The forgotten Mercedes-Benz
THE new version of the overlooked Mercedes-Benz B-Class has landed in Australia.
The small hatch-cum-people-mover - a genre more often spotted in Europe than Australia - brings space and practicality to the luxury small car segment.
The previous B-Class never set the sales charts on fire and was often one of the German brand's slowest sellers - the latest iteration aims to turn its fortunes around.
The bid for success is based on a simplified menu. Mercedes-Benz is launching the B-Class in Australia with only one version - a 1.3-litre turbo priced from $46,400 (before on-roads).
The little engine makes 100kW/200Nm and sips only a claimed 5.7L/100km.
Built on the same platform as the new A-Class hatch, the B-Class adds a higher seating position and increases cabin space, especially in the boot.
Boot space is rated at 455L - substantial for a small car - but expands to a mammoth 1540L with the rear seats folded. An automatic tailgate ensures easy access.
The B-Class gets the brand's latest MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment tech, in which the advanced artificial intelligence digital assistant responds to the prompt "Hey Mercedes". The interior is dominated by a dual-screen layout that runs across the dash.
Also new, the Mercedes-me Connect app assists with the vehicle's general upkeep, storing such vital data as tyre pressure, fuel and fluid levels and brake pad condition.
The B-Class comes with a solid suite of safety equipment and driver aids including autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors and seat belt pre-tensioners.
The new B-Class is on sale now.
Mercedes-Benz has also launched the A-Class sedan in Australia.
Only the A200 version will be available initially with a cheaper A180 to follow in August and the higher-powered A250 and A35 AMG to land later in the year.
The A200 is powered by a 1.3-litre turbo four-cylinder (120kW/250Nm) claiming fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km. The A200 is priced from $49,400 before on-roads.
The A180 is powered by a detuned version of the same engine (100kW/200Nm) claiming the same fuel economy. Prices start at $44,900.