The first spy pictures of the next-generation 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class have surfaced showing a sportier car than we are used to. Rumours speak of extra variants like a coupe and cabriolet.

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class (codename W245) has been in production since 2005 and it experienced a facelift in 2008. Coming soon in 2011 an all-new model hits the streets. These spy pictures reveal a longer vehicle than the current one as well as a roofline that doesn't slope to the rear. Instead it's the window line which flows lower as it approaches the front end.

Because it replaces both the current A and B-Class, Mercedes-Benz is said to be planning a number of variants including a coupe cabriolet, a sporty hatch (subject of these photos) and a five-door coupe. Only the hatch has been confirmed though.

Power sources will include turbo petrols and diesels, while hybrid and fuel cell models will be added to the line-up. At the moment the most potent is the 2.0-litre powered B200 Turbo worth 145kW (197hp) and 280Nm of torque.

Rumours indicate for the first time the B-Class will also be available to US consumers. 

The BlueZero concept which appeared in near production form in Detroit earlier this year is widely believed to foreshadow the overall design of the 2012 B-Class.