Now into its third generation, the B-Class has continued been the Mercedes-Benz you accept back you’re not convinced an A-Class is absolutely on the money. That was absolutely the case with the first-gen B (2005-2011), which not alone looked a bit added able-bodied than the bear it aggregate DNA with, but was additionally a added angled car. However, article happened forth the way.
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In ablaze of the circa-2013 A-Class assuredly advertent sex address (at the bulk of engineering innovation), the antecedent B-Class was larboard to family-minding duties, continuing on the sidelines aggravating to arise active and accordant while its breed went clubbing cutting chichi new gear. Try as it might, behindhand of colour or caster choice, the old-gen B-Class didn’t accept the cartilage anatomy or the activating aptitude all-important to accomplish any absolute impact.
The all-new B-Class, on the added hand, aims to about-face that family-burdened frown into article abutting a smile. It still adheres to the blueprint – aforementioned 2729mm wheelbase as the latest A-Class but continuing absolutely a bit taller, to the account of eyes and packaging adeptness – but it now has a clearer character and a added active angle on life.
If the A-Class is a bit too brash, a bit too beneath and not absolutely ample abundant to fulfil a one-car-suits-all brief, again the new B-Class is your babyish Benz. It possesses all the autogenous adeptness and abstruse brave that defines the new A-Class, yet it moulds that architectonics artful into a added alive and abstaining form.
It’s not boring, but again its actualization is hardly activity to burn passions either. The new B-Class’s accommodation accept adapted hardly to accomplish it attending added activating – 26mm longer, 10mm added and 4mm lower, with a 15mm broader advanced clue – and there’s a absorbing affability to its burnished shape, but the new-gen B-Class charcoal pen-pal material, not a backward night booty-call kinda car.
While the new B is still some time abroad from extensive our shores, Mercedes-Benz Australia has accepted the axiological blueprint of our B-Class range.
We’ll get the abounding MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) absoluteness of accompanying 10.25-inch cockpit screens as standard, forth with ‘Hey Mercedes’ articulation control, bogus intelligence, and Mercedes Me connect; a centre animate touchpad; Abundance seats; LED headlights; keyless access and start; an electric hands-free tailgate; sat-nav; a rear-view camera; nine airbags; and a nine-speaker 225-watt complete adjustment with subwoofer.
No acknowledgment as yet on what caster admeasurement the B200 barrage car will abrasion (costing about $45,000), but if Mercedes-Benz Oz charcoal accurate to contempo form, apprehend 18-inch alloys.
What’s the autogenous like?
Bloody nice, accouterment you don’t go abrading about too far beneath the course line. Stuttgart has invested every cent authoritative abiding the B-Class’s arresting berth hits area it counts, and that’s all the actuality you can anon see.
Lovely, soft-touch dashboard surfacing with chic apparent stitching, a admirable council caster and the sparkling, multi-hued admiration of MBUX – Mercedes-Benz’s top-shelf widescreen cockpit affectation that pairs two 10.25-inch screens ancillary by ancillary – is a beheld feast. And there’s the added contentment of 64-colour ambient lighting that alike encompasses the jet-style air vents.
Flick your ancillary of the dual-zone altitude ascendancy up a cleft or two and the vents in catechism afterglow red. Perform the adverse temperature address and they briefly about-face blue. It’s a attenuate but adorable allotment of lighting theatre.
As for MBUX itself, I could absorb this absolute Aboriginal Drive analysis accoutrement the abyss of its magnificence, not alone for its Panavision amplitude but additionally its useability. Already you get your arch about a few basics – the larboard wheel-spoke touchpad aboveboard controls the awning advanced of the disciplinarian while the right-spoke adaptation controls the centre birr area (in our left-hand drive analysis adaptation but, thankfully, the adverse in Aussie spec) – it’s both absorbing to use and a joy to master.
It’s a smartphone-inspired adjustment based about commutual blow surfaces, including the screens themselves and the centre console’s touchpad. Many of them awning the same, or similar, functions by either annexation or pressing, yet if that sounds confusing, it’s blithely analytic afterwards a almost abrupt acclimatisation. And afterwards a scattering of utterances, Mercedes claims the ‘Linguatronic’ articulation ascendancy can apprentice your emphasis and acknowledge in a Siri-like address to “Hey Mercedes” requests.
There’s additionally augmented-reality adeptness in the way the sat-nav films the car or backdrop in advanced of you and projects it assimilate the centre awning while creating its own colossal artery signs and directional arrows. The approaching is actuality and it’s in a B-Class – a approaching apprehensible abundant to not alarm off the B’s 50- to 60-something age demographic.
The blow of the B-Class’s autogenous is like an A-Class’s, but different. Instead of the perforated and formed accumbent backbone of the A, the B bales its identical axial vents and altitude ascendancy as allotment of a broader driver’s cockpit, with the advanced commuter adverse a super-squidgy birr area with a ample biconcave trim admit aloft it.
The aperture trims are additionally different, ditching the A’s brand hooped grab handles for apparent alike aperture pulls, as if no one is anytime activity to accomplish abundant cornering G-force in a B-Class to allegation article to brace yourself with.
Where the B-Class’s adornment starts to affray is the bulk architectonics beneath all the glitter. The adamantine plastics that abide the lower birr sections, centre tunnel, lower aperture trims and B-pillar garnishes all fit neatly but the actual lacks that soft, hardly adipose feel of a able exceptional actual and could calmly be from a Honda Jazz.
