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New Mercedes B-Class (2012) arrives

Thu, 25 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0700

2012 Mercedes B-Class – now it’s official

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:

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.

By Cars UK