The somewhat boxy, almost frumpy, look of the older B-Class Mercedes-Benz that did little to endear itself with local buyers, gives way to a much sleeker and more dynamically styled revised version that launches this week.
One of the special features of the new car is a basic volume, which drops away towards the occupants and has cutouts in the area of the driver and front passenger. The user interface of the adaptive MBUX multimedia system includes brilliant graphics, ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control, a standard touch screen and functions such as MBUX Augmented Reality.
“In our portfolio of compacts, it is the perfect vehicle for the whole family. And MBUX – the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience – provides also the B-Class with an all-new customer experience with functions that were previously the reserve of the luxury class,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Passenger Cars.
When ordered with LED headlamps or higher, the B-Class comes with its own daytime running light signature in the form of a double torch. The optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps have an especially sporty look. They allow fast, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic conditions. This feature from the luxury class, which made its debut in the compact segment in the new A-Class, now produces striking looks and added safety also in the new B-Class.
At the back, the width of the vehicle is accentuated by two-part lamps, reflectors integrated in the bumper and a distinctive black bumper bottom section with diffuser look and chrome trim strip. The large roof spoiler, along with high-gloss black spoilers at the sides of the rear window, makes for improved aerodynamics while ensuring a sporty appearance.
The improved seat geometry and lower belt line make for an even more generous feeling of space than in the previous model. The driver sits 90 millimetres higher than in an A-Class, thus enjoying an especially good all-round view – also thanks to optimised cross-sections of the roof pillars, which obscure less of the surroundings.
The centre console with touch-based control and input system comes with a black panel look similar to the E-Class. The ambience lighting with 64 colours and 10 colour schemes, unique in this segment, allows individual adjustments, even to suit the mood.
The seats offer a flatter and, therefore, more comfortable seating position as well as a larger adjustment range, which also increases the maximum headroom. There is also more space in the width: at 1 456 millimetres (plus 33 mm), the front elbow width now has the dimensions of a mid-range vehicle.
With seat climate control and multicontour seats with massage function, the new B-Class is available with optional extras that were previously reserved for vehicles from much higher segments. This opens the way to even better seating comfort.
The new ENERGIZING seat kinetics is particularly good for the back. It can support orthopaedically beneficial changes of posture by regularly making minute adjustments to the angle of the seat cushion and backrest. The innovation is available for the front seats in combination with all-electric seat adjustment with memory function.
With the rear seat folded down and luggage loaded to the roof, the luggage compartment, which is flat thanks to the adjustable load compartment floor, can accommodate up to 1 540 litres behind the front seats.
The new B-Class comes as standard with Active Brake Assist, along with crash bags for driver and front passenger, knee bag for driver and window bags and side bags (combined thorax/pelvis bag). Rear side bags are optionally available.
Compared to its predecessor, the new B-Class is in all cases powered by new, efficient engines, all of which comply with the Euro 6d-TEMP limits. Making its debut is a transverse-mounted version of the OM 654 2,0-litre diesel with 110 kW, aluminium crankcase and stepped-bowl combustion process.
Thanks to extended exhaust aftertreatment with an additional underfloor SCR catalyst, the B-Class with the OM 654q is the first compact model from Mercedes-Benz to be certified in accordance with the Euro 6d standard in the future.
Also available is the four-cylinder petrol engine of the M 282 series with 1,33-litre displacement and120 kW.
The new B-Class is initially available exclusively with dual-clutch transmissions. New here is the eight-speed 8G-DCT, which is used in combination with the diesel engine. Other new engines will follow, as will models with 4MATIC allwheel drive.
Depending on the version, several suspension options are available for the basic configuration, including a lowered comfort suspension and a suspension with active adaptive damping, which lets the driver control the damper tuning while driving using DYNAMIC SELECT.
The system uses an electronic valve, the control of which additionally analyses the driving state and optimises the damping rate individually for each wheel.
At the rear, the models with the entry-level engine variants come with a compound crank rear axle in the basic configuration. In combination with the more powerful engine variants or if the customer opts for one of the optional suspension systems, use is made of a sophisticated four-link rear axle, which is made extensively of aluminium to reduce the unsprung mass.
The three wishbones and one trailing arm on each of the rear wheels are mounted on a subframe, which is isolated from the bodyshell by rubber bushings to reduce the transfer of vibration and noise from suspension to body. Single -tube shock absorbers and separate coil springs are used for both the four-link and the compound crank rear axle.
Technical data at a glance
||120 (163)/5.55kW (hp) at rpm
||110 (150)/3.400-4.000kW (hp) at rpm
||250/1.620-4.000Nm at rpm
||320/1.44-3.200Nm at rpm
|Fuel consumption – combined
|CO2 emissions – combined
|Retail price (ZAR)
||R 526 900.00
||R 559 100.00