Merc B-class re­vealed New tech for prac­ti­cal hatch

Merc MPV fol­lows A-class lead with driver aids, a high-tech cabin and chas­sis tweaks

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -

Mer­cedes-benz has claimed the new B-class of­fers more dy­namic han­dling and com­fort than its pre­de­ces­sor, thanks to tech­nol­ogy and fea­tures taken from the S-class and A-class.

The third gen­er­a­tion of the MPV, de­vel­oped un­der the in­ter­nal co­de­name W247, is the fourth of up to eight new com­pact mod­els to be launched by the com­pany, fol­low­ing the fourth-gen­er­a­tion A-class hatch and sa­loon.

The new B-class re­tains the one-box sil­hou­ette of its pre­de­ces­sors but with a smoother form that re­flects the firm’s lat­est de­sign lan­guage. It also fea­tures the ‘preda­tor face’ seen on the A-class.

The five-seat ri­val to BMW’S 2 Series Ac­tive Tourer is marginally longer (4359mm), wider (1786mm) and taller (1557mm) than its pre­de­ces­sor, with a wheel­base of 2929mm and a re­duced drag co­ef­fi­cient of 0.24. The new B-class has short over­hangs, de­signed to max­imise in­te­rior space, and will be of­fered with wheel sizes rang­ing from 16in to 19in.

When or­der books for the B-class open in De­cem­ber, there will be a choice of five en­gines: two petrol and three diesel. The B180 and B200 will use the four-cylin­der 1.33-litre M282 petrol en­gine, with 134bhp and 148lb ft, and 161bhp and 184lb ft re­spec­tively.

The en­try-level 1.5-litre diesel in the B180d pro­duces 114bhp and 192lb ft. A new 2.0-litre diesel will be avail­able with 147bhp and 236lb ft (B180d) and 188bhp and 295lb ft (B200d). The petrol and 1.5 diesel have seven-speed gear­boxes, with an eight-speed ’box in the 2.0 diesels.

Other en­gine op­tions will fol­low next year, along with ver­sions with four-wheel drive.

The car’s sus­pen­sion was de­vel­oped to re­tain the agility of its pre­de­ces­sor while adding com­fort. It uses front Macpher­son struts and a twist­beam rear axle as stan­dard, with elec­tronic damper tun­ing among sev­eral op­tions.

The in­te­rior takes cues from the new A-class’s, al­though the in­stru­ment panel is split into two units. The B-class fea­tures two dig­i­tal dis­plays, each rang­ing be­tween 7.0in and 10.25in, de­pend­ing on the spec­i­fi­ca­tion. There is also an op­tional head-up dis­play.

The B-class is the sec­ond Mer­cedes model, af­ter the A-class, to fea­ture the new­est ver­sion of the MBUX mul­ti­me­dia sys­tem, which in­cludes touch, voice and ges­ture con­trol, and Mer­cedes Me con­nec­tiv­ity. It also has a raft of op­tional driver as­sis­tance and safety sys­tems first seen on the S-class, al­low­ing it to drive semi-au­tonomously in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions.

De­pend­ing on op­tions, the rear seats can be moved by 14cm, giv­ing a boot ca­pac­ity of be­tween 455 and 705 litres, sim­i­lar to the pre­vi­ous model, ex­pand­ing to 1540 litres with the rear seats folded.

Mer­cedes’ com­pact model blitz is set to con­tinue with new ver­sions of the CLA and GLA, along with the new GLB, due in the com­ing year. JAMES ATTWOOD

Cock­pit draws heav­ily on the new A-class’s OF­FI­CIAL PIC­TURES Merc claims it’s more ag­ile and com­fort­able than its pre­de­ces­sor

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