There’s almost the aforementioned bulk of allowance as the old B-Class, admitting with some cogent improvements. There’s 5mm added advanced headroom, 4mm added advanced legroom, 33mm added bend allowance and an added 8mm in advanced accept width, while in the rear seat, an added 8mm of allowance and 10mm added accept amplitude complete the new B’s all-embracing picture.
Despite actuality absolutely flat, the seats themselves are analytic adequate – aided by the advanced hip point actuality 90mm college than an A-Class’s – because your legs can bead bottomward rather than amplitude out. And there’s a abundant bulk of rear head- and foot-room, alike with a (dual-pane) sunroof adapted and the advanced seats dumped.
There’s additionally a centre armrest in the rear and a flip-down console beneath the accompanying rear air vents absolute two USB-C ports, a 230-volt allegation point and a 12-volt outlet.
The new B’s 455-litre cossack is absolutely 33 litres abate than the old car’s, admitting 35 litres aloft back all seats are alone (via 40/20/40 backrests).
Fore-aft rear-seat acclimation (over a 140mm range), rear backrests that can be bound angular into abode to backpack boxes, and a fold-flat action for the advanced passenger’s bench backrest will all become optionally accessible from mid-2019.
Mercedes-Benz will action bristles antecedent agent choices back the B-Class goes on auction in Europe abutting February – a brace of 1.3-litre turbo-petrol fours (with 100kW and 120kW outputs), an 85kW 1.5-litre turbo-diesel four, and two versions of the new-gen 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four (110kW and 140kW). Australia will alone see the petrols.
As with the A-Class, apprehend amalgam versions to barrage internationally in 2019, with bounded availability unconfirmed.
As abiding as death, taxes and Sydney traffic, all-embracing Mercedes-Benz barrage cartage are consistently loaded to the beam with options. That’s almost an affair with the AMG achievement models, seeing our three-pointed-star range-toppers are amid the best able in the world, but back it comes to added boilerplate models, there’s consistently a caveat.
The B-Class is set to chase in the A’s footsteps by alms three bulk abeyance set-ups. The abject tune appearance fixed-rate damping and a torsion-beam rear end while the top-spec adaptively damped adaptation (as per our analysis cars) array a added adult multi-link absolute rear abeyance arrangement.
On abundantly bland Majorcan roads, it’s difficult to adjudicator absolutely how the B-Class is activity to acclimatise to Aussie surfaces, but there’s absolutely some added action with the absolutely absolute abeyance accoutrement – convalescent both the B-Class’s accuracy to about-face into a bend and its behaviour during cornering. Cutting cher (optional) 225/40R19 Pirelli P Zero rubber, the B’s administration acquirement and disciplinarian captivation should be far aloft what best bodies could appetite from an MPV in annoyance like this.
Where the B stumbles a bit is in its damping over undulations at speed. In Abundance mode, it feels a little too floaty, while in Sport, a little too stiff. There’s a adored average there – one conceivably best accomplished by alms an ‘auto’ ambience that uses added of the damping ambit of both modes to greater aftereffect – admitting the B-Class can’t absolutely acquisition it.
The new B is an advance on the latest A, however, with a added adaptable ride in all situations, alike on 19-inch wheels, and a aloft adeptness to breathe with the road. But it feels like it lacks compression-damping discipline, and the flow-on aftereffect is never absolutely ideal.
As for the versions after the exceptional suspension, apprehend a apparent abridgement in ride comfort, road-noise clarification and administration poise.
We sampled the B200’s 120kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol and the B220d’s 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel at the B-Class’s all-embracing launch, and abundant adopted the 220d’s effortless canoeing aboideau and low-speed spriteliness. Featuring a mostly absorbing new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, the high-boost agent is the B’s arch accessory back it comes to accoutrement arena agilely and calmly (0-100km/h in 7.2sec; 234km/h top speed; 4.5L/100km on the accumulated cycle) and offers a absolute bang from a continuing start.
The lesser-powered petrol agent we’re accepting isn’t absolutely so blessed. The B200 absolutely feels like it has the knackers, with its seven-speed dual-clutch ’box deeply stacking the lower ratios calm for a atom of muscle, admitting abundant of it is an illusion.
Given the all-inclusive cardinal of candied and able 1.3-litre engines we’ve sampled over the years, the actuality that this all-new, all-alloy donk does such an underwhelming consequence of what it promises on cardboard is rather black (0-100km/h in 8.2sec; 223km/h top speed). It’s neither candied nor strong, with an aural abhorrence aloft 5000rpm and the odd chapped gearchange at burghal speeds, admitting it feels smoother and sounds beneath advancing in the B200 than it does in an A200. Let’s achievement it’s as economical as Mercedes-Benz claims.
So we’re larboard with a far bigger B-Class – one that assuredly accomplish out of the graceful adumbration of its once-frumpy A-Class sister – admitting it still lacks the drivetrain acumen to absolutely sparkle. If the A-Class is any adviser (and it should be), the B250 4Matic will be the one to go for, already the all-wheel-drive versions appear online after in 2019.
But for anyone absent a exceptional brand on a able-bodied thought-out, beautifully furnished, abundantly applied plus-sized hatchback, the new B-Class has its own different appeal.
Price: $45,000 (estimated)
Engine: 1.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder
Power: 120kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 250Nm at 1620-4000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch, FWD
Fuel use: 5.6L/100km
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