Mercedes-Benz brand-new 2012 B-Class is now on sale in Australia, bringing a pair of petrol engines, one diesel option and a haul of new features to local showrooms.
On the styling front, the new B-Class is wider, lower, longer and sleeker than its predecessor, drawing on the styling themes found across Stuttgart's newest offerings.
While the outgoing B-Class is seen as a small people-moving hatch, Mercedes wants you to see the new model as a "compact sports tourer".
A full review will reveal how close Merc has come to delivering on that promise.
In Australia, the new B-Class will be offered with two petrol engines and one diesel unit, along with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
There are no manual transmissions available with the new B-Class.
On the petrol front, a single 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine will be available in two states of tune: the B 180 getting 90kW and 200Nm of torque, and the B 200 producing 115kW and 250Nm.
Paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, both petrol variants list fuel consumption figures of 6.1 l/100km, with carbon emissions listed at 141g/km.
Mercedes-Benz promises a 0-100km/h time of 10.2 seconds for the B 180, and 8.4 seconds for the more powerful B 200.
In diesel form, a four-cylinder common-rail direct-injected 1.8 diesel engine will produce 100kW and 300Nm in the B 200 CDI.
The diesel model also features a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, and fuel consumption figures are listed at a very low 4.7 l/100km - an improvement of 21 percent over the previous model.
The diesel lists a 0-100km/h time of 9.3 seconds.
The suspension package across the range includes McPherson struts up front, and a four-link arrangement at the rear.
Braking is managed by ventilated discs up front and solid discs at the rear. Electromechanical power steering is also featured across the range.
In B 180 form, there is a 5.8-inch colour display, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and six speakers. At each corner are 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels.
Moving up to the B 200 and B 200 CDI, wheels are upgraded to 17-inch split-spoke alloy wheels, an Artico (artificial leather) interior trim, black-ash wood and chrome highlights, and electric folding side mirrors.
Standard safety features include collision warning and Attention Assist, Active Parking Assist, brake-hold and hill-hold functions, Linguatronic speech recognition.
Belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and belt height adjusters are standard on the outer seats, and rear sidebags are also standard.
The driver and front passenger benefit from new pelvis airbags, and window airbag is also fitted as standard.
Larger all-round than the outgoing model, the 2012 B-Class also offers 976mm of rear legroom - greater even than the 904mm of the E-Class and 870mm of the longest S-Class.
With the Easy Vario Plus system optioned, the rear seats can be moved back and forward by 140mm, putting rear storage at anywhere from 488 to 666 litres with the rear seats in the upright position.
Option packs include the Vision package, which adds a black roof liner and a panoramic sunroof with an electric blind, along with bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights.
The Comand package includes Mercedes' familiar Comand APS system, adding a 7.0-inch TFT colour display, hard-drive based navigation, 10gb of music storage and internet connectivity.
The Exclusive package adds genuine leather upholstery, electrically operated front seats with memory function, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, convenience opening/closing and floor mats with edging in appointments colour.
The Driving package adds blind spot assist, lane keeping assist and leather-covered steering wheel.
The Sports package adds 17-inch five-spoke light-alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, direct-steer system with variable servo assistance and variable steering ratio, two-louvre radiator grille in high-gloss black with chrome highlights, sports pedals, brake calipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering, perforated front brake discs and a black roof liner.
The Night package adds black 18-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, direct-steer system with variable servo assistance and variable steering ratio, a two-louvre radiator grille in high-gloss black with chrome highlights, sports pedals, brake calipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering, perforated front brake discs, black roof liner, dark-tinted privacy glass from B-pillar to rear, bumper without chrome highlights and roof trim strip in high-gloss black.
2012 Mercedes-Benz B 180 BlueEFFICIENCY - $38,950
2012 Mercedes-Benz B 200 BlueEFFICIENCY - $43,950
2012 Mercedes-Benz B 200 CDI BlueEFFIENCY - $43,950
Note: prices are Manufacturer’s List Price; including GST, any LCT, but excluding on-road costs.
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