Transport for all tastes

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2012, 12:00am

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class seems a car for many tastes - a hatchback with almost van-like space.

First launched in 2005, the Compact Sports Tourer has been a success, thanks to its build safety and smoothness of its front-wheel-drive ride.

The latest B-Class is more agile and efficient, and with lots of updates.

'No model change in the history of Mercedes-Benz has ever seen so many new developments introduced in one fell swoop,' says Reiner Hoeps, chief operating officer of Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong.

The bodywork now has a width-emphasising design with a new spotlight element in the headlamps and is almost five centimetres lower in height, at 1.557 metres.

The seat has also been lowered by 86mm in order to ease boarding, 'while maintaining a clear overview of the vehicle's contours', Mercedes-Benz says, but the model's headroom in the front has been improved to make the B-Class 'the most spacious car in its segment in this discipline', the marque adds.

The lowering of the vehicle's floor at the rear of its plush cabin has created 97.6cm of legroom, which Mercedes-Benz describes as 'segment-leading' and 'even surpasses that of the S- and E-Class'.

The interior design uses the marque's best materials with a stitched dashboard in Artico man-made leather finish and in four style variants, from sporty to classic, and with a three-spoke steering wheel and a 5.8- or 7-inch display over the vents.

The cars are available here with four-cylinder 1.6-litre BlueEfficiency petrol engines. The 122-horsepower B 180 and 156hp B 200 both earn first registration tax incentives in Hong Kong as environmentally friendly cars.

The B 180 and B 200 'now run on 5.9 litres per 100km (137g and 138g CO2/km respectively), undercutting their predecessors by up to 12 per cent', Mercedes-Benz says.

Fitted with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the B 180 (HK$269,000 with tax incentive) and B 200 (HK$299,000) have Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe occupant protection system along with safety systems such as Attention Assist, Active Parking Assist, Brake and Hill Hold functions, adaptive brakes, a reversing camera and an extra kneebag.