The new B-Class builds on the strengths of its predecessor – delivering an incredibly spacious cabin within a compact urban-friendly footprint – with a bold new front and rear design, a revised interior, a more efficient range of petrol and diesel engines, and in the UK for the first time, a fully-electric B-Class Electric Drive model. The range now encompasses SE, Sport and – new to the B-Class – the range-topping AMG Line. More so then ever, the B-Class majors on versatility and practicality, underpinned by the traditional Mercedes-Benz cornerstones of class-leading safety, advanced driver-assist technology and eye-catching style.
The comprehensive UK model line-up centres around six direct-injection turbo-charged engines – three diesel and two petrol units, all with ECO start/stop as standard – with the choice of six-speed manual or 7G-DCT seven-speed automatic transmissions, three trim levels – SE, Sport and AMG Line – front-wheel or 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and the all-electric B-Class Electric Drive model.
The new B-Class benefits from a redesigned bumper at the front with new, more pronounced air intakes either side of a wider grille complete with twin louvres, and integrated LED daytime running lights. The rear bumper has also been modified and sits below a set of new LED tail lights. These visual enhancements in no way affect the exceptional wind-cheating capabilities of the B-Class - all models in the UK line-up record a class-leading Cd of 0.26.
The new B-Class benefits from an enlarged tablet-style central screen, with a diagonal measurement of seven inches as well as revised dials behind a new, redesigned steering wheel. The interior retains its sturdy family-friendly appeal, with practical wide opening doors, an elevated driving position, an adjustable rear bench seat and a deep, wide load space and the use of robust, high-quality materials. New textures and trim finishes appear on the B-Class, featuring among which is a new textured carbon-look weave. Furthermore, the interior can now be bathed in a choice of 12 individually selectable ambient colours – allowing it to be individualised to match personal tastes.
The SE model line includes 16-inch alloy wheels, comfort suspension, reversing camera, Artico leather trim, radiator grille with three louvres in Brilliant Silver with chrome trim, LED Daytime Running Lights, LED tail lights, seven-inch colour display, Active Park Assist, air conditioning, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Easy Vario Plus Package, ambient lighting, Attention Assist, Audio 20 radio/CD with six speakers, iPhone connectivity, telephone keypad and Bluetooth® interface, seven airbags, electric parking brake and leather-trimmed three-spoke multifunction steering wheel.
The Sport model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, twin tailpipes, interior lighting package, single colour ambient lighting and rain-sensing wipers.
Opting for the AMG Line adds 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlamps, Artico/Dinamica upholstery with AMG contrast stitching, AMG body styling for the front and rear bumpers, an AMG Line steering wheel, the Direct-Steer system and lowered comfort suspension.
The petrol-powered B 180 and B200 are both powered by a turbo-charged 1,595 cc engine. This all-aluminium unit features ECO start/stop functionality, twin chain-driven overhead camshafts, third-generation direct petrol injection and spray-guided combustion based on that in the Mercedes-Benz BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines.
The B 180 CDI is powered by a new 1,461cc engine, and this unit is joined by the larger 2,143 cc powerplant in the B 200 CDI, B 220 CDI and B 220 CDI 4MATIC. Both turbo-charged units feature third-generation common-rail technology, with the rail pressure increased to 1,800 bar. Refinement-enhancing features include two Lanchester balancer shafts, markedly longer connecting rods both help reduce friction and a dual-mass flywheel.
For the first time in the UK, a fully-electric version joins the B-Class range. The B-Class Electric Drive is the first volume electric car from Mercedes-Benz goes on-sale in the UK. Prices start at £31,950 – with current OLEV grant lowering this to £26,950. The B Electric Drive has the ability to travel 142 miles on a single charge. Charging via a wall box or public charging station is made easier through a fast charging cable supplied with the car, which takes between three and four hours and brings the battery from a completely empty state to fully charged. A conventional home supply raises the charge time to around nine hours. The lithium-ion batteries that power the B-Class Electric Drive are tightly packaged under the floor of the car, meaning the car retains its benchmark safety standards and versatility. It has the ability to carry five adults and has a 501-litre boot – rising to 1,456-litres if rear seats folded in place.
The B-Class Electric Drive is available in two generously equipped model lines - Sport and Electric Art. The Sport model features a substantial list of standard equipment, including a unique design for the front and rear bumpers, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a seven-inch central display, Artico trim, automatic climate control, a reversing camera and cruise control. The Electric Art model features contrasting mirrors and radiator grille elements, 18-inch dual colour alloy wheels, automatic climate control, contrast blue stitching for the seats and aluminium trim.
All petrol and diesel versions of the B-Class benefits from a suite of BlueEFFICIENCY economy-boosting measures which combine to ensure the new engines are up to an incredible 26 per cent more economical than those in the previous model. Headline features include world-class aerodynamics, direct injection, turbocharging and ECO start/stop on all engines, intelligent alternator, oil feed and water pump management, low rolling resistance tyres and adjustable radiator shutters.
Available for the first time on the B-Class and accessible through any smart device, Mercedes Connect Me includes the ability for the owner to check the location of their B-Class, the status of the vehicle systems including fuel levels and tyre pressures as well as when the next service is due and tell your assigned dealer what parts are likely to require attention. Likewise, in the event of an accident, Connect Me can contact the emergency services or breakdown assistance.
The B-Class also introduces safety features previously unattainable in the compact family car sector to the market. Attention Assist now uses a five-stage bar display to visualise the driver’s attention level, and the unique Collision Prevention Assist Plus with autonomous partial braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions are just two of the advanced safety features fitted as standard to every model. They are joined by seven airbags, Acceleration Skid Control (ASR), Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®), Brake Assist and latest generation ABS anti-lock braking system. Optional safety features include Pre-Safe®, Distronic Plus, Lane-Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Intelligent Light System.
As well as offering plenty of room for five and their luggage, the B-Class features a lower centre of gravity, new four-link rear suspension and energy-saving electro-mechanical power steering result in both more precise handling while ensuring that it is light and manoeuvrable in the confines of urban environments.
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