2011 Geneva Motor Show Preview: 2011 Ford B-MAX

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 28, 2011

The Ford B-MAX, fitted with the latest innovations from the brand for the small car market, had its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011. This model removes the traditional B pillar that is typical for this type of car and features twin sliding doors in the rear resulting in a new and unique body design. In addition, the stylish and dynamic form of the B-MAX shows how the kinetic design language of Ford can be turned into a new vehicle format.

This particular innovation is also evident in the cabin especially with the interior offering excellent versatility and space not seen in compact cars. Ford’s use of high-quality materials shows that practical and small cars can in fact be well-equipped and be comfortable as well. The B-car series shares a platform with the Fiesta. Measuring more than 4 meters, the B-MAX is longer than the Fiesta by 11 cm but shorter than the C-MAX by 32 cm.

The B-MAX is compact and can meet the ever increasing demand for downsized cars that are better suited for use in urban conditions but not at the expense of comfort and space. When the front and rear doors are both opened, it allows access to the interior with an aperture of more than 1.5 meters wide. This is more than twice what is offered by its competitors that offer alternative door concepts.

This means that the B-MAX allows easy and better access to the rear seats as well as attending to children in the child seats. Loading shopping bags is also easy. The rear seats and front passenger seat can both be folded in a 60/40 split to create a flat road floor, and with a side access, makes it easier to load items like furniture or bicycle conveniently. If the front passenger seat is folded, the interior can accommodate loads measuring up to 2.35 meters. Being taller than the Fiesta, the B-MAX can allow for generous accommodation for the different occupants. The driver can also benefit from having a higher seating position and the headroom and legroom on the rear seat is increased.

In order to develop the B-pillar body of the B-MAX for production, the engineers at Ford made sure that it can deliver the same level of crash protection expected from Ford products. The structure of the front and rear doors of the B-MAX has been strengthened with ultra-high-strength Boron steel and placed in important load-bearing areas. Together with door frames that are able to absorb energy, this gives the B-MAX the required performance during side impacts.

Special safety interlocks coupled with reinforced latch mechanisms make sure that even during an impact, the doors of the B-MAX continue to be fixed to both the floor and the door. It also allows the rear and front doors together to protect the occupants inside. It comes as no surprise then that when all of these are combined and with the addition of structural enhancements in the bodyshell and the latest in restraint system technologies, the B-MAX is able to meet the highest standards in vehicle safety.

The kinetic design language of the B-MAX results in a car that has its very own unique features and is a good addition to the already distinct characteristic of the MAV line-up. The front-end features of the B-MAX are seen as a new and bold interpretation of the brand’s signature trapezoidal grille. Other distinctive design elements include the muscular shoulder line that has a powerful undercut; strong headlamp graphics; prominent wheel lips; and a window line that has the kick-up behind its rear doors.

Due to the 3D surfacing of its body sides, the B-MAX is able to avoid the block and tall look that is all too common for this kind of car. Furthermore, it has been given a new rocker treatment and boasts a “zig-zag” style form on the rear doors as well. Other features of the B-MAX like the wraparound tailgate glass, window graphics, and slim tail lamps that are split by the tailgate may remind buyers of the S-MAX. The horizontal feature lines are strong, emphasizing the width and confident stance of the B-MAX.

The B-MAX has an ultra-low CO2 powertrain that has the state of the art 3-cylinder and 1 liter Ford EcoBoost petrol engine with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system. The Ford EcoBoost used in this model is similar to the usual Ford EcoBoost engines like the 1.6 and 2.0. This is made possible through a combination of turbocharging, fuel injection, and twin independent variables that can reduce fuel consumption, among many others.

Press Release

Global reveal of the Ford B-MAX at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show

Ford is unveiling its dramatic new B-MAX vehicle at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, providing an early preview of exciting innovations from Ford in the small car market.

The B-MAX has a unique new body design which eliminates the traditional B pillar and features twin rear sliding doors. This innovative format – which has already been engineered for production – promises best-in-class access to the cabin, together with unmatched convenience and flexibility.

The dynamic and stylish new B-MAX illustrates how Ford's kinetic design language can be translated to a unique new vehicle format.The innovation continues inside the cabin, where the interior offers exceptional space and versatility for such a compact vehicle. The use of high quality materials highlights the vision that small, practical cars can also be comfortable and well-equipped.

