- Range starts from £16,995 for B 150; B 180 CDI from