Spotted: Mercedes-Benz B-Class on Californian Highway

Let the speculation continue: these spy photos from a reader in California show a Mercedes-Benz B-Class hatchback testing on American highways. Although there is no confirmation from Mercedes, this does suggest to us that the new B-Class may indeed be slated for American dealerships.

Most of the body is slathered in matte camouflage tape, but it’s clear that this car has the same basic shape as the B-Class we recently spied testing in Europe. The hatchback is built on Mercedes’s Front Architecture chassis, which also underpins the new A-Class. The A-Class is smaller and Mercedes has already given it the green light to be sold in the States.

Small hatchback it may be, but the B-Class won’t be an economy car. Mercedes plans to stuff the B with the sorts of high-end technologies normally reserved for higher models like the S-Class. Safety features like Collision Prevention Assist, Brake Assist, Torque Vectoring Brake, and others will all be on the B-Class options list.

As for power, Mercedes has so far announced four engines for the European market. Gasoline versions encompass a 122-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four, and a 156-hp 2.0-liter turbo. Two turbodiesel engines each displace 1.8 liters, but produce 109 hp and 136 hp respectively. If and when the B-Class is readied for sale on our shores, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether those engines would carry over.

For now we don’t really know whether the Mercedes B-Class will be sold in the U.S. Given the range of foreign hatchbacks invading our dealerships, and the fact that the A-Class will bow here after 2012, we’d say it’s a strong possibility the B-Class will arrive in the American market.

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