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2015 New Mercedes-Benz B-Class: First Drive


We drive the facelifted B-Class on the island of Mallorca to find out what it is all about!

Mercedes B Class 2
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class has been in India for a few years now and has generally received a warm reception amongst both buyers and the general public. What is possibly the most family-oriented and practical car that Mercedes-Benz makes, is also one of my personal favorites when it comes to the new generation, front-wheel-drive MFA platform cars. The sheer versatility that is offered by the B-Class, both in terms of performance and in terms of usability, is truly appreciated, especially when one actually has the chance to live with this ‘Sporty Tourer’ as Mercedes calls it.

So what upgrades have Mercedes-Benz done to the new B-Class? Well, read on to find more….

Mercedes B Class side


Mercedes B Class interior


Interior & space

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class’ interior does not look much different from its predecessor until you look closely. The biggest difference of course is the larger infotainment screen and a new set of sportier dials that adorn the dashboard. The dashboard itself gets a host of new accent materials including a carbon finish that I particularly liked. The new seats seem a little more sporty than before with the AMG-pack cars getting red stitching as a part of standard equipment.

The B-Class has always been spacious and the new one continues the trend. The rear seats continue to offer great space and support whereas the large boot is good enough for any weekend getaway one might envision. The barrage of cubbyholes continues with enough storage both in the centre console and in the door cards for daily knick-knacks.

Mercedes B Class screen


 Features & Equipment


The B-Class also gets the same ambient lighting system that one gets in the S-Class limousine. In fact, in the B-Class, owners get an option of 12 shades of color to choose from depending on their mood. As we mentioned earlier, the new screen is larger and the infotainment system now comes loaded with the all new Command Connect setup. This means that your car can stay connected to the internet via a mobile network connection. Owners can also use an app that is designed specifically for their car to check functions like fuel levels, air pressure and cabin temperatures.

The B-Class also comes jam packed with a bunch of safety functions like Collision Prevention Assist Plus, blind spot assist and an intelligent lighting package. Although which of these systems would make their way to India is uncertain, the impact they would have on road accidents in India is certainly a provoking though.
 Mercedes B Class tracking

Ride and ease of driving
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class always suffered from a slightly stiffer ride. The current generation hasn’t really been made soft, but has certainly been made more complaint with what can be termed as acceptable. The new car, even with its larger wheels and low profile tyres felt pretty comfortable on the rough roads in and around the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca while offering great feedback at the same time. The large greenhouse of the B-Class combined with the good steering feel has always been a plus point. The new 2015 version enhances that feeling with a slightly different steering wheel that feels great to hold and use.

Mercedes B Class front tracking
Engines & performance

In terms of engines, expect the B180 in both petrol and diesel guise to be the only ones available in India. The B180 CGi petrol engine is a 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that makes 122PS of peak power and 200Nm of peak torque. The B180 CDi diesel engine on the other hand offers 110PS of peak power and 260Nm of peak torque.

What we drove in Mallorca though were the more powerful diesel variants with the all-wheel-drive 4Matic option. Both the B200 and B220 CDI, rated at 136PS/300Nm and 177PS/350Nm are fun to drive and make the B-Class really come alive. Although it is still uncertain as to whether Mercedes India will being in the 4Matic versions of the B-Class, it will certainly be an added bonus, especially since the all-wheel-drive completely changes the way it handles of tight and twisty roads. What also amazed us was how well this new system, mated to a 7-speed, dual clutch, automatic transmission helped put down all the power and torque from the frugal diesel engines.

Mercedes B Class
Handling & braking
Until now, the B-Class was only available with a front-wheel-drive layout. Now though, as we mentioned earlier, the compact family hatchback is also available with all-wheel-drive. Although the 4MAtic system does add about 90 kilos of extra weight, it does lend a lot more balance to the way the B-Class handles. The AMG-package also includes a slightly lowered suspension and bigger, ventilated and cross drilled brakes that help the B-Class stop on a dime.
We really put the new suspension, 4Matic and brake package to the test around the smaller mountain roads of Mallorca and were amazed at how much of a different car it felt to the regular front-wheel-drive version. With Mercedes-Benz in general giving more impetus to its all-wheel-drive packages across its range in general, we think the 4Matic should certainly be a part of standard equipment for a country like India.
Mercedes B Class AMG pack

Price and Fuel efficiency
The B-Class as of today is priced between Rs 28.31-30.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the B180 petrol and B180 CDI range. Expect prices to go up slightly due to all the additional standard equipment and new lines that will be added to the family. We expect the 4Matic to make its way eventually to India along with more exclusive variants like the AMG-line and Urban-line options.

Mercedes B Class side

Verdict
As we mentioned right in the beginning, we think the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is one of the most versatile and practical luxury cars you can buy in India today. Not only does the overall design and space impress us, so does the engine packages and of course, handling characteristics. So does the new 2015 B-Class take it a step further? Yes, it does. With its updated styling, slightly newer interior and more engine-drivetrain combination packages than ever before, the B-Class is certainly turning out to be an exciting yet sensible proposition.

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