The regular Mercedes-Benz B-Class wasn’t exactly created with the motoring enthusiast’s needs in mind, but this one-off B55 special is another story. Trainees of Mercedes-Benzs Rastatt plant in Germany turned a B200 CDI diesel model into a full-blown sports car by planting in a 388 hp 5.5-liter V8 and transferring the drive from the front axle to the rear.
The idea of the project came from plant manager, Peter Wesp, while the execution fell on the shoulders of foremen Andreas Würz and Matt Rieger and a team of twelve second and third-year trainees specializing in production mechanics and automotive mechatronics.
The team aimed to fulfill several goals, drawn up in a book of specifications. According to the plan, the spatial concept as well as the body of the B-Class were to remain unchanged. The interior, however, was to be upgraded to reflect the newly acquired qualities and the overall goal was to create a vehicle suitable for everyday driving.
While fitting the powerplant into the rather small engine bay wasn’t the hardest part of the build – the team was able to use the original engine mounts, installing other parts proved to be more difficult than anticipated. That was the case with the engine control unit, which had to be reprogrammed only to process signals from the rear axle, and the steering as well. Fortunately, by combining various replacement parts and doing a fair share of modifications, engineers were able to solve all problems.
The rear axle was sourced from a W210 E-Class and suitable brakes were found in the C32 AMG replacement parts catalogue. The B55 rides on 18-inch AMG alloys, shod in 235/50 front and 255/35 rear tires. The final performance upgrade is comprised of a K&W-sourced coil-over suspension.
Fellow trainees from the Sindelfingen plant helped modifying the interior, which was upgraded with sport seats and steering wheel, Alcantara linings and other, more luxurious materials.
The end result is a low-key, but definitely high-performance B-Class, which only weighs 180 kg (397 lbs) more than the stock model. With 530 Nm (391 lb-ft) on tap, the B55 accelerates like no other B-Class before it and can also do some pretty sweet burnouts.
“We have not made any measurements yet, but we should manage a sprint to 100 km/h in under six seconds”, said Andreas Würz.
The B55 may notr see the mass-production line, but the project's officials didn’t rule out the possibility of other similar conversions.
Check out the video below for some... smoky action from the Mercedes-Benz B55.
By Csaba Daradics