"With its highly popular S-MAX and Galaxy, and more recently the all-new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX, Ford has a proven history of bringing innovation and style to the multi-activity vehicle market," said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe.

"The new B-MAX signals that Ford is ready to bring the same bold thinking to the small car market. With its unique door format and dynamic design, the B-MAX sends a strong message that customers looking for a compact, stylish and versatile vehicle will soon have an exciting new choice."

New vision for compact vehicles

Based on Ford's global B-car platform – shared with the highly successful new Fiesta – the B-MAX is slightly more than four metres in length, the B-MAX is just 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 ideally placed to meet the fast-growing demand for downsized cars which are better suited to congested urban conditions, but without sacrificing interior space and comfort.

"With the B-MAX we set out to create a vehicle that captures the spirit of a smaller
S-MAX," said Martin Smith, Ford of Europe's executive design director. "We wanted to show that a small car could be very spacious and practical inside, while still having the sleek, dynamic appearance that has made the S-MAX so popular."

Unmatched interior versatility

With both front and rear doors open there is outstanding access to the interior, with a huge, clear aperture measuring over 1.5 metres wide. This is around twice the width offered by competitors with alternative door concepts, making it significantly easier to enter or exit the rear seats, attend to children in child seats, or load shopping.

Having folded the 60/40 split rear seats and the front passenger seat to create an extensive flat load floor, the side access is particularly convenient to load bulky items such as flat-pack furniture or even a bicycle.

With the front passenger seat folded, the interior is capable of swallowing exceptionally long loads measuring up to 2.35 metres in length.

Sitting 11cm taller than Fiesta, the B-MAX also provides extremely generous accommodation for its occupants. Drivers benefit from a higher 'command' seating position, while rear seat legroom and headroom is significantly improved.

Engineered for outstanding safety

In developing the B-MAX's unique integrated B-pillar body design for production, Ford engineers have ensured that it delivers the same outstanding levels of crash protection as Ford products with a more conventional structure.

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.

When these measures are combined with other structural enhancements to the bodyshell and the latest restraint system technologies, the result is a body design which meets the highest safety standards.

Compact, sporty and stylish

The exterior design of the B-MAX shows how Ford's kinetic design language can be applied to its unique new vehicle format, creating a compact, sporty and stylish car which adds its own distinctive character to Ford's popular MAV line-up.

The vehicle's striking front-end features a bold new interpretation of Ford's signature trapezoidal grille. Other distinctive kinetic design elements include strong headlamp graphics, the muscular shoulder line with its powerful undercut, a characteristic window line with its kick-up behind the rear doors, and the prominent wheel lips.

The bold three-dimensional surfacing of the body sides helps to avoid the tall, blocky look which is common in this class of vehicle, and includes a unique new rocker treatment, with a stylish 'zig-zag' form on the rear doors.

With its distinctive window graphic, wraparound tailgate glass, and slim tail lamps split by the tailgate, the rear of the B-MAX is closely reminiscent of the S-MAX. Strong horizontal feature lines help to emphasis the vehicle's wide and confident stance.

Spacious premium interior

The cabin retains the dynamic, sporty feel of Ford's small-car interiors, but introduces the more premium character and decorative elements from the larger C-MAX.

Driver controls are based on Ford's HMI (Human Machine Interface) approach, with a large six-inch touch screen display mounted in the centre of the upper IP, above the much-acclaimed mobile-phone style integrated control panel.

The sensation of space in the interior is enhanced by a full-size panoramic glass roof, which covers the entire roof area.

Ultra-low CO2 powertrain

The B-MAX is powered by an ultra-low-CO2 powertrain, featuring a state-of-the-art three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ford EcoBoost petrol engine equipped with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system.

This three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost represents the next addition to the global family of Ford EcoBoost engines. 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-litre 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 petrol engines, the three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine is undergoing final development prior to its production launch.

"The B-MAX demonstrates Ford's commitment to providing customers with exciting and innovative vehicles," said Stephen Odell. "We believe that the new concepts and technologies it showcases will have a major impact on the small car market."

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