The B-Class Reinvented

From MPV to Sports Tourer

Wynter Murdoch

In introducing its upcoming B-Class, Mercedes-Benz claims to have reinvented the family car. What used to be a common or garden MPV has been turned into a sports tourer that is said to be more dynamic, more agile, more comfortable and safer than before.

What’s more, the new model’s avant-garde interior helps to promote a sense of space within the cabin, thanks in part to a wheelbase that stretches to 2 729mm – about 30mm longer than that of the A-Class on which it is based – a low belt line and a distinctively styled, cut-out design for the dashboard, its width emphasised by incorporation of a wide-screen instrument cluster and infotainment display.

On the latter point, the intuitive user interface for the adaptive Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system is said to be ground-breaking, its strengths extending to vivid graphics, voice control, a standard touch screen and functions that include augmented reality.

On the safety front, state-of-the-art driver assistance systems – many of them adopted from the brand’s flagship S-Class – have been added to complement a plethora of airbags in the cabin and a passenger cell which includes ultra-high strength steel in its make-up.

In terms of engine options, the latest B-Class is powered by a choice petrol or diesel units that are described as cleaner burning and more fuel-efficient than their predecessors. Transmission for petrol versions is through a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, while diesel variants get an eight-speed equivalent that makes its debut in the model. 

“The new B-Class is more practical and more chic than ever,” says Selvin Govender, Mercedes-Benz’s Marketing Director for Passenger Cars. “In our portfolio of compacts, it’s the perfect vehicle for the whole family. Also, MBUX introduces an all-new customer experience to the model with functions that were previously the reserve of the luxury class.”  

Elaborating on this aspect, he says that when ordered with LED headlamps, the B-Class is equipped with a unique daytime running light signature in the form of a double torch to distinguish it on the road. “The optional multi-beam LED headlamps have an especially sporty look,” he adds. “Also, they can be electronically adjusted in an instant to suit prevailing traffic conditions – another feature adapted from the luxury class.”

Styling-wise, the width of the vehicle has been accentuated at the rear through use of stretched, two-part, LED lamp housings and, below them, integrated reflectors in extremities of the bumper, with the lower central section – embellished with a chrome strip – styled look diffuser-like. A large roof spoiler along with high-gloss, black spoilers at the sides of the back windscreen, help to improve aerodynamics and contribute to the vehicle’s sporty appearance. 

Govender says improved seat geometry and the B-Class’s low belt line make for a generous feeling of space in the cabin compared with that of the previous model. “The driver sits high – about 90mm higher than in an A-Class – to enjoy an especially good all-round view. Also, the optimised design and placement of the roof pillars help to obscure less of the outside surroundings,” he says.