The Mercedes B Class.
ROADTEST FACT FILE
Model...B200 Blue Efficiency Sport
CO2...141g/km (17ins wheels)
Price...from £21,290 (OTR)
Loaned by Esplanade Mercedes, Newport
NOW, if I was a marketing man with something good to sell I wouldn’t call a car B-Class.
But forget the name. Mercedes-Benz has come up with an A-list replacement for its old B-Class — a new generation of car in seven different models with various trims.
This is not some re-work of the old model either.
The new B-Class is powered by all-new petrol or diesel engines, both fuel- injected, and transversely mounted, as you might expect.
I had the top-of-the range petrol-engined variant, which delivers 156bhp from its 1.6-litre, six-speed manual engine, the turbo — smoothly — kicking in oodles of extra power when want to use it.
There are other petrol versions with less horsepower and the 1.8-litre diesel which delivers 109bhp or 136bhp. All also have automatic options.
Two of THE things about a Merc have always been build quality and solidity.
The B-Class has both. It feels like a car that will not rattle like granny’s false teeth after it’s been round the block a bit.
Because the old B-Class double-floor system has been jettisoned for a new configuration the designers have been able to mount the seats lower.
But it remains a vehicle into which you can step comfortably and maintain that slightly superior height of driving position associated with this compact people carrier.
There are nice touches in the cabin — which has enough headroom to accommodate a towering Clarkson, should you wish to do so. The dials, vents and layout are stylish, well designed and clear, they say quality.
The radio has a nice touch, with analogue-style tune display on a multi-media screen in the middle of the dash. No chance of missing sat-nav there.
Suspension, including the all-new multi-link rear system, is firm but forgiving of what Island roads can throw at it and the on-demand power- assisted steering is nicely weighted.
There’s also quite a few eco-measures, including stop-start, which replaces idling when stationary, and brake-energy recapture, to name just two.
The car is be-decked with lights and sensors. The large front Merc badge, which now shouts I’m a Mercedes, houses the front parking sensor and something called collision prevention assist — which can give visible and audible warnings if you are too close to the car in front and prime the brakes for you. It can also be turned off.
The range has SE or Sport versions and a big variety of paint, trim and extra options, which correspondingly increase basic prices.