One of the most utilitarian and luxurious small front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles just might make an appearance in the United States. What a great car for the Rocky Mountains. Small in stature, (about the size of a Mazda5) think of the Mercedes Benz B-Class as a mini wagon with a tall roof.
Small, front drive vehicles do well in the Rocky Mountain region given their friendliness at the fuel pump and good cold weather potential. A German version has even greater potential as folks from the Front Range to Fort Collins have a fondness for European wheels. Seriously, count the number of VW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW products when next you go out to dine – you’ll be surprised.
I had the good fortune to sample a first generation B-Class in Germany a while back. It was a manual with a wee-little diesel engine. It was zippy, responsive and held passengers with oodles of headroom. Fuel economy was excellent. We were able to load backpacks, bicycles and three people with no problem. It did well in snow too.
Despite being smaller in height (lower by 5 mm) this new B-Class has more room than the old B-Class.
At just over 14 feet long, the European B-Class will have a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic. If the Mercedes Benz B-Class comes here, I pray they keep the manual, but most Americans are too wimpy to stir their own coffee, and that’s a shame. The older manual I sampled was light, easy and fun to shift.
E – GAD! A fun to drive, cheap Mercedes Benz! Ha-zah!
If the new B-Class does make it across the pond, it may have a 2.0-liter direct injection gas engine that will make around 156 horsepower. A few CDI diesel engines might make the cut as well. Those engines are torque monsters and will make for a deceptively quick machine. Coupled to the six-speed manual or seven-speed dual clutch transmissions, don’t be surprised to see best in class mpg and performance.
European prices for the current B-Class should start at approximately $25,000.
MBZ will cram a ton of luxury, sport and safety gizmos inside the B-Class. The new interior looks just as good as any C-Class. The way Mercedes is painting this vehicle’s image; it will be a no less of a Mercedes Benz than an E-Class. Check out this safety tour-de force:
“In contrast to systems currently on the market in the compact class, the new COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST brake assist feature is not merely a system intended to minimize minor damage in urban traffic. Rather, this innovative solution is aimed at protecting motorists from typical rear-end collisions in dangerous traffic situations. Mercedes-Benz expects the new safety system to have a significant positive effect on accident statistics.
The democratization of safety also encompasses an array of other assistance systems which have been adopted into the B-Class from the larger model series. These include:
- Adaptive Headlamp Assist
- Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist
- ATTENTION ASSIST (standard)
- Speed Limit Assist (speed limit sign recognition)
- Active Parking Assist
- Brake HOLD function (standard with 7G-DCT)
- Hill Hold function
- Reversing camera
- DISTRONIC PLUS”
–Mercedes Benz press release.
That’s a lot of safety goodies for the dough. I, for one, like the idea of more premium small cars in our country. Size no longer matters when you can get all of the functionally and comfort out of something reasonably sized. No word on AWD for the future, but if you need that in a small Mercedes Benz, try the GLK, it starts at about $35,000.
Now, for all of you Birkenstock wearing folk who crave electric/hybrid/hydrogen applications in Boulder, Colorado – check this out. The B-Class has what’s called “Energy Space;” that’s Mercedes Benz-speak for a modular setup under the rear seat that can accept future power/fuel sources. It will mitigate the need to redesign the B-Class to accept new technology.
There’s a lot to like about this B-Class. Look at it another way, Mercedes Benz doesn’t bring cars to America unless it’s damn sure of market success. Long term success. Okay, the R-Class (the big, hearse-like wagon) isn’t a runaway success, but that is a minority for MBZ. They are notorious for over-engineering their vehicles.
I like the idea of the 2012 Mercedes Benz B-Class coming to the United States and I hope it happens soon. Currently, there are no entry level MBZ models to choose from. The C-Class and GLK run over $35,000 base. So, this is a way for regular mere mortals to get their first taste of Mercedes Benz goodness.
I could definitely see a few of these babies in the parking lots of overpriced restaurants from Washington Park to Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Besides, if the B-Class does come here and is a success – the tiny (nearly Mini Cooper sized) A-Class might not be far behind!
Sobald Sie Deutscher gehen, gehen Sie nie zurück!