There is little doubt that Mercedes-Benz aims to raise the bar with its all new B Class. Everything from engines, transmissions, underpinnings, exterior, interior, and equipment are new, but have they done enough to lure new buyers?
What is it? We all know good things come in small packages and Mercedes’ baby Benz is a five seater sports compact that aims to move families safely, efficiently and comfortably.
Who is it aimed at? The new B-Class is more than capable of hauling a small army of kids around and therefore will appeal to younger families who relish the prestige of the three-pointed star but need the flexibility and space afforded by an MPV.
Styling? In an attempt to dispose of the mumsy look of the previous model, Mercedes Benz have opted for a more aggressive styling this time around and considerable effort has been made to make the look more dynamic and sporty. Lower, longer and wider than before the new B-Class is now far more SUV like but it still has quite a boxy profile.
Under the Bonnet? Our test car was the B 180 CDI equipped with a 1.8 diesel engine that generates 80 kW (109 bhp) of power. This B-Class manages the dash from 0-100km in 10.3 seconds and has a top speed of 190 km.
What’s it like inside? The interior looks as good as any car wearing a premium badge. On the dash is a 14.7cm screen that bears more than a passing resemblance to a scaled-down iPad and displays all the necessary info for the audio system and in-car controls. There is also iPod, USB and auxiliary integration. Space throughout is good and boot space is particularly impressive for a car of this size.
On the Road? The B-Class is surprisingly good to drive; it has great steering, is far more agile than it looks and handles really well. In the city it is a dream; on the motorway the ride is noticeably firm but it is still a good cruiser; interior noise can be slightly intrusive when pushed hard.
And Safety? Mercedes-Benz has been pioneers in the area of safety and no exception has been made with the B-Class. It is crammed with both active and passive safety innovations. It also has several features adopted from larger and more expensive models. In a world first in the compact segment, the B-Class features a radar-based collision warning system as standard. This works by altering the driver to a potential rear-end accident and prepares the brakes for maximum effect once the pedal is operated.
How about Fuel Economy? Under the banner of BlueEFFICIENCY there are a heap of advanced technologies at work in the B-Class to keep you away from the pumps!. A Eco button activates the stop-start system that is fitted as standard to improve economy and reduce emissions. All of this results to give an excellent combined fuel economy of 4.5 litres per 100km. With CO2 emissions between 121–114g/km the annual motor tax bill is the lowest possible at €160.
Okay so the verdict? The Mercedes-Benz B-class is certainly a classy family car that is surprisingly good to drive. Supremely safe with excellent space and economy it is all wrapped in a very polished package. But you do pay for the privilege and compared to rivals the B-Class is an expensive choice.
Why you’ll buy one? Prestigious badge; driving dynamics; fuel economy
Why you won’t? Pricey; expensive options; conservative looks
Ford C-Max 1.6TDCI 95PS Manual €25,011
Citroen C4 Picasso VTR+ HDi 110 6-speed manual €26,890
Volkswagen Touran 1.6TDI 105BHP BMT 5 seat Trendline €27,175
Opel Zafira 1.7CDTi 16v (110PS) €32,990
Mercedes-Benz B-Class B180 CDI Blue EFFICICENCY
Engine:1796 cc diesel engine putting out 80kW(109bhp) and 250Nm of torque
Max speed: 190km/h
0-100km/h: 10.9 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 121–114g/km (€160)
Starting price: €29,330 (Test Car €31,076*)
Model price range: €29,330 – €38,575
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP- Occupant: 5
Euro NCAP- Child: 4
Euro NCAP- Pedestrian: 2
Euro NCAP- Overall: 5
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 4.5 litres per 100 km
Boot Capacity Seats up (seats down): 486 litres (1541 litres)
Car Seats: Isofix points for two car seats in the back, both simple to access
*chrome pack, seat comfort pack, metallic paint, Artico man-made leather
21st June, 2012