New arrivals such as the first-ever A35 4Matic hot hatch and the EQC electric crossover together with the next-generation GLE might be taking centre stage at Mercedes’ booth in Paris, but let’s not forget about this little fella. Developed from the ground up, the third-generation of the B-Class is also visiting France’s capital to show off its sportier design and tech-laden cabin.
Essentially a more versatile and taller version of the A-Class, the new posh MPV aims to steer you away from buying a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer by offering a tremendous amount of features for a compact car. It inherits basically everything that’s great about the regular five-door hatchback, but with extras suitable for an MPV.
For example, the rear seats slide forward by 14 centimetres and the backrests can be moved into a more upright position depending on whether you need more legroom or extra cargo volume. Speaking of which, the trunk’s capacity varies from 455 to 705 litres. Still not enough? Fold down the rear seats and you get a massive loading volume of 1,540 litres behind the front seats. Should you want to carry longer items, the backrest of the front passenger seat can be folded as well.
Compared to a regular A-Class, the new B gives the driver a better view of what’s up ahead thanks to a raised seating position (+90 mm). The MPV’s taller roofline brings a more generous greenhouse also boosting visibility not just for the driver, but also for all of the passengers.
Interestingly, the MPV will be available at first only with seven- and eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmissions. Five engine versions will be offered upon launch, all with four cylinders and a front-wheel-drive layout:
- B180: 1.33-liter with 134 bhp, 147 lb-ft, 7G-DCT;
- B200: 1.33-liter with 161 bhp, 184 lb-ft, 7G-DCT;
- B180d: 1.5-liter diesel with 114 bhp, 192 lb-ft, 7G-DCT;
- B200d: 2.0-liter diesel with 148 bhp, 236 lb-ft, 8G-DCT;
- B220d: 2.0-liter diesel with 188 bhp, 295 lb-ft) 8G-DCT.
Mercedes mentions other engines will follow, as well as 4Matic all-wheel drive availability. If you plan on doing extended trips, the standard 43-litre fuel tank can be replaced by a bigger 51-litre tank.
European sales of the new B-Class are programmed to kick off December 3, with customer deliveries slated to begin in February 2019.