The Mercedes B-class is hoped to change the manufacturer's successes in the 'premium compact' car sector.

Mercedes' previous efforts have been innovative and interesting, but they've never been as well received as the likes of the Audi Q3 or BMW 1-series.

Road tester
The previous B-class slipped off many buyers' radar, so the new version has some catching up to do.

Saddled with a mechanical platform that delivered excellent packaging but at a considerable price, the A-class and B-class siblings have failed to win major success. But change is coming to Mercedes’ small-car range, and this new Mercedes B-class is the first taste of it.

Stuttgart’s pseudo-MPV has been given a new platform and format that, stylistically and dynamically, make it a more conventional fit for the so-called ‘premium C-segment’.

It is at the vanguard of a fresh effort by Mercedes to make real headway into a chunk of the luxury car market where it can ill-afford to be outperformed. As such, the impact crater of serious investment is readily apparent.

The B-class, like the new A-class, is an all-new car offered with a choice of four-cylinder engines, manual or automatic gearboxes and extensive class-first safety features.