A new preview video was released on social media before the debut and shows glimpses of the new car's design, which draws heavily from the new A-Class and follows the brand's new family face. The interior has also been overhauled, with Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment system stretching a single screen from the instrument panel to the centre of the dash.
— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) September 30, 2018
Also shown here undergoing a final round of tests ahead of a planned start to UK sales in early 2019, the five-seat MPV will join the recently introduced fourth-generation A-Class hatchback as well as standard and long-wheelbase versions of the new A-Class Saloon. These are part of an expanded line-up that will also include second-generation versions of the CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA, as well as the new GLB, in showrooms by the end of next year.
The new B-Class, known under the internal codename W247, retains the one-box silhouette of its predecessors, but in a much smoother form that reflects Mercedes' latest design lineage. The heavy structuring and taut surfacing evident in the sides of today’s second-generation model gives way to a simpler and largely unadorned treatment.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer rival also adopts the so-called 'predator face' of the A-Class, giving it greater visual impact at the front. At the rear, its tailgate is more sharply angled than before.
The prototype pictured here indicates the new MPV will offer similar practicality to the old B-Class, with similarly sized door apertures and a low loading lip at the rear.
As with all of Mercedes' latest compact models, the new B-Class is based around a heavily re-engineered version of the MFA (Modular Front Architecture) platform. It has been extensively reworked to provide greater levels of rigidity than the existing structure, in a move a source at the German brand's R&D centre suggested will provide the car with “vastly improved ride and refinement”.
Mercedes' initial plan was to produce the new B-Class in both standard and long-wheelbase guises as a means of matching the versatility offered by the five-seat 2 Series Active Tourer and its larger, seven-seat 2 Series Gran Tourer sibling, but the decision to push ahead with the GLB means the new MPV will instead follow the example of its predecessor.