Mercedes-Benz B55 Concept
Trainees build a very special B-Class; Fulminating one-off: B 55 with a V8 engine and 388 hp. Spacious, innovative and safe, the compact models of the Mercedes A and B-Class score with their high practicality, and have found favor with more than 2.5 million customers as a result. An extraordinary one-off example has now been built at the Rastatt plant, and shows the B-Class in a completely new light: a B 55 with a V8 engine and rear-wheel drive.
The idea came from the Rastatt plant manager, Peter Wesp. He gave some of his staff the task of creating a very special vehicle on the basis of the B-Class – leaving it to their creativity to decide what and how. Andreas Würz, a foreman in the technical vocational training department, immediately took up the challenge. He took a very close look at this large compact model, enlisted the aid of a tape-measure and came up with an idea that not only surprised and delighted his boss and colleagues, but also the trainees: "Actually it should be possible to fit a V8 into the engine compartment.“
Together with his fellow-foreman Matthias Rieger from the electrics/electronics installation section, he assembled a team of twelve second-year and third-year trainees specializing in production mechanics and automotive mechatronics.
A book of specifications was drawn up:
The spatial concept of the B-Class was to remain unchanged.
On the outside too, there were only to be minor indications of the conversion work.
The interior was to be upgraded in line with the new vehicle class being aspired to.
And the result of the conversion was to be in large measure suitable
for day-to-day driving.
HR manager Martin Spicale promised financial support, which made the project a feasible proposition in the first place. And a "victim" (Würz) for the conversion was also soon found: a B 200 CDI which had anyway been delegated to the training workshop for learning purposes. While the trainees completely disassembled the car, Würz went in search of a suitable engine and found what he was looking for. And no mistake: the 5.5-litre V8 developing 285 kW (388 hp) and 530 newton meters of torque was transplanted into the B-Class together with a seven-speed automatic transmission and the engine control unit. The latter proved to be quite a headache later on, as it had to be reprogrammed only to process signals from the driven rear axle.
Source: Mercedes-Benz press