Mercedes-Benz has finally replaced the first-generation B-Class with an all-new model that is more agile and efficient yet as comfortable and spacious as ever.
"No model change in the history of Mercedes-Benz has ever seen so many new developments introduced in one fell swoop," said Thomas Weber, member of the board of management responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars' head of development. "Future B-Class customers will benefit from this quantum leap in terms of exemplary low fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions combined with driving pleasure, plenty of space and the highest standard of safety that has ever been available in this class."
Though the B-Class is categorized as a compact multi-purpose vehicle, the German carmaker calls it a compact sports tourer as it offers plenty of space combined with impressive dynamic performance.
Both the front and rear fascia boast of a width-emphasizing design, with a wide, prominent grille and headlamps that extend along the sides up front while the rear gets a wide rear window, a two-piece taillights that are horizontally offset and a large tailgate with a low loading sill.
Aiding the all-new B-Class's sporty demeanor is its slippery drag coefficient of 0.24cd, just 0.02cd more than the aerodynamically optimized E-Class Coupe and "nothing short of sensational for a vehicle with a station wagon rear end."
At 1,557mm in height, the all-new B-Class is nearly five centimeters lower than its predecessor while the seating position, though more upright, has been lowered by 86mm to facilitate boarding while maintaining a clear overview of the vehicle's contours. Despite the lower height, the headroom has been improved with a maximum of 1,047mm at the front (minus the sliding roof). Rear legroom has also been improved at 976mm that, according to Mercedes-Benz, "surpasses that of the S- and E-Class." With the optional Easy-Vario-Plus system, cargo carrying capacity of the all-new B-Class can be increased from 488 to 666 liters.
The new B-Class features new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as well as new manual and automatic transmissions. The two new petrol engines are for the B 180, which is rated at 122hp and 200Nm of torque, and the B 200, which produces 156hp and 250Nm of torque. Both engines are based on the third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct injection system, which was introduced last year with the BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines and its use in the B-Class marks the technology's debut in the compact segment.
The two new diesel engines, meanwhile, are developed from the third-generation common-rail direct-injection engine. The B 180 CDI puts out 109hp and 250Nm of torque while the B 200 CDI has an output of 136hp and 300Nm of torque.
Transmission choices for the all-new B-Class are the new 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission and the new six-speed manual transmission.
Sale of the all-new B-Class is slated to begin globally in November 2011.