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Stylish new Ford B-MAX opens doors to practical solutions for city driving at 2012 Geneva Motor Show
News from Ford
Stylish new Ford B-MAX opens doors to practical solutions for city driving at 2012 Geneva Motor Show

GENEVA, March 5, 2012 – The new Ford B-MAX, revealed today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, features a winning combination of unique design, unrivalled economy and what is among the most advanced small car technology in Europe.

The B-MAX’s Ford Easy Access Door System provides unobstructed entry and exit with hinged front doors and sliding rear doors integrating the central body pillars.

The new model also achieves class-leading fuel economy and the lowest CO2 emissions for both petrol and diesel engines1.

The innovative new B-MAX is the first European car to offer Ford SYNC, Ford’s voice-activated, in-car connectivity system featuring Emergency Assistance, which is designed to assist occupants to place a call to the emergency services in the event of a crash.

It is also the first vehicle in its segment to provide the added reassurance of the Active City Stop system, designed to help motorists avoid low speed collisions with stationary or slower moving traffic in front.

“The Ford B-MAX really challenges traditional small car thinking, and pioneers a concept not attempted by any other manufacturers,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe. "Its ingenious design opens the doors – quite literally – to exciting new ideas about what's possible with a compact vehicle.

“But this is more than just a smart and versatile small car,” he added. “The latest Ford technologies mean the B-MAX is more fun to drive, offers enhanced safety and achieves class-leading fuel economy. It does things which other vehicles simply cannot do. We believe the Ford B-MAX will have a major impact on the market for compact cars.”

New vision for compact vehicles
Based on Ford’s global B-car platform – shared with the highly successful new Fiesta – the B-MAX presents the company’s vision for a premium compact multi-activity vehicle (MAV), combining outstanding space and versatility within a smart and stylish exterior.

Ford’s global small car vehicle line director Joerg Beyer said, “The B-MAX is packed full of innovative thinking, from its unique door concept, to the advanced 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine to the powerful SYNC voice control system. Customers looking for a compact and versatile vehicle now have an exciting new choice.”

The B-MAX is just over 4 metres in length, only 11cm longer than the Fiesta five-door and a full 32cm shorter than the new C-MAX; perfectly placing it to meet the fast-growing demand for downsized cars, suited to congested urban conditions without making any compromise on interior space or passenger comfort.

Unique Ford Easy Access Door System
The unique Ford Easy Access Door System delivers new levels of convenience, access and flexibility. It features conventional, hinged front doors and rear sliding doors, combined in a new body design. This integrates the traditional central pillar structure into the front and rear doors, rather than forming part of the bodyshell itself.

When both front and rear doors are open there is outstanding access to the interior, with a huge, clear aperture more than 1.5 metres wide. This is around twice the width offered by competitors with alternative door concepts and makes it significantly easier to enter or exit the rear seats, attend to children in child seats, or load and unload shopping2.

B-MAX’s twin sliding rear doors also offer added benefits in crowded streets or narrow parking bays when access via hinged doors could be awkward. The front and rear doors can be opened completely independently, so the front or rear cabin can be accessed as required.

Outstanding interior versatility
The B-MAX combines the Ford Easy Access Door System with a flexible and easy-to-use seating system. The 60/40 split rear seats can be folded flat with a simple ‘one-hand, one-motion’ mechanism. The front passenger seat can also be folded, creating an extensive flat load floor from front to rear, capable of swallowing exceptionally long loads measuring up to 2.35 metres in length.

The generous access makes it particularly convenient to load bulky items through the side doors, such as flat-pack furniture or even a bicycle. An adjustable load floor in the boot creates a flat load space when the rear seats are lowered, with extra room underneath for valuable items to be hidden from view.

Drivers benefit from a higher ‘command’ seating position in the B-MAX, whose overall vehicle height is 12cm taller than the Fiesta. This also significantly improves rear seat legroom and headroom.

Engineered for outstanding safety
Ford engineers developed innovative solutions to ensure the B-MAX delivers the same outstanding levels of crash protection as vehicles with a more conventional structure.

“Retaining all the customer benefits of the door system, while maintaining occupant safety performance, was a central focus,” explained Klaus-Peter Tamm, chief programme engineer, Ford of Europe. “With clever engineering solutions – which are the subject of multiple patent applications – the development team has brought an exciting concept to full production.”

The structure of both front and rear doors has been strengthened to deliver required performance in side impacts, with ultra-high-strength Boron steel in key load-bearing areas so the door frames work together to absorb energy like a virtual pillar.

Special safety interlocks and reinforced latch mechanisms help the doors to remain fixed to the roof and floor structure during an impact to enable them to act together to help protect the occupants. This and further structural enhancements to the bodyshell and the latest restraint system technologies create a body which is designed to offer high levels of crash protection.

