378bhp Mercedes B-Class revealed

Mercedes-Benz B-Class MPV gains rear wheel drive and 378bhp. Meet the monster B55 V8

Mercedes has unveiled a 378bhp B-Class. It’s the bright idea of a group of Daimler apprentices, apparently, who thought shoehorning a stocky V8 engine into the front of a mini-MPV to be a brilliant thing to do. And we’re inclined to agree. A regular diesel B200 had its sensible power source removed, a 5.5-litre V8 from the E500 taking its place. The B55 serves up 378bhp and and 391lb ft of torque, which are sent to the rear wheels (after a conversion from front-wheel drive) via Merc’s seven-speed G-tronic gearbox. Top speed is limited to 155mph though 0-62mph takes just 5.2sec – around half a second quicker than a 345bhp Ford Focus RS500 manages, putting it in prime position to be the quickest hot hatchback on sale. Though sadly (and all too predictably) the Mercedes B55 is not for sale – it’s a one-off for now. But with an all-new B-Class due in the near future, keep your fingers crossed those dozen apprentices can influence their bosses further…

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