The new Mercedes-Benz B-class offers the class you’d expect from the German manufacturer. Apparently, this new B-Class is the ‘most significantly changed Mercedes-Benz model ever introduced’. When the first Mercedes-Benz A- and B-class appeared on the market, the tall compacts offered great practicality but little in terms of material quality or driving enjoyment. Welcome, then, to the second-generation B-class. It’s another high-roof hatchback, but this time it looks far less awkward, is larger, and rides on a new platform for which Mercedes has big plans.
The new B-Class is a typical Mercedes sports tourer, offering plenty of space combined with impressive dynamic performance as a hatchback saloon. The characteristic lines of the exterior design indicate both of these attributes: front and rear sport a width-emphasizing design, with a wide, prominent grille and headlamps extending along the sides at the front while the rear end features a wide rear window, two-piece tail lights with horizontally offset meander and a large tailgate with low loading sill.
An outstanding drag coefficient of cd = 0.26 places the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class at the forefront of its market segment. Apart from the aerodynamic exterior design, numerous optimisation measures on points of detail such as the air flow around the front wheels, the underbody design and the cooling air flow are also crucial contributory factors to this excellent aerodynamic performance. Patents are pending for innovative details such as the serrated wheel arch spoiler.
High-quality materials and finely structured surfaces, stylish details, precision workmanship and a new spaciousness – the interior of the B-Class defines a whole new benchmark in the compact segment.
The front seats have been made considerably more upright and the steering wheel less vertical. It means a more relaxed driving position. It all adds up to a greater level of perceived comfort even before you’ve turned the key.
What hits you the minute you slip into the easily accessible cabin is the fantastic quality of materials. It’s a practical cabin – storage space is adequate, with big door pockets, two reasonably big cubbyholes on the centre console and a rather big glovebox. Many features have been the reserve of higher classes of vehicle to date and embody Mercedes-Benz’s special definition of quality and aesthetics. Four equipment packages (Chrome, Sports, Exclusive and Night package) enable individualisation according to personal tastes.
The « Comand Online » multimedia system offers internet access. Customers can either surf the web as they wish while the car is stationary or call up a Mercedes-Benz app whose particularly fast page loading and simple operation make it suitable for use while driving. Integrated apps include Google™ Local Search and Weather, and the facility for downloading a route which has previously been configured on a PC using Google Maps and transmitted to the car.
The fuel consumption of the new B-Class undercuts its predecessor by up to 21 percent. All the engines have been developed in-house. Both diesel models (B 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and B 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY) now run on 4.4 litres per 100 km (114 and 115 g CO2/km respectively) – their predecessors required 5.2 litres per 100 km. The B 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY attains a CO2 value of 115 g/km with automatic transmission – an improvement of 21 percent on its predecessor (146 g/km). The petrol-engine variants have also made great strides: despite a substantial improvement in performance, the B 180 BlueEFFICIENCY and B 200 BlueEFFICIENCY now run on 5.9 litres per 100 km (137 and 138 g CO2/km respectively), undercutting their predecessors by up to twelve percent.
Substantially more agile and efficient, but as comfortable and spacious as ever – the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class is a winner on all fronts. The vehicle’s lower height and more upright seat position provide for a first impression that hints at the compact sports tourer’s dynamic credentials. What is truly impressive is the handling, which certainly has a sporty feel to it. The B-class darts from corner to corner in a way that is incredible for a car with such a long wheelbase. The chassis is brilliantly balanced and there’s a wonderful neutral feel to the handling. The way it puts its power down is very impressive for a front-wheel-drive car too. The turn-in is sharp, the grip is fantastic and the body stays nice and flat, allowing you to push it even harder.
In the B-class, the driver is constantly being monitored. The new COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST brake assist feature is not merely a system intended to minimise minor damage in urban traffic. Rather, this innovative solution is aimed at protecting motorists from typical rear-end collisions in dangerous traffic situations. Mercedes-Benz expects the new safety system to have a significant positive effect on accident statistics.
Great importance has been attached to the safety of the rear occupants. Belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and belt height adjusters come as standard on the outer seats. Driver and co-driver are provided with new pelvis bags which are able to cover the pelvis and the entire upper part of the body. For head protection, a windowbag is fitted as standard.
The B-class corrects many of its predecessor’s mistakes. It’s roomy and cleverly laid out, performs daily chores well, is much more dynamic than its predecessor. This B-Class is the one we’ve always wanted – contemporary in looks and a style which stands-out. And Mercedes Benz has cleverly combined enhanced user-friendliness inside with the brand’s hallmark quality and technology.