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First Drive

Road Test: Mercedes-Benz B Class Electric drive Electric Art 5dr Auto

£27,000 when new
610
Published: 01 Jun 2014
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • BHP

    180bhp

  • 0-62

    7.9s

  • CO2

    0g/km

  • Max Speed

    99Mph

  • Insurance
    group

    24E

Mercedes doesn't think enough people are buying electric cars at the moment, hence why it's not had a BMW ‘i3' moment. It's why this new electric B-Class was built to look and act... like the regular B-Class. They're even built on the same production line.

It's not regular, though. Underneath, the drivetrain is lifted straight out of the Tesla Model S (Daimler's got a small equity stake in Tesla), here detuned from 400-odd horsepower to 174bhp. The 28kWh lithium-ion battery (recharged in one and a half hours with a 400V charger) has been slotted in the middle of the Merc's ‘semi-sandwich' floor, while the motor and other electric things
have been put where the engine normally sits.

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The net result is that it's quiet, smooth, punchy and... just like a B-Class. The acceleration is great and overtaking is easy, it feels well-damped, comfortable and confident, though some of the regenerative braking can get a touch aggressive. The steering could do with more natural feel too,but otherwise it's reasonable.

Mercedes reckons it'll do 115 miles between charges - depending on the weather and your driving - but it's likely to be a pricey alternative to the standard car. One to keep an eye on.

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