So what is a B-Class, exactly? Take the smart, tech-laden A-Class, give it a bit more room and a taller ride height, but keep all the features that make the A-Class such a winner in the premium hatchback market. Drivers and passengers sit a little higher and there’s more headroom and luggage space too.
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class can be discovered in more detail and taken for a test drive at Jardine Motors Group dealerships in Essex and Suffolk today.
EuroNCAP hasn’t tested the B-class yet but there’s every reason to anticipate a 5-star rating. It has a host of active safety systems including brake assist, emergency stop assist and lane change assist. Active Brake Assist provides visual and audible warnings when you are too close to the vehicle in front and can even switch to fully autonomous brake mode if necessary. An optional Driving Assistance package can identify dangerous situations, provide warnings and even initiate emergency braking thanks to sensitive radar sensors, a special 3D camera and the high-resolution cockpit display.
Petrol-engined versions of the B-Class start with two 1.3-litre four-cylinder engines, with the B180 developing 136hp and the more powerful B200 developing 163bhp. Both come with six-speed manual transmissions as standard though a 7G-DCT 7-speed automatic is optionally available. More up the petrol range and the 7-speed auto becomes the standard fitting, with the B220 developing 190hp and the B250 maxing out at 224hp.
The only all-wheel drive model in the petrol engine variants is the B220 4MATIC. Top performer as you’d expect is the B250 with 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds though the little B180 performs respectably with 0-62mph in 9.0s and combined 46.3mpg.
Prefer diesel for its longer-striding motorway cruising and better fuel economy? Again, you’re spoiled for choice with a B180D (116hp), B200D (150hp) and B220D (190hp). Top for economy is the B180D with up to 61.4mpg.
Mercedes-Benz has taken the market by storm with its stunning touchscreen graphics, intuitive MBUX user experience and simple ‘hey Mercedes’ voice command which will be familiar to all regular Siri or Alexa users. MBUX is uncanny – for example, it notes your route to the office and can automatically offer a faster one to avoid traffic. All models feature a 7.0in digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel and another 7.0in infotainment screen in the centre of the dash, both mounted behind one smooth sweep of glass. With the optional Executive equipment package the 7.0in infotainment screen is replaced by a 10.3in version.
If you add the Premium package, the instrument screen is also enlarged to 10.3in, giving the impression of a single giant widescreen that stretches across more than half of the width of the dashboard. Command is by voice, touchscreen, trackpad or steering wheel buttons. Other optional highlights include ‘Energizing’ seat kinetics system, which makes minute changes to your seating position over long journeys to reduce fatigue and enhance comfort, and hands-free access which allows you to open the boot when you’re laden with kit or shopping.
Compare the B-Class with the A-Class and the family resemblances stand out, starting with that proud three-pointed star on the grille and sweeping back to a neat, well-resolved rear end via a sculpted side profile. It’s a more restrained look than the A-Class, standing taller and with a little more visual bulk.
Inside, you get all the pizzazz that has made the A-Class a standout in its sector, with selectable ambient lighting, turbine-style air vents and lots of tactile, high quality materials. Rear seats are adjustable and as an option can slide forward or back for greater versatility, revealing a load space of 1,540 litres when folded down.
The B-Class has all the tech and the wow-factor interior of its sibling, the A-Class, though if you’re into sporty looks and handling the lower-slung A-class wins the day. What the B brings to the table is an extra dose of practicality, with easier access, a taller driving position and more interior space. Why not try both if you’re undecided?
|Vehicle length||4393 mm|
|Vehicle width||1786 mm|
|Vehicle height||(unladen) 1557 mm / 61.3 in|
|Wheelbase||2699 mm / 106.3 in|
|Unladen weight (DIN)||1505 kg / 3164 lb|
|Engine Example||B 180 manual|
|Engine / Cylinders||1.6-litre/4|
|Engine Capacity||1595 cc|
|Max Torque||200 nm @ 1250-4000 rpm|
|Max Power||90 kW @ 5000 rpm|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
|Acceleration||0-62 mph / 9.0 sec|
|Combined cycle||42.2 mpg|
|Urban cycle||31.4 mpg|
|CO2||153 - 155 g/km|