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Mercedes-Benz has officially released details regarding the new B-Class and the brands plans to release a dedicated 'eco' version as well as offer four-wheel drive and a range of alternatively powered models after the initial launch.

The vehicle has been lowered by 30mm to improve sportier handling and beneath the passenger cell, an 'energy space' has been engineered between the floor and the under-tray to store batteries, Compressed Natural Gas tanks and fuel cells in the planned electric, hydrogen and hybrid variants due out in 2013/13.

An entirely new gas and heavily revised diesel engine will be available as well. A gas powered direct injection 1.6-liter turbo engine will be available with either 123-hp or 154-hp with a larger turbo joining the range later next year.

The diesel engine will be a smaller lighter version of the 2.1-liter powerplant from the current C-Class range, displacing 1.8-liters and producing 108 or 134-hp. A "Sport" package will also be available offering a quicker steering rack, 20mm lower suspension and passive adjustable dampers. The B-Class will be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show with sales beginning in Europe this fall and the UK receiving the car in the spring of 2012.

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