The latest version of the B-Class was unveiled on 11th March 2015. But before we come to that, let’s take a look at the history of this sports luxury tourer in India. The car was launched globally in 2005. However, Indian buyers could buy it only from 2012. The Diesel version of this car was launched in 2013.
The car was given an uplift in 2014 with Edition 1 being launched in the month of June. B-Class has been classified as a sports tourer and has opened up a whole new segment for luxury car buyers. The recently launched facelift was first shown in 2014 Paris Motor Show.
The B-Class has sold more than 3.5 lacs units since its launch and the new version is aimed at drawing in the young, preppy customer. Be it the first time luxury car buyer, a housewife who wants to flaunt a luxury car but doesn’t want to drive a long sedan in the congested city traffic or top level executives of the widely mushrooming MNC across India, this car has a huge potential customer base in India.
So let’s take a look at what all has been changed in the new B-Class:
The car is now available in 2 variants – B 180 Sport and B 200 CDI Sport, with the second one obviously being the diesel version.
The earlier diesel car was a B 180 Style variant and was cheaper than the Sport variant inspite of the diesel engine.
Looks and styling
The major design change is in the front bumper, which is now similar in its flowing lines adopted on other Mercedes models. The company is calling it the soft nose design. The radiator grille design sports the large Mercedes star backed by matt black and matt iridium silver painted grills.
The curving roof line is called the Pagoda model design by the company and also sports roof spoiler, which adds to the sports tourer tag. The wide opening of the luggage compartment is complimented by the low load compartment sill as a comfort factor for loading and unloading of the baggage compartment.
LED illumination of the number plates and chrome trim strip on the rear bumper are some of the changes sported by the new facelift. Overall, from the outside the facelift of the, new car is a true facelift and a much needed infusion of new blood.
The interiors have been borrowed from the more high end cars in the Mercedes line up like the C Class and CLA class and on the whole makes it look a lot more luxurious. The ARTICO man made full leather back and front seats in beige or black, the leather covered steering wheel, the center console all chip in to provide a great ambience for the car buyer.
The front and rear seats offer a good thigh and back support and is comfortable for long drives too. The backrest curvature can be individually adjusted to meet the needs of the driver, promoting an ergonomic seating position. Two air cushions are integrated in the backrests.
The panaomic sunroof offers different types of opening options, so you could open it depending on the time of the day you are going to use it.
The rear seat is foldable by 1/3 to 2/3 split to expand the luggage compartment upto 1545 litres of space from the normal 486 litres.
The Multimedia system comes pre-loaded with the Merc’s latest operating system Garmin® MAP PILOT via SD Card slot which uptil now was available in the higher range models. The Bluetooth, speed sensitive volume control, digital video reversing camera, 2 USB ports all combine to make this one loaded car.
On road performance
The petrol version comes fitted with a 4 cylinder 1.6 litre direct injection engine with ECO start/stop function and ECO display fitted as standard.
The diesel engine is 4 cylinder in-line 2143 cc Common Rail Direct Injection(CRDi) engine. This engine is installed transversely and is designed for front-wheel-drive vehicles. The diesel variant also has ECO start/stop function and ECO display fitted as standard.
The 7G-DCT Dual Clutch Transmission provides faster bursts of speed on tap and consisting of two sub-transmissions, each with their own clutch, with three shift programmes.
Economy: Early up and downshifting keeps engine speeds low, thus ensuring a particularly fuel-efficient driving style.
Sport: Higher revving gears deliver a more agile driving experience.
Manual: Manual gear changes using steering-wheel shift paddles, with monitoring of gear selection within permissible engine speed range and gearshift is recommended for fuel-efficient driving.
The facelift comes with a new suspension system which is higher keeping in mind the Indian road conditions. There is a bit of a rise in the torque too making it more sportier. Overall, the ride quality is quite tame, nothing much to write home about. Mind you, it is perfectly satisfactory but not one you would want to rave about.
When it was launched the B-Class had almost non-existent competition. But, now, due to the parent brand’s product offensive, the competition comes from within its own company. However, considering the specs and the price it is being offered at, the B-Class facelift has come back into the reckoning. A good car to own, definitely!!