By Khulekani Dumisa
Introduced in 2005, the B-Class has performed well for Mercedes-Benz. In 2013, it reached the magical 1,000,000 unit figure, and to date, Mercedes-Benz has sold over 1,500,000 units. Why the information? This shows that the car has a place in the market and Mercedes-Benz is not about to part with it. In fact the third generation B-Class has just been launched locally. We attended an innovative virtual launch so we do not have driving impressions for you. Mercedes-Benz promises that the vehicles will be with us shortly for that.
The world has moved on from traditional MPVs, especially smaller ones, and Mercedes-Benz knows that. Outside, the B-Class looks more dynamic and outgoing than its predecessor. It actually looks like a bigger A-Class. Not a bad thing since the latter is quite an attractive vehicle. The B-Class is distinguishable though with its own unique light and bumper design. The B-Class is naturally also taller and longer. The driver sits 90 millimetres higher than in an A-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.
Lighting the way forward
The B-Class comes with its own daytime running light signature in the form of a double torch when ordered with LED headlamps or higher. The optional Multibeam LED headlamps are said to allow fast, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic conditions.
The interior of the B-Class takes a bold step forward. The B-Class gains the elegant digital instrument cluster and infotainment screen seen in models like the S-Class and recently, the A-Class. The B-Class iteration though comes in a widescreen version, with two 10.25-inch displays. A head-up display is optionally available.
As seen with other recent Mercedes-Benz models, the air-vents in the B-Class feature a high-grade turbine look. 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 ten colour schemes, unique in this segment, allows individual adjustments, even to suit the mood.
Hey Mercedes (B-Class)/MBUX
The new B-Class is the second car model after the A-Class to feature the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia. The system’s ability to learn thanks to Artificial Intelligence makes the system unique. Its other strengths include touch screen control as standard as well as, depending on equipment, a high-resolution Widescreen cockpit, navigation display with Augmented Reality technology plus intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”.
Due to growth in size, Mercedes-Benz say there is more occupant space inside the vehicle. The seats are said to offer a flatter and, therefore, more comfortable seating position as well as a larger adjustment range, which also increases the maximum headroom.
The rear seat backrest comes as standard with a 40:20:40 split. With the rear seat folded down and luggage loaded to the roof, the luggage compartment, can accommodate up to 1,540 litres behind the front seats.
An Easy-Pack tailgate is optionally available. It can be conveniently opened or closed automatically at the press of a button, even by means of a foot movement in combination with optional Hands-Free Access.
Safety features borrowed from S-Class
The new B-Class integrates some safety features borrowed from S-Class making able to offer highest safety levels in the segment. This includes features such as Active Distance Assist Distronic as part of the Driving Assistance package in order to support the driver in many route-specific situations, anticipatory and conveniently adjusting the speed, e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Also available are Active Emergency Stop Assist and intuitively understandable Active Lane Change Assist.
The new B-Class comes as standard with Active Brake Assist, which can help mitigate the severity of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead.
Driver and front passenger are provided with three-point seat belts with pyrotechnic belt tensioners and belt force limitation.
Two engines for the B-Class on offer
The B200 is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine with 1.33litre displacement, 120 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque. The engine is paired with a 7G-DCT transmission. On the other hand, the B200d makes use of a two-litre diesel engine with 110 kW of power and 320 Nm of torque which works hand-in-hand with an eight-speed 8G-DCT.
Other new engines will follow, as will models with 4MATIC allwheel drive. A 43-litre tank is installed as standard.
- B200: R526,900
- B200d: R559,100
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