The new B-Class, in A-Class of it’s own
Mercedes Benz has a knack for setting very high standards, leaving their competitors gasping for breath. The new B-Class is a reflection of rare and sheer brilliance in motoring engineering perfection cascaded to meet the tastes of the young and the old.
For the uninitiated, the carefully designed specification has been extended to meet the challenges on the road. Simply put, this is an A-Class must-drive.
The newest head turner can be best described as Agile - space and dynamics abound; Efficient - drive system with new engines and dual clutch transmission; Safe - radar-based collision warning system as standard; PRE-SAFE®, featuring for the first time and Sensational - outstanding aerodynamics set a new benchmark in the segment.
Substantially, 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.
“The new generation is the first model in the history of Mercedes-Benz to have ever seen so many new developments introduced at any one time,” says vice president, sales and marketing, Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Eckart Mayer, adding that: “Our B-Class customers will benefit from this quantum leap in terms of exemplary low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions combined with driving enjoyment, ample space and the highest standards of safety levels available in this class.”
The new ride features new petrol and diesel engines as well as new manual and automatic transmissions.
Sporty, elegant design and high-quality materials set the tone in the interior of the new B-Class as the layout is so clear that the driver can concentrate on something that is perhaps not as attractive but certainly more important - the traffic.
The B-Class fuel consumption undercuts its predecessor by up to 21%. All the engines have been developed in-house and the diesel models now run on 4.4litres per 100km (116 - 138 CO2 g/km) – their predecessors required 5.2litres per 100km.
The car’s interior consists of a three-dimensional trim covering the entire dashboard, which strikes the eye on view. It is available in four variants, covering a broad spectrum from modern through sporty to classic. The three large round vents in the middle and their uniquely designed cruciform nozzles add a sporty attribute to the interior’s emotional design idiom.
The display, which is available in two sizes (147 and 178 mm), appears to hover over the vents. With its stylish design – the trim frame with galvanised finish contrasting the piano black of the front panel – and slender lines, the colour display (TFT) is a highly attractive feature in the cockpit.
Exterior design: Perfect space, attractive guise
The new sportiness and the outstanding aerodynamics are particularly evident in the side line - the bonnet flows seamlessly into the A-pillar and the roof line descends sleekly to the striking roof spoiler.
The roof features a swage line, which lends the vehicle a longer appearance. The pronounced wheel arches offset by dynamic feature lines under the beltline are a sporty interpretation of the current design line from Mercedes-Benz. The bottom edge of the body features dynamic side skirts, which lend the vehicle a light touch to its appearance.
New concept: Lower overall height but more space inside
The new concept underscores the dynamic aspirations of the new B-Class. The most striking aspect is the reduced height - at 1557mm, the new model crouches almost five centimetres lower on the road than its predecessor. The seat height has also been reduced (minus 86mm).
In response to requests from many customers, the sitting position is more upright. At the same time, the headroom has been further improved. With maximum headroom of 1047mm at the front (without sliding roof), the B-Class is among the most spacious cars in its segment in this discipline, too. The ergonomically expedient more upright sitting position in combination with a lowering of the vehicle’s floor at the rear leads to a segment-leading degree of legroom (976mm).
The B-Class is optionally available with the so-called EASY-VARIO-PLUS system, which enables simple reorganisation of the interior so as to enable the transportation of bulky items.
Interior design: Superior quality, new dimension
The interior of the B-Class defines a whole new benchmark in the compact segment punctuated by high-quality materials and finely structured surfaces, stylish details, precision workmanship and a new spaciousness.
Many features have been the reserve of higher classes of vehicles and embody Mercedes-Benz’s special understanding of quality and aesthetics. The dashboard is optionally available in ARTICO leather finish with stitching. Three equipment packages (Sports, Exclusive and Night package) enable individualisation according to personal tastes.
In the interior, the large, three-dimensional trim covering the entire dashboard first strikes the eye. It is available in four variants, covering a broad spectrum from modern through sporty to classic.
The drive: Maximum efficiency
Common features of the new drive systems are the use of state-of-the-art technologies for maximum efficiency, very smooth running, high tractive power right from low revs, sustainability in terms of impending emissions standards and low weight. For purposes of transverse installation, the engines, all of which are turbocharged and the two transmissions are very compactly designed, providing the B-Class with an exemplary small turning circle for a front-wheel drive vehicle of 11metres.
The car’s engine and transmission suspension disposes of a four-point mounting system comprising of engine mount, transmission mount and two self-aligning supports. This suspension system has been designed specifically to meet the requirements of the high-torque engines with regard to minimum noise levels. The hydraulic damping integrated in the transmission mount is a key contributory factor to the exceptionally high ride comfort.
As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the new B-Class comes standard with MobiloDrive six years/120000km maintenance contract. PF