High-strength and ultra-high-strength steels account for 58 percent of the body and door structure and ensure it is strong and rigid while remaining highly weight-efficient.

Compact, sporty and stylish
Ford has applied kinetic design language to create a compact, sporty and stylish car which adds its own distinctive character to Ford’s MAV line-up.

“We set out to create a vehicle that captures the spirit of the S-MAX, but is smaller,” 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 made the S-MAX so popular.”

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 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 ‘zigzag’ form on the rear doors.

B-MAX is also true to the Ford fun-to-drive DNA with class-leading driving dynamics featuring Torque Vectoring Control for superior traction and agility.

Spacious premium interior
Bold graphics and sculptured surfaces develop the themes found in Ford’s latest small and medium cars. Distinctive features include the slim, wing-like section of the upper instrument panel which reaches out to the door panels, and the prominent centre console, which flows down between the front seats.

High quality, contemporary materials emphasise craftsmanship and detailing, highlighting that small, practical cars can also be comfortable and well-equipped. An optional full-size panoramic glass roof enhances the sensation of space.

Best-in-class fuel economy for petrol and diesel
The B-MAX brings new standards of fuel efficiency to the compact MAV class with Ford’s latest petrol and diesel powertrains equipped with low-CO2 ECOnetic Technologies.

The petrol engine line-up is led by the three-cylinder 1.0-litre Ford EcoBoost petrol engine, available in 100PS and 120PS versions. Equipped with the Ford Auto-Start-Stop system as standard, the 120PS EcoBoost engine achieves class-leading CO2 emissions of 114g/km and fuel consumption of 4.9l/100km (57.6mpg). Other petrol engine options include the 90PS 1.4-litre Duratec unit, or the 105PS 1.6-litre Duratec engine which is paired with Ford’s high-efficiency PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission with advanced dual clutch technology.

B-MAX is available with a choice of two Duratorq TDCi diesel engines; each offering best-in-class fuel efficiency. The 95PS 1.6-litre engine delivers CO2 emissions of 104g/km and fuel consumption of 4.0l/100km (70.6mpg). The 75PS 1.5-litre diesel, closely derived from the 1.6-litre engine, appears for the first time in Ford’s European product range. It achieves CO2 emissions of 109g/km and fuel consumption of 4.1l/100km (68.9mpg).

ECOnetic Technologies fitted as standard to all B-MAX vehicles include Electric Power Assisted Steering, which requires less energy than hydraulic power assisted steering systems, Gear Shift Indicator to highlight the most efficient gear changing points, and the Ford Eco Mode driver information system which helps drivers adopt a more economical driving style. Smart Regenerative Charging, which charges the battery at the most economical point in a journey, is also featured on the 1.0-litre EcoBoost and 1.5/1.6-litre Duratorq engines.

Ford SYNC technology with Emergency Assistance
The B-MAX will be among the most technologically advanced small cars in Europe when it goes on sale in late 2012.

SYNC is an advanced voice control, device integration and connectivity interface. It enables users to connect mobile phones and music players by Bluetooth or USB, make hands-free telephone calls and control music and other functions using voice commands. It can automatically transfer contact information from a connected Bluetooth device to the vehicle, allows calls to contacts to be activated using straight-forward voice commands and reads text messages aloud from phones connected using Bluetooth MAP.

The system is already a huge success in the U.S. and is expected to appear on more than 3.5 million new vehicles in Europe by 2015. SYNC also enables the B-MAX to offer the innovative new Emergency Assistance feature which is designed to assist the occupants to call the local emergency services operator in the event of an accident.

Emergency Assistance is the most advanced system of its type, capable of communicating with emergency services in more than 30 countries and provided to customers free of charge for the life of their vehicle.Through the GPS locator in the vehicle, it is able to ensure communications with the emergency services operator in the correct language throughout Europe to provide peace of mind and potentially life-saving technology to the B-MAX customer.

‘Right-sized’ for modern motoring
The B-MAX features premium technologies demanded by buyers looking to ‘right-size’ their new car. Around 40 percent of B-MAX customers are expected to choose B-MAX after previously owning a larger vehicle.

Comfort features to satisfy these customers include an exclusive eight-speaker Sony audio system, Key Free system, Ford Power Button, Rear View Camera and full leather upholstery with premium embossed leather.

The B-MAX has placed a particular focus on achieving the kind of agility and manoeuvrability which will prove especially valuable in the cut and thrust of city driving.

It is also the first vehicle in its segment to provide the added reassurance of the Active City Stop system, designed to help motorists avoid low speed collisions with stationary or slower moving traffic in front.

“We believe the all-new Ford B-MAX is the right vehicle at the right time,” said Stephen Odell. “Its combination of style, versatility and premium technologies brings something new to the compact car market, and will attract many new customers to the Ford brand.”