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The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class outclasses its predecessor in every way, with its stylish sheet metal, beautifully tech-laden cabin and impressively comfy ride.

03 Dec 2018

After two generations and more than a decade of B-Class vapidity, there finally seems to be a wind of change in the air, as Mercedes-Benz breathes new life into its small MPV with a host of revisions first seen on its sister model, the A-Class.

An ugly duck no more

Past B-Class models were rather bland and unattractive. They were a little too fat and had the visual appeal of a soulless egg. But with this new third generation, codenamed W247, Mercedes has remoulded the B-Class from an ugly duckling to a swan.

Taking cues from the A-Class, and employing the Sensual Purity design mantra, the B-Class has had its wheelbase lengthened (extended by 30mm), its front and rear overhangs kept short, its roofline lowered and headlamps sharpened to give it a wider, flatter stance.

The width of the B-Class is accentuated by two-part lamps and a distinctive black bumper

If you are feeling a little more adventurous, there is also a racier AMG styling package inclusive of gulping air intakes, bigger wheels and a pretty cool matte grey colour option available.

That said, the changes on the outside are still considered just a welcomed evolution for the B-Class. The revolutionary magic happens on the inside, where a beautifully tech-laden cabin greets all on board.

Tech-fully speaking

Here, the recipe sticks closely to that of the A-Class as well. Taking centre stage are two highly customisable, high-resolution digital display screens that replace the conventional instrument cluster and infotainment system screen of the outgoing car.

The dual digital screens are a visual treat in the new B-Class' luxuriously appointed and well-built cabin

And aside from just looking good, it is also equipped with the MBUX smart multimedia system and in-car voice activated assistant, which you can trigger by saying 'Hey Mercedes' at any time - much like Siri and Google Assistant, but cooler.

Premium comfort is not forgotten

Elsewhere, it is a typical serving of premium Teutonic fare, with materials, fit and finish that are easily the best in class. There is also a great amount of visibility on offer, with 90mm higher seating position than that of the A-Class. This translates to loads of legroom and foot space for rear passengers.

The 30mm increase in wheelbase contributes to the added roominess for passengers in the second row

Coupled with the lengthened wheelbase, giving those in the back plenty of knee room even for taller adults, and a 455-litre (1,540 litres with the seats down) cargo bay, the B-Class is nearly faultless as a five-seating MPV.

The only improvements Mercedes could have included with this new generation model are additional cubbies and cleverer storage solutions like that of the Renault Scenic, which would be better suited to young families.

Never mind, because it drives like a dream

But these are mere quibbles, really, because when people buy an MPV, they want it to be easy to drive, comfortable on the go and easy to park. In this department, the new B-Class checks all the boxes with its chirpy engine, smooth seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and super supple suspension.

Power of the B200 is rated at 161bhp and 250Nm of torque and it will complete the century sprint in a respectable 8.2 seconds. It is happy to be driven with a reasonable right foot, with which its 1.33-litre turbocharged heart will respond with linear acceleration.

A healthy 161bhp and 250Nm of torque from the 1.33-litre enables a 0-100km/h sprint in 8.2 seconds

But up the snaking mountain roads of Majorca, it does appear to struggle a little when required to give its all. That, however, will not be a problem for Singapore's much less hilly traffic routes.

Silky servant

More importantly, it is the way it glides over tarmac, even badly paved or broken ones, that truly impresses.

Whether it is over one of the many forgotten potholes or weathered speed bumps along the Spanish island, the B-Class seems to be able to massage them out of its way easily.

The impeccable ride quality over all sorts of roads is one of the new B-Class' standout features

Our test car also came equipped with equally impressive semi-autonomous safety systems such as a lane keeping, lane changing and emergency braking nannies.

It also has a fully-autonomous parking feature that requires you only to indicate the intended direction of parking. The car will then handle the steering, braking, acceleration and even the changing of gears until it is perfectly parked in the lot.

However, Mercedes can only confirm whether or not these assistance systems are available as standard for Singapore nearer to local launch date, which is expected to be by the first half of 2019.

The new B-Class is expected to arrive in B200 and B180 variants sometime by the first half of 2019

Judging from past B-Class lineups, it is also likely that we will get a base B180 alongside the B200. But whichever model you pick, you can be rest assured that as an MPV for small families, nothing is nearly quite as richly appointed, tech-savvy or as comfortable to be in as this new little Mercedes nugget.

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