The holy German trinity has been introducing various products from their international portfolio to meet the growing demand of the Indian luxury car buyers. Recently, Audi introduced the Q3 and the titivated version of the A4. Now, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are gearing up to revive their entry-level models.
Mercedes-Benz is introducing the first-ever sports tourer in India. This is a new segment and the company targets those who are young at heart. So, much before the launch of the B-Class, Mercedes-Benz India invited us to drive the B-Class at the Buddh International Circuit. We share our first driving impressions of the car around India’s only Formula 1 track.
The B-Class is India’s one first sports tourer, and will be the new entry-level Mercedes-Benz for India. This is Mercedes-Benz’s first premium vehicle and will be priced below Rs 25lakh. The snout of the B-Class gets the Avantgarde grille with twin horizontal chrome slats and bi-xenon headlamps.
The indicator’s and the day-time running lamps are LEDs. The crown hood makes the B-Class makes it look like a cab forward design. The 5 bi-spoke alloys look gorgeous. The rear reminds of the estate version of the E-Class and even the tail lamp design is similar.
Mercedes-Benz designers have gone back to the drawing board, to craft the interiors for the B-Class. The B-Class sports the new interiors, and the new models from Stuttgart will be inspired from this new instrument panel. There is no deterioration in the quality of the materials used and the B-Class has top notch materials, despite being a premium segment vehicle.
The bucket of the B-Class will come embellished with brownies like telematics, memory seats, 7 airbags, tyre pressure monitoring system, Attention Assist, ESP and panoramic sunroof. Mercedes-Benz has picked a leaf from its old instrument panel design book and introduced the old round dials for air-conditioning. The numpad of the old car is still retained. Front row seats are electrically adjustable seats and once you slip behind the steering wheel, the position is commanding as you have a complete view of the road.
Speaking of the space, acres of it is available in the front and the second row. The seats are also large and are supportive. The second row has the Vario seats. The boot is also massive as it offers a storage capacity of 488 litres, and this can be increased to 1547 litres, thanks to the Vario seats.
Mercedes-Benz will launch the B-Class with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and also the 1.8-litre diesel engine. To begin with, the petrol will be launched in the initial stage. The B200 CGI that we drove around the track won’t be the power train on sale in India. This engine produces 156bhp of power and was peppy enough to be driven on the track. The response from the throttle is good and even the power delivery is fairly linear. This came mated to a simple stick shift, which isn’t coming to India either.
The Indian version B-Class will have a 1.6-litre turbo petrol and it will come mated to a 7-speed DCT, which is a dual clutch transmission. The one we drove was a six-speed manual transmission. The transmission was decent, but it was wee bit notchy. As this box isn’t coming to India, there might not be much to worry about. Being a dual-clutch we predict it to have quick shifts. bNothing really can be spoken about the ride suppleness of the B-Class as we drove it on the smooth surface of the Buddh International Circuit. The handling is good, though the alacrity of the chassis isn’t as good as the C-Class. There is a fair bit of understeer on this front wheel drive car. The brakes feel a bit soggy, even though they bite progressively.
The B-Class that we drove had a different power rating and so was the transmission. Hence, we cannot conclude anything about the power train. On the other hand, the B-Class as a product is good and Mercedes-Benz has combined function with style. The new interior styling is refreshing and so when there is sufficient space. As the pricing hasn’t been revealed, we will have to wait till October, when the B-Class will be officially launched.