The new B-Class is fresh from having received a top-to-bottom makeover that lifts it into an altogether higher league in terms of its design, specifications and all-round attractiveness.
Whilst retaining all of the space and comfort features that appealed to owners previously, this latest version has been transformed into a truly sporty and attractive design package that is in even closer visual harmony with the new generation of Mercedes-Benz models.
We mentioned comfort, and wider by 33mm, the front elbow width has the dimensions of a mid-range vehicle. Improved seat kinetics involving minute changes to the inclination of the seat cushions and backrest enhance seating posture. Their flatter, more comfortable profile, lower belt line and larger adjustment range increase headroom and create an even more generous feeling of space than in the previous model.
The interior of the new B-Class is one of a kind in this vehicle class and an instant delight, in timelessly elegant 'wrap-around' design. The transitions between dashboard, centre console and door trim are fluid. All this adds up to a delightfully 'cocooned' feel inside.
It is now equipped for the first time with cutting-edge Natural Voice Control. This intuitive system understands you and is ever ready to oblige. It takes just two words - 'Hey, Mercedes' - and the new B-Class is all ears.
The infotainment system means that the ‘Mercedes me’ app connects to services including navigation functions based on vehicle tracking and car-to-place communication. Parked vehicle locator and parked ‘bump impact’ notification feature in an array of online assists that include one that allows for car sharing with friends and family members.
To reduce its aerodynamic drag, its frontal area has been made marginally smaller. This is most evident when viewed from the outside. Its most striking aspect is its altogether more agile appearance and somewhat squat front end, helped by its muscular shoulders, slightly lowered roofline, and long wheelbase (2729 mm) with short overhangs. Low-profile headlamps with LED daytime running, and larger 16” to 19” wheels add to this dynamic improvement.
At the rear, its split taillights design, bumper-insert reflectors, and a distinctive black lower bumper panel with chrome trim strip create a greater sense of width and depth while a roof spoiler adds to its aerodynamic and sporty appearance.
Powering the new B-Class are new, more efficient engines, all in compliance with new Euro 6d-TEMP limits mandatory on all new cars produced from 2020 onwards. Five engine variants will be available at launch in Ireland–two petrol (B180and B200) and three diesel models (B180d, B200d and B220d).
All versions of the new B-Class come with McPherson strut front suspension and forged-aluminium rear wishbones, making the un-sprung mass as low as possible in the interests of road-holding and comfort. A lowered comfort suspension and an active adaptive damping feature also form part of the suspension story.
Embodying functions taken from S-Class models, the new B-Class comes with a plethora of driving assistance systems equipping it with one of the highest levels of active safety in this segment.
For the first time, it can drive semi-autonomously in certain situations, employing improved camera and radar systems to anticipate traffic within a 500 metres distance.
A galaxy of high-tech driver assist features–all well publicised in other models across the Mercedes-Benz range–give the new B-Class an exemplary position in terms of accident avoidance, occupant protection and safety generally, including brake assist features. These can help prevent or mitigate the severity of rear-end collisions and impacts with crossing pedestrians or cyclists–one that many Irish motorists would be expected to welcome.