With this new vehicle concept, Mercedes-Benz is once again asserting its role as the trendsetter among car brands and preparing the way for a young market segment with a promising future. The Sports Tourer meets the wishes of today's motorists for a car with generous space, exemplary comfort, excellent practicality, an exciting design and a high level of driving pleasure. The new B-Class takes the advantages of different vehicle concepts and combines them into an interesting and distinctive profile of its own: as a Compact Sports Tourer, the B-Class is a touring, family and recreational vehicle with incomparable added experience value in terms of design and dynamism.
One of the major advantages of the Compact Sports Tourer is the sandwich concept developed by Mercedes-Benz. Thanks to the space-saving arrangement of the engine and transmission partly in front of and partly beneath the passenger cell, the new B-Class offers the interior spaciousness of larger saloons and estate cars despite its compact external dimensions. The body has a length of 4270 millimetres, corresponding to the compact car class. Inside, however, the new Mercedes model offers more than other cars of comparable size in this segment in all comfort-related respects, e.g. shoulder-room, legroom and headroom.
Occupants in the rear benefit from the long wheelbase (2778 millimetres); this allows a distance between seats and generous kneeroom which almost matches that in the S-Class.
The B-Class also reaches new dimensions where variability and load capacity are concerned. Thanks to a height-adjustable load compartment floor, an asymmetrically divided, folding and removable rear seat unit plus an optionally removable front passenger seat, the Compact Sports Tourer is quickly and easily converted from a comfortable touring car to a practical van. Depending on the number and position of the seats, the load capacity can be increased from 544 to up to 2245 litres (with rear seats and front passenger seat removed). This corresponds to the load capacity of large estate cars. The maximum loading length is 2.95 metres.
State-of-the-art petrol engines with up to 142 kW/193 hp
High-torque CDI diesel engines and up-to-date petrol units meet the need of the Sports Tourer concept for effortless performance and a high level of driving pleasure. There is a choice of six four-cylinder engines with outputs ranging from 70 kW/95 hp to 142 kW/193 hp. The top-of-the-line B 200 TURBO is equipped with a new two-litre, four-cylinder engine which delivers a maximum torque of 280 Newton metres from as little as 1800 rpm thanks to turbocharging and intercooling, and maintains this value over a wide engine speed range up to 4850 rpm. This means that the most powerful of the Compact Sports Tourers accelerates from standstill to 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds, takes the fifth-gear sprint from 80 to 120 km/h in 7.3 seconds and achieves a maximum speed of 225 km/h.
High-torque diesel engines with fuel consumption of just 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres
The diesel line-up is headed by the B 200 CDI with 103 kW/140 hp, which has a remarkably high torque of 300 Newton metres. The newly developed turbodiesel with common-rail direct injection accelerates the Compact Sports Tourer from nought to 100 km/h in 9.6 seconds, and from 80 to 120 km/h in 10.0 seconds (in fifth gear). The maximum speed of the B 200 CDI is 200 km/h. Despite this superb performance the fuel consumption remains below the six-litre mark at 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres (combined consumption).
The CDI models in the B-Class meet the stringent EU 4 exhaust emission limits even without a particulate filter, though Mercedes-Benz offers a maintenance-free diesel particulate filter system on request.
The new B 200 TURBO and the CDI models B 180 CDI and B 200 CDI are equipped with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. The newly developed, continuously variable AUTOTRONIC automatic transmission is optionally available for all engine variants of the B-Class.
Top-class technology for agile handling and outstanding safety
Innovations in the field of suspension technology have contributed greatly to a successful combination of agility, safety and comfort - with all these attributes enjoying equal importance.
The electromechanical power steering system generates its servo effect with an electric motor, varying it as a function of road speed. This means the servo action is greater at low speeds than at high speeds, thus making it easier to park or manoeuvre slowly. The parabolic rear axle is likewise a new development. It makes a major contribution to the stable, sporty and precise handling, as well as the excellent ride comfort of the new B-Class.
The improved Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) now has a new, additional function: the STEER CONTROL steering assistance system. This operates in tandem with the electromechanical power steering system, providing the appropriate servo assistance in critical handling situations to help the driver stabilise the vehicle. When braking on road surfaces offering less grip on one side than the other the new, additional ESP® function also helps with steering corrections and provides the driver with better road contact.
A further special feature included as standard for the Compact Sports Tourer is the selective damping system which adapts the shock absorber response to the current driving situation. A soft shock absorber configuration ensures a high level of ride comfort during normal driving, while maximum damping force is applied when taking bends at speed to give the B-Class maximum stability.
Typical Mercedes safety thanks to the sandwich concept
The patented sandwich principle, which achieves wonders where economy of space is concerned, is the centrepiece of the safety concept in the new B-Class. Intelligently arranging the engine and transmission in an inclined position partly in front of and partly beneath the passenger cell makes a greater effective front end length available for crash deformation. During a severe frontal impact the drive unit is not moved backwards towards the interior, but slides downwards along the likewise inclined pedal floor panel. Moreover, the sandwich concept has significant advantages in the event of a lateral collision because the occupants are seated approx. 200 millimetres higher - and therefore above the impact zone. This means that despite its compact exterior dimensions, the B-Class provides the level of occupant safety typically found in a Mercedes.
Two-stage front airbags, belt tensioners in the front and on the outer rear seats, adaptive belt force limiters, active head restraints, ISOFIX child seat attachments and head/thorax sidebags round off the standard occupant protection system.
High-quality materials and extensive standard appointments
The interior appointments likewise correspond to the high standard set by Mercedes Benz. The design and feel of the interior features complement each other, creating an atmosphere in which the occupants are immediately at ease to enjoy the high level of long-distance comfort. Standard specification includes air conditioning, a four-spoke steering wheel with multifunction buttons, an armrest between the front seats, power windows and tinted glass, plus high-quality trim of brushed aluminium on the centre console, tunnel and door panels.
Mercedes-Benz has grouped further design features which accentuate the sporty, elegant appearance or sporty attributes of the new B-Class into optionally available chrome and sports packages.
High technology from bi-xenon to THERMOTRONIC
High-tech systems from the Mercedes luxury class further enhance comfort and the driving experience in the new Compact Sports Tourer. Optionally available features include THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control, electrically adjustable front seats, leather upholstery and the COMAND APS or Audio 50 APS radio/navigation system. On request the standard projection-beam headlamps behind their clear lenses can be upgraded with bi-xenon technology, the Active Light System and a cornering light function.
A newly developed, panoramic louvred sunroof provides the occupants of the new B-Class with a unique open-air experience as an optional extra, and in its closed position it also contributes to the light, friendly atmosphere in the interior of the Compact Sports Tourer. The roof aperture is around two thirds larger than that of a conventional sliding roof. A fixed panoramic roof with a grey-tinted, 0.6 square metre glass panel is optionally available as an alternative to the sliding roof.
The new B-Class, the Compact Sports Tourer by Mercedes-Benz, will appear in the showrooms of Mercedes-Benz outlets and authorised dealerships in Europe in summer 2005
(Feb 14, 2005)