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Mercedes-Benz B-Class Europe launch 

Broadcast dates : 15th May 2005
21st May 2005


Mercedes-Benz will launch its all new B-Class model in Europe in a few months time.

The new car marks Mercedes-Benzs debut in the conventional hatchback market, although Mercedes is not officially calling the B-Class a hatchback.

Instead the Stuttgart company literature refers to it as a "sports tourer", saying that it combines various concepts into one vehicle.

A touring, family and recreational vehicle combined in one, is the claim Mercedes makes for the B-Class. In effect its a slightly taller-than-average hatchback, and in many ways a development of the A-Class mini MPV.

Central to the B-Class design is the location of the engine and transmission, partly in front and partly beneath the front section of the cabin.

This is the same space-liberating design used in the A-Class and, of course, the new Merc employs front-wheel-drive.
A wide range of engines has been earmarked for the B-Class. A total of six four-cylinder units will be offered, ranging from a 70 kiloWatt diesel engine to a one hundred and forty-two kilowatt turbocharged petrol engine.

Performance for the top model should be close to the GTi league. A nought to one-hundred time of 7,3 seconds is estimated, with a maximum speed of 225 k/ph.

The cabin of the B-Class is certainly spacious, and Mercedes says rear leg-room rivals that of its large S-Class sedan.

Standard equipment includes a multifunction steering wheel, and a choice of automatic or manual transmissions.

Brushed-aluminum trim on the centre console and door panels adds a touch of verve to the cabin, as do the rather sporty speedo and rev counter faces.

Itll be interesting to see what sort of impact the B-Class makes on the hatchback market, or indeed the Mini MPV market.

No doubt because of the three-pointed star on the nose, the B-Class will be priced above the likes of the Golf, Astra and Megane, and probably more expensively than BMWs 1 Series too.

At this stage no decision has been made to bring the new Merc to South Africa. But if it does go on sale here, itll probably do so early in 2006.

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