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Mercedes B-Class a class-act

2006-03-31 14:14
The innovative Mercedes-Benz B-Class is entering the South African market in March - a compact sports tourer of outstanding design, dynamism and dimensions.

The 'sports tourer' meets the demands 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 best 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 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 - first seen in the A-Class.

Thanks to the space-saving arrangement of the engine and transmission partly in front and beneath the passenger cell, the new B-Class offers the interior space of larger saloons and estate cars despite its compact external dimensions.

The body has a length of 4 270 mm, corresponding to the compact car class. Inside, however, the new Mercedes-Benz model offers more than other cars of similar 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 (2 778 mm) as this allows a distance between seats and kneeroom almost matching that of the S-Class.

The B-Class also reaches new dimensions in variability and load capacity. 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 544l to up to 2 245l (with rear seats and front passenger seat removed). This corresponds to the load capacity of large estate cars. The maximum loading length is 2.95m.

State-of-the-art four-cylinder engines

A high-torque CDI diesel engine and up-to-date petrol unit meet the need of the sports tourer concept for effortless performance and a high level of driving pleasure. There is a choice of two four-cylinder engines with outputs ranging from 103 kW to 142 kW.

The B 200 TURBO is equipped with a new two-litre, four-cylinder engine that delivers a maximum torque of 280 Nm from as little as 1 800 r/min.

Thanks to turbocharging and intercooling, this value is spread over a wide engine speed range up to 4 850 r/min. 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.

The diesel version, the B 200 CDI with 103 kW, has an exceptionally high torque of 300 NM. The newly developed turbodiesel with common-rail direct injection accelerates the compact sports tourer from zero 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.

The B 200 TURBO and the 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 both engine variants.

Top-class technology

Innovations in suspension technology have contributed greatly to a successful combination of agility, safety and comfort ? with all these attributes enjoying equal importance.

The newly developed electromechanical power steering system utilises an electric motor to provide power assistance, varying it as a function of road speed. The steering assistance is greater at lower speeds, making the steering action lighter than a conventional system when parking or manoeuvring slowly.

The parabolic rear axle is also a new development, making 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 Pogram (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.

As a further special feature included as standard, the suspension of the compact sports tourer has a new, selective damping system that 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, but switches to maximum damping force when taking bends at speed to give the B-Class maximum stability.

Sandwich concept

The unique sandwich concept is the safety centrepiece of the new B-Class. Intelligently arranging the engine and transmission in an inclined position partly in front and 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 inclined pedal floor panel.

Furthermore, the sandwich concept has significant advantages in the event of a lateral collision because the occupants are seated approximately 200 mm 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 larger Mercedes-Benz models.

Adaptive, 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 newly developed head/thorax sidebags round off the standard occupant protection system.

High-quality materials

The design and feel of the interior features of the B-Class complement each other, creating an atmosphere of 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 that accentuate the sporty, elegant appearance of the new B-Class into an optionally sports package.

The new B-Class, the compact sports tourer by Mercedes-Benz, will appear in the showrooms of Mercedes-Benz outlets and authorised dealerships in March 2006.

  • CLICK HERE for more info
  • www.mercedes-benz.co.za


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