Last year the Mercedes-Benz B-Class arrived on the motoring scene with a total overhaul, borrowing successfully from other models such as the A-Class and E-Class and in many respects in its latest guise it is a grown up version of the extremely popular A-Class.
A fashionable term on the motoring scene is ‘Sports Tourer’ and it is this class which the German premium carmaker has placed the latest B-Class. Overall, it now has a softer, sporty profile and the model I tested was in AMG Line trim, which shows the B-Class off best with a body kit and stylish chunky alloys. I have to state that previous versions of the B-Class lacked somewhat in the styling department but the designers have come up with the goods this time round.
There is a choice of petrol and diesel engines, the B 200 d and B 220 d use the clean and efficient OM654q engine, which has been tested to new RDE-2 emissions standards, while the B 180 and B 200 both use a 1.3 litre petrol engine with an output of 134bhp and 200 Nm of torque (161bhp and 320 Nm in B 200). Both these units are capable of delivering excellent economy while the B 180 emits 125 g/km of CO2 and the B 200 emits 126 g/km CO2. The B 200 d and B 220 d feature a two litre diesel engine, codenamed OM654q. The B 200 d has an output of 148bhp and 320 Nm of torque, while the B 220 d generates 188bhp and 400 Nm. The B 200 d emits just 115 g/km of CO2, while the B 220 d emits 116 g/km of CO2. These low emission figures spell good news on the tax front, of course. Automatic transmissions are the order of the day, the B 200 d and B 220 d come as standard with an 8G-DCT 8-Speed automatic transmission, while the B 180 and B 200 use a 7G-DCT 7-Speed automatic transmission. To make life simple there are two trim levels- Sport and the already noted AMG Line. The Sport trim line is of a high standard in terms of specification and comes as standard with: MBUX multimedia system with ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation; seven-inch cockpit display and seven-inch touch screen media display; reversing camera; 17-inch ten-spoke alloy wheels; hard-disk navigation; Active Lane Keeping Assist; Speed Limit Assist; black grille; silver painted louvre and insert in chrome; DAB radio; Keyless-Go starting function; automatic two-zone climate control; LED high performance headlights; and spiral-look trim with Artico and Fleron fabric upholstery.
I must mention the voice, just by speaking the words ‘Hey Mercedes’, a world of actions are at the command of your voice. However a warning, mention the name Mercedes in conversation, and you set an alert to a ladies voice. So the golden rule while you may be driving a Mercedes do not mention the M word! Move up a grade to the AMG Line and you will benefit from 18-inch five-twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels; three-spoke multifunction sport steering wheel in nappa leather; sports seats; diamond radiator grille with chrome pins and single louvre; AMG bodystyling; and carbon-structure trim with Artico and Dinamica microfibre upholstery with red contrast stitching.
Of course, you can take the new B-Class to even higher levels in terms of specification as there are a number of packages available, in other words depending on your bank balance you can personalise your set of wheels. Behind the wheel, the new model bears very little resemblance to previous models, the standard of finish is much better. Quality materials give it a premium feel for the first time and it shares the same quality that you will discover with the C-Class, E-Class and even the luxurious S-Class. The drive quality is the most noticeable aspect of the new B-Class, you are rewarded with a more sporty drive and low noise levels add even more to the drive pleasure. Of course I must not omit the fact that the new B-Class is a very practical vehicle with lots of space for the family, business or a weekend away. Summing up, this is a Mercedes-Benz for the modern age.