Crazy stuff, right? In most circumstances, the simple logistics of fitting big, powerful engines into tiny spaces doesn’t allow such insanity to manifest. Combining wild horsepower with conservative econo-cars is like stuffing a massive government takeover into the Republican agenda. It’s just not gonna happen.
Well, unless you’re a trainee at Mercedes-Benz. Then, by all means, take that big-engine small-car combo and see what kind of craziness you can wring out.
Apparently a foreman in the technical-vocation-training department at Mercedes-Benz had an idea: Assign a handful of trainees the task of squeezing a 5.5-liter, 385-hp V8 from the E550 into the conservative, mild B-Class. Crazy? Impossible? Not so much! In fact, the result may be the coolest little pocket rocket ever made.
The group started with a Euro-spec B200 CDI turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. Workers were able to use the original engine mounts and, for the most part, avoid too much parts-bin raiding. They even retained the original body structure, which is incredible considering the changes lurking beneath the sheet metal.
The soon-to-be-engineers also converted the aptly named B55 from FWD to RWD, installed a new seven-speed automatic tranny, snugged in a rear axle from an E430 and lifted the disc brakes from a C32 AMG. Top it all off with a lowered ride height and 18-inch rims, and you’ve got a car worthy of the collective lust of speed freaks.
Autoweek’s Greg Kable even had the chance to drive this one-off project car and figures a 0-60 time in the low-5-second range. He said,
The result is a driving experience quite unlike any other B-class–unlike any other Mercedes-Benz, for that matter. Without registration for road use, we used Mercedes-Benz’s Rastatt test track to determine that the B55 is more than mere show. It also possesses surprisingly mature dynamic properties. With extra weight over the front axle, distribution definitely favors the front end. But there is sufficient balance and grip to allow you to attack corners with real gusto.
While this example of a tiny car with a big engine will not see production, maybe it’ll inspire others to think along the same lines.
Can you imagine the utterly confused looks from unknowing passers-by as you fired up a rumbling V8 in your Yaris?