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
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