date : 14th May 2006
a new type of vehicle making its mark Ė the cross-over
hatch MPV Ė and this is Mercedes-Benzís rendition.
Itís an unusual-looking vehicle, the Merc B-Class. It
features the well-defined DaimlerChrysler corporate nose,
and the flanks embody the now-trade-mark wheel arch flares
common to new generation Benzs and Chrsylers.
The rear-end is neatly styled with conventional rectangular
tail-lamps, but what makes it look different is the long
wheel base, nearly 2,8 metres, with wheels that look
The big surprise package in the B-Class is in the engine
department. The turbo four-cylinder has its power band
profiled towards the lower end of the rev range, and itís
performance is almost out of character with the
Itís peak torque of 280 Newton metres comes in with a bang
at 1800 rpm, and strong punch is on tap all the way through
to 6000 rpm.
Merc claims a 7,6 0-100 time, so the "sport"
aspect is fully justified in this touring hatch.
In low-speed pottering thereís virtually no turbo lag and
this new turbo motor is just as smooth as the impressive
Kompressor engines in the C-Class.
Being front-wheel-drive with a high center of gravity, the
B-Class handles like an MPV, and is fitted with an
electrically-driven power-steering system that provides very
light steering at parking speeds but surprisingly good
feedback when hauling hard.
Suspension, though, is a
bit on the soft side for high-speed sweeps, and the B200 is
capable of very high cruising speeds.
With a rated top speed of 225 km/h, the B-Class can be
compared to a Golf GTi in outright performance terms, while
when measured against MPVs, itís the quickest on the
In the cabin, thereís a pleasing ambience of quality,
which was exemplified by our test modelís mix of cream and
Multifunction buttons on the four-spoke steering wheel are
standard, and from a safety point of view, newly-developed
head-and-thorax sidebags complement two-stage front airbags,
active head-restraints and adaptive belt-force limiters.
As would be expected of an MPV, there are numerous storage
compartments and the load floor is height adjustable.
Load and storage space is very impressive, and all passenger
seats are removable to give the B-Class van-like attributes.
A new parabolic rear-axle has been developed for the car,
and selective damping automatically provides for comfort and
stiffer ride-settings. However the B-Class needs overall
stiffer spring and damper rates to go with the excellent
performance. From the driverís perch, thingís arenít
All-in-all, this is one of the surprise offerings of 2006.
Many people may have a problem placing it in a particular
category. But the truth is, Mercedes-Benz have just created
a new one: The hot-hatch luxury MPV.
It may not have an extra row of seats, but it has amazing
rear legroom and luggage space, and performance that is
At R266 000 for the petrol turbo itís going to find a lot
Mercedes-Benz B Class
- Engine: 4
cylinder turbo-petrol, 2034cc
- Power: 142kW @ 5
- Torque: 280 Nm @
Six- Speed Manual, Front ĖWheel Drive
- 0 Ė 100 km/h:
- Top Speed: 225
- Fuel Consumption:
8.8 Lt /100 Km (Claimed)
- Price: R 266 000
Did you enjoy reading this article?
Why not recommend it to a friend - Click here
Car Torque is