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Believe it or not, we're onto our third generation of Mercedes' mini-MPV, the B-Class. Here's our rundown on the 2019 compact car from Stuttgart.
The new B-Class takes obvious style influences from the all-new A-Class, to which it is closely related. It has a long, 2,729mm wheelbase with short overhangs, a slightly lower roofline than its predecessor and wheels of anything between 16 and 19 inches in diameter. Low-profile headlamps are paired to LED daytime running lights (DRLs), while LED headlights bring in a new 'double-torch' design for the DRLs. Multibeam LED headlamps are an option. At the rear are two-piece light clusters, reflectors integrated into the bumper and a 'diffuser-look' lower section. The coefficient of drag value of the B-Class is rated at 0.24, which compares to 0.25 of its predecessor.
Mercedes says the improved seat positioning and a lower belt line of the car's exterior make for 'an even more generous feeling of space than in the previous model' of B-Class. The driver sits 90mm higher than an A-Class, as well, while the roof pillars have been made as thin as possible to maximise visibility. It's obviously cleverly laid out and features more practicality than the A-Class, but - crucially - it features the A-Class' superb dashboard architecture, which culminates in the sublime MBUX infotainment interface. Out the back is a boot that measures between 455 and a colossal 705 litres, because the 40:20:40 split rear seats will be able to slide forwards and backwards by anything up to 140mm. Fold the second row down and a van-like 1,540 litres of cargo capacity is yours to play with.
The B-Class will get the new Mercedes 2.0-litre diesel engine, rated at either 150- or 190hp. It will also employ the 116hp 1.5-litre diesel as used in the A-Class, plus a couple of variants of the 1.33-litre turbocharged petrol engine, with either 136- or 163hp. At first, all engines will be paired exclusively to dual-clutch gearboxes, including a new eight-speed dual-clutch item on the 2.0-litre diesels, while more engines and 4Matic all-wheel drive will follow. As standard, the B-Class gets a 43-litre fuel tank, but a 51-litre tank will be an option, depending on the engine.
Mercedes says the new B-Class is as agile as its predecessor, only more comfortable to boot. Standard suspension is therefore a lowered comfort set-up, while adaptive damping will be available for a fee. Like the A-Class, the smaller-engined models have torsion-beam rear suspension, while more powerful variants gain a multilink axle at the back. A wide range of driver assist systems, seen on a lot of bigger Mercs - up to and including the S-Class - will be available on the B-Class.
"The latest derivative of the new generation of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz, the B-Class writes a further punchy chapter in the success story of the dynamic Mercedes-Benz Sports Tourer," said Gorden Wagener, chief design officer of Daimler AG. "With its emotional yet purist design, the new B-Class blends seamlessly into the design language of Sensual Purity."