Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Saloon Gets Hatched

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Saloon Gets Hatched

Article excerpt

WHETHER the B-Class is a hatch, wagon or, as Mercedes-Benz likes to dub it, a hatchback saloon, be assured it remains built for bodies and bags rather than beauty.

Benz's small hauler is back in a second generation that really does deserve that overused phrase a all-new. Everything but the concept seems to have changed from the original that went on-sale in 2005; engines, transmissions, underpinnings, exterior, interior, equipment and pricing.

The good news is all the stuff we want to go down, like fuel consumption and pricing, is headed in the right direction, while the stuff we want more of, such as equipment and performance, is mostly on the increase.

It's an impressive follow-up to a car that was the biggest seller in the premium compact class in its swansong year.

The B-Class is the first of five new small Benzes due to roll out on the new Modular Front Architecture platform.

Also on the way are a new generation A-Class, a four-door acoupea dubbed CLA, a small SUV and another yet-to-be finalised model.

Benz is rolling out three Bs initially, the 1.6-litre petrol-turbo B180 and B200 BlueEfficiencys and the B200 CDI BlueEfficiency 1.8-litre turbo-diesel.

Previously the B180 came with a 1.7-litre four-cylinder, the B200 with a 2.0-litre and the old B180 CDI a 2.0-litre.

Manual transmissions have been abandoned and the continuously variable transmission replaced by a brand new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (dubbed 7G-DCT).

As part of a complete interior redesign, the gearshifter moves to the steering column from the centre console, creating more storage space.

Power and torque climb across the range, quite spectacularly in a couple of cases.

For instance, the B200's pulling power is up 65Nm to a healthy 250Nm, the diesel's peak power by 20kW to 100kW.

The B180 base model a and expected biggest seller a doesn't miss out either, with power up by 5kW to 90kW and torque by 45Nm to 200Nm.

At the same time all-important fuel consumption drops.

The combined claims are re-set at 6.1L/100km for both direct-injection petrol fours a versus 7. …

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