Mercedes-Benz brings the new B-Class on stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Mercedes-Benz projects the new B-Class as a typical Mercedes sports tourer, offering plenty of space combined with impressive dynamic performance. The characteristic lines of the exterior design indicate both of these attributes: front and rear sport a width-emphasizing design, with a wide, prominent grille and headlamps extending along the sides at the front while the rear end features a wide rear window, two-piece tail lights with horizontally offset meander and a large tailgate with low loading sill.
The bonnet flows seamlessly into the A-pillar and the roof line descends sleekly to the roof spoiler. The roof features a swage line which lends the vehicle a longer appearance. The pronounced wheel arches offset by dynamic feature lines under the beltline are a sporty interpretation of the current design line from Mercedes-Benz. The bottom edge of the body features dynamic side skirts which add a light touch to the vehicle’s appearance.
Four equipment packages (Chrome, Sports, Exclusive and Night package) enable individualisation according to personal tastes. In the interior, the large, three-dimensional trim covering the entire dashboard first strikes the eye. It is available in four variants, covering a broad spectrum from modern through sporty to classic. Mercedes-Benz also claims that many features only found in higher segments of cars have been made available in the compact Benz.The dashboard is optionally available in ARTICO man-made leather finish and features stitching, for example. In the interior, the large, three-dimensional trim covering the entire dashboard first strikes the eye.
The three large round vents in the middle and their uniquely designed cruciform nozzles add a sporty attribute to the interior’s ‘emotional design idiom’ as Mercedes-Benz puts it. The display, which is available in two sizes (5.8- and 7-inch) appears to hover over the vents. With its stylish design – the trim frame with galvanised finish contrasting with the piano black of the front panel – and slender lines, the colour display (TFT) is a highly attractive feature in the cockpit.
The 3-spoke steering wheel, which always incorporates a silver chrome insert in the middle spoke, the instrument cluster with four analogue round dials and suspended pointers in 6 o’clock position and the seats with contrasting stitching underscore the sporty character.
The new four-cylinder petrol engines (internal designation M270) mark the launch of a completely new engine series. The combustion process is based on the third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct injection system which was introduced last year with the BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines. Its use in the B-Class marks this technology’s debut in the compact segment. The new four-cylinder engines have been designed for both transverse and longitudinal installation. In the new B-Class they are initially available with a displacement of 1.6 litres, as the B 180 rated at 90 kW (122 hp) and the B 200 with an output of 115 kW (156 hp). Their maximum torque of 200 and 250 Nm respectively is available from an engine speed of 1250 rpm.
The new four-cylinder diesel engine is a further development of the OM651 deployed in the C- to the S-Class, a common rail direct-injection engine of the third generation. With its displacement scaled down to 1.8 litres various other optimzations, this is the first time that the compression-ignition engine has been mounted transversely in a Mercedes-Benz car. The B 180 CDI generates 109hp, while the B 200 CDI has an output of 136 hp. The maximum torque of 250 / 300 Nm is available from 1400 / 1600 rpm.
Another Mercedes-Benz premiere is the new 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in the B-Class. This transmission is extremely compact, extremely variable with regard to adaptation of the engine speed thanks to seven gears, features an electric oil pump for start/stop capability, shifts gear without any interruptions in tractive power and combines the comfort of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission.
The new manual transmission designed along similarly compact lines as a three-shaft transmission is a close relative of the DCT. Extremely easy gear shifting, low shift forces, low internal friction and a low weight are among its most important characteristics.
The PRE-SAFE®preventive occupant protection system which features in the B-Class is available for the first time in this vehicle category. This represents a further step in the ongoing democratisation of this innovation, which was premiered in the S-Class in 2002. Core features of PRE-SAFE®are reversible belt tensioning, the closing of side windows and sliding sunroof in case of critical lateral dynamics and adjustment of the fully electric front passenger seat with memory function to an ideal position for maximum effectiveness of the restraint systems. PRE-SAFE®is always activated in response to critical longitudinal and lateral dynamics and may also be triggered upon intervention by certain assistance functions.
The scope of restraint facilities takes special account of the B-Class’ use as a family car. Great importance has been attached to the safety of the rear occupants. Belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and belt height adjusters come as standard on the outer seats. Rear sidebags are optionally available. Integrated child seats and automatic child seat recognition are available as in the predecessor. Driver and co-driver are provided with new pelvis bags which are able to cover the pelvis and the entire upper part of the body. For head protection, a windowbag is fitted as standard.
The modular “Energy Space” concept means that the new B-Class is already designed to accommodate versions with an alternative drive: appropriate interfaces in the body shell enable the main floor panel to be modified and a step to be produced for the versions with alternative drive. An underfloor compartment covering part of the area under the rear bench seat offers space for alternative energy accumulators.