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New models - Mercedes-Benz - B-Class

Updated Mercedes B-Class arrives

Tall-boy tussle: The lightly spritzed Mercedes B-Class range has increased in price across the board, but is still cheaper than its BMW 2 Series Active Tourer arch rival.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer-fighting Mercedes B-Class lands from $41,400 plus ORCs

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Mercedes-Benz logo6 Mar 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

MERCEDES-BENZ has hit back at BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer with an upgraded B-Class tall-boy hatch range that continues to undercut its key rival.

Until BMW’s 2 Series AT arrived late last year, Mercedes was the lone contender in the prestige five-seat MPV sector.

While B-Class pricing has crept up since its sub-$39K opener at launch of the current generation in 2012, the latest upgrade, which brings extra equipment and more “organic and dynamic” styling, sees the starting point for the B180 increase by only $500 – now at $41,400 plus on-road costs.

This is slightly higher than the recently launched Citroen C4 Picasso, which has joined the segment with a single-spec model at $40,990, but Mercedes has retained its price advantage over BMW, with the 2 Series Active Tourer starting from $44,400.

Pricing has, however, climbed $1500 for the B200 petrol and diesel variants – now from $47,400 and $47,900 respectively – and moved $3800 further upstream for the flagship B250, now starting at $54,200.

While the two entry-level B-Class offerings remain $3000 and $3500 cheaper than the BMW equivalent 218i and 220i, the diesel and top-performing variants are more similarly aligned in price.

BMW’s 218d is $100 cheaper than the diesel B-Class, while the Mercedes rival sells its 2.0-litre turbo 225i for $700 more than the B250 at $54,900.

The B-Class facelift brings a new-look front bumper with a wider grille and integrated daytime running lights, while the rear bumper repeats chrome highlights from the front end.

All versions above the entry B180 are now also equipped with LED headlights as standard, offering improved safety at night thanks to a wider beam pattern and a frequency of light more useful to the human eye.

A new free-standing eight-inch display screen forms the centrepiece of the B-Class’ updated interior, while the instrument cluster has also been redesigned for the driver.

Interior trim and colour combinations are now “more exclusive” with more “scope for individualisation”, says Mercedes.

Available now, the B-Class range is offered in three Style, Urban and AMG design lines, but these can be added to with three optional packages – Night, Exclusive and AMG.

Keyless start is standard on the B250 range-topper, but also optional on all variants, while all versions have keyless entry at no extra cost.

Other standard features include 17-inch wheels, navigation, parking assistance with reversing camera, nine airbags, semi-autonomous braking, blind-spot monitoring and synthetic leather seats.

At the top of the pile, the sportiest B250 adds to the standard equipment with leather seats, 18-inch wheels, lowered suspension, tinted privacy glass and ambient interior lighting in a choice of 12 colours.

The upgraded B-Class range continues with a choice of three petrol and one diesel engine, starting with the B180’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine which has the same output as the previous model (90kW/200Nm) but offers lower combined-cycle fuel consumption of 5.5L/100km (down 0.3L/100km).

The B200 petrol similarly offers the same output from its uprated 115kW/250Nm version of the 1.6 turbo-four – but lower fuel consumption of 5.5L/100km (down 0.6L/100km).

The flagship B250 continues to rely on a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 6.7 seconds and return 6.8L/100km.

The B200 CDI diesel option remains the most frugal of the range, its 100kW/300Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo using just 4.2L/100km.

All versions use Mercedes’ 7G-DCT seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sending power to the road through the front wheels, except the B250 which has all four wheels driven by the company’s 4Matic system.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class pricing*
B180 (a) $41,400
B200 (a) $47,400
B200 CDI (a) $47,900
B250 4Matic (a) $54,200
*Excludes on-road costs.

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