Mercedes-Benz has revealed the new B-Class ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The Mercedes B-Class ‘Sports Tourer’ features new engines and new gearbox.
It looks like we may have to hold our hands up and confess that we may have been mistaken about the 2012 Mercedes B-Class. On several fronts.
Mercedes are calling the new B-Class a ‘Sports Tourer’, which may be stretching the definition of Sport Tourer in our book, but does point out that the 2012 B-Class is a muck slicker and sleeker product than it predecessor, which was, let’s face it, an A-Class on a McDonalds diet.
So the 2012 B-Class is probably a big step on from the old B-Class. Which we weren’t convinced it was when we had the leaked photo of the new B-Class last week.
The second front on which we need to confess to stupidity, ignorance or simply making assumptions, is on the platform of the new B-Class.
We had originally believed Mercedes were building the new B-Class on the same platform as the new A-Class. That’s the new MFA platform which is a simpler, more conventional, platform than the current B-Class’s sandwich job.
But then we found out that Mercedes were trying to make the B-Class future-proof and that it would have underfloor space to accommodate future developments. Which we took to mean that then new B-Class would be built on the old B-Class platform.
So, just to be sure, we phoned Mercedes PR – who didn’t actually know. But they knew a man who would and they did know that the new B-Class doesn’t have a sandwich floor. So there you go – we were wrong on two fronts with the new B-Class.
But we were pretty much right on everything else.
The new B-Class is bigger all round than the old B-Class, although it does lose part of its appeal; it no longer rides as high and nor do occupants sit up as much. It’s more of a high-riding saloon than a low-riding CUV.
So the new B-Class looks slicker than the old B-Class and is going to drive more like a saloon car, thanks to stuff like a fresh multi-link rear suspension setup and the lower centre of gravity. And you can opt for a Sport Pack which lowers the B-Class further and sharpens up the steering.
Under the bonnet comes new engines and gearboxes.
The diesel engines are a variation on the once troublesome OM651 lump, this time down to 1.8 litres and mounted transversely. The OM651 will come as a B180 CDI with 109bhp and as a B200 CDI with 1365bhp.
The petrol lump is the all-new M270. A four-pot lump with Mercedes third-generation direct injection it gets offered initially as a 1.6 litre in the B180 with 122bhp and in the B200 with 156bhp.
On the gearbox front there’s a new six-speed manual ‘box, but the big news is the dumping of the horrible CVT and the arrival of the 7G-DCT dual clutch ‘box.
Inside Mercedes has brought the new B-Class up on a par with the rest of its range, and there are echoes of Mercedes latest cars all over the cabin. Which means a very good interior indeed; no longer the need to feel the B-Class to be a ‘Lesser’ Mercedes.
And that extends to the toys on offer, with everything from COMAND with every kind of connectivity you can shake a stick at to all the acronyms and safety bits in the Mercedes toy box you can think of, including:
- Adaptive Headlamp Assist
- Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist
- ATTENTION ASSIST (standard)
- Speed Limit Assist (speed limit sign recognition)
- Active Parking Assist(standard)
- Brake HOLD function (standard with 7G-DCT)
- Hill Hold function (standard)
- Reversing camera
- DISTRONIC PLUS
Lots on offer in the 2012 B-Class, make no mistake. But the range is likely to start the wrong side of £20k and keep on going, and that’s before the high end models arrive in their multitude of guises. So we don’t think the likes of Ford with their C-Max need to start quaking in the boots quite yet.
The 2012 Mercedes B-Class will go on sale in Spring 2012.