Mercedes-Benz B-Class : Road Test
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class is somewhat of a confusing car, or rather it managed to baffle us a bit, especially when we were coming up with the list of 2012’s car of the year contenders and were hard pressed to find a segment to place this car in. Now Mercedes-Benz calls it a ‘Compact Sports Tourer’, but one thing we’ve learned over the years is to not really go by the classification nomenclature manufacturers choose to define their cars with. I mean, Mahindra calls the Quanto a ‘Compact SUV’ for chrissake and Maruti Suzuki calls the Ertiga a ‘Life Utility Vehicle’ – what does that even mean? So while Merc’s taxonomy of Compact Sports Tourer might work in Europe, it doesn’t make much sense here in India.
But how auto makers choose to classify their vehicles doesn’t really have any bearing on just how good the car actually is. So let’s get one thing straight right off the bat – sports tourer or not, what the B-Class is, is a very, very good car. Now that that’s out the way, let’s delve a little deeper into just what makes the B so delectable. And to do just that, we’ve got our hands on the top of the range B180 Sport.
The way it looks
Initially when I had just seen the new B-Class in pictures, it had given off a vibe akin to the Honda Jazz – basically a big, comfortable hatchback, but in the B’s case, a very luxurious one carrying that oh-so-desirable three-pointed star on the grille. But see the car in flesh, and one realises that the B, at 4,359mm in length, is actually much bigger than the sub 4-metre Jazz. If anything, the B feels slightly reminiscent of Merc’s ‘Grand Sport Tourer’, the R-Class, albeit in a scaled down form factor. To be extremely honest, the B-Class is not flattering from every angle given its tall roof line and elongated cabin. What does add a lot to the car’s overall appeal is the somewhat longish hood which takes it far away from a van-like appearance.
The B’s design also reflects the German auto giant’s trend of paying great attention to little design details which is apparent in all of the company’s current line-up of cars. And this ‘Sport’ edition is all about details, from the blackened out top nesting a pair of sun-roofs, the massive 17-inch alloy wheels with their gorgeous 10-spoke design, the curvaceous xenon headlamps with LED running lights, the sculpted and louvered front bumper, the little roof spoiler and the twin chromed tailpipes. While beautiful might be a slight stretch, the B-Class definitely looks stunning, and everywhere we drove this car, the amount of stares it got were akin to what most sportscars get.