of opulent Alcantara and leather combinations, while its exterior is finished in white to show off the dark-painted grille and smoked headlamp housings.

Interestingly, all the adjustments to the B55 have added just 180kg to its overall weight.

Würz reckons this should be good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of “under six seconds…”
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