First Drives

06 August 2012

First drive: Mercedes B200

Mercedes is bringing in their supermini hoping to create a whole new segment

Manish Sarser
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The three-pointed star may be facing the heat from the guys at Munich and Ingolstadt. So the boys at Stuttgart are thinking small to make it big here in the motherland. Say hello the new B-Class. In a couple of months, the B-Class will be the smallest Mercedes one could buy in the country.

Of course, the smallest Merc is the A-Class which will also make its way here soon. But for now we’ll have to do with the B. They call it the ‘grand sports tourer’. And it is grand too. The B-Class is quite big and almost thinks it’s an MPV. It is only slightly smaller than the C-Class. We love the looks, it might have a bit of an MPV stance, but lines are well executed and the B-Class is quite pleasing to the eye. Quit drooling on those 18-inch rims, they’re unlikely to make it to our shores.

We’ve driven the B200 – the base petrol with a six-speed manual transmission. Mercedes will bring in the petrol first and diesel should follow some time later. The 1.6-litre four-pot produces 156bhp and 250Nm of torque. On paper, these figures look promising. It pulls well enough and you won’t be bothered at all in city traffic. It’s only when you pull out on an open road, you might feel the need for some more horses. Especially if you’re used to a C-Class.

The B-Class has a front-wheel drive layout. Handling is still pretty decent. It turns in well and understeer sets in fairly late. Steering is quite like that of the C-Class, but only slightly lighter. It is on the inside where the B-Class really scores. There’s lots of space for all the passengers. It doesn’t feel like a hatchback at all in there. Add to this the 468-litre boot and the practicality quotient goes up as well. And even though this is going to be the cheapest Mercedes available, there are very few things to fault in the quality department. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but expect to fork out Rs 24-26 lakh. For more, read our latest August issue on stands now.

 

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