|The B-MAX. Click to enlarge.|
Ford introduced its new new B-MAX concept vehicle at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, providing an early preview of its plans for the European small car market. The key innovation on the B-MAX is the adoption of an integrated B-pillar door concept. This new body design eliminates the traditional B-pillar structure at the trailing edge of the front door, which connects the roof to the floor. Instead, the body side features an integrated B-pillar, and access to the interior is via a conventional front door or a rear sliding door, each of which can open independently. This format has already been engineered for production.
To deliver the required performance in side impacts, the structure of both front and rear doors has been significantly strengthened, with ultra-high-strength Boron steel in key load-bearing areas, so that the door frames work together to absorb energy like a ‘virtual B pillar’.
Special safety interlocks and reinforced latch mechanisms ensure that the doors remain firmly fixed to the roof and floor structure during an impact, and enable the front and rear doors to act together to protect the occupants. These measures are combined with other structural enhancements to the bodyshell.
The B-MAX is powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-liter Ford EcoBoost gasoline engine equipped with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system. This three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine was first previewed in the Start concept vehicle displayed at the Beijing Motor Show in 2010, and represents the next addition to the global family of Ford EcoBoost engines. (Earlier post.)
Like the 1.6- and 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engines, which have recently been launched in Ford’s European medium and large cars, the 1.0-liter unit combines direct fuel injection, turbocharging and twin independent variable cam timing to achieve significant reductions in fuel-consumption and CO2 emissions.
Designed to replace larger conventional four-cylinder gasoline engines, the three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine is undergoing final development prior to its production launch.
Based on Ford’s global B-car platform—shared with the new Fiesta—the B-MAX is 11 cm longer than the Fiesta five-door, and is 32 cm shorter than the new C-MAX. With this highly compact footprint, the B-MAX is placed to meet demand for downsized cars which are better suited to congested urban conditions, but without sacrificing interior space and comfort, Ford says.