Set to rival the BMW i3 and recently introduced Volkswagen eGolf when it goes on sale in the UK with other models during the first quarter of 2015, the B-class Electric Drive uses a 16.6kWh lithium ion battery that is claimed to provide it with a range of 124 miles.
All up, the battery and its ancillaries add some 200kg to the kerb weight, taking it up to 1650kg. By comparison, the i3 tips the scales at a comparatively lightweight 1195kg while the e-Golf is claimed to weigh 1510kg.
Among the stylistic changes brought to the B-class is a new front bumper with larger air ducts for more efficient engine bay cooling, a revised grille and daytime running lamps integrated into the headlamps assembly rather than lower down on the bumper as before. Buyers can choose to option the new car with LED headlamps, although they are not available on the B-class Electric Drive.
Mercedes-Benz's design team has also tidied up the rear with altered tail lamps graphics and a deeper bumper that houses trapezoidal shaped tail pipes, as seen on the German car maker’s more expensive models.
Despite the changes, Mercedes-Benz says the B-class continues to set the standard in terms of aerodynamic efficiency in its class, with the B180 CDI Blue Efficiency boasting a drag co-efficient of 0.25.
Inside, the new B-class receives updated appointments, equipment and safety equipment, including a new standard 8.0 inch free standing monitor, optional keyless entry and a revised attention assist system that now monitors driver fatigue within an extended speed range from 37 to 124mph and uses a five-stage display.
The B-class will continue to be sold exclusively with four-cylinder engines. On the petrol side they range from a 120bhp 1.6-litre on the B180 through to a 208bhp 2.0-litre with the B250. The diesel line-up starts with an 89bhp 1.6-litre on the B160 CDI and progresses through to a 175bhp 2.2-litre in the B220 CDI. Gearbox choices include a standard six-speed manual or optional seven speed dual clutch unit.
In a further development, a total of four facelifted B-class models – the 181bhp 2.0-litre B220, 208bhp 2.0-litre B250, 134bhp B200 CDI and 174bhp B220 CDI – will be sold with optional 4Matic four-wheel drive.
Since its launch in 2011, the second-generation B-class has garnered more than 350,000 sales worldwide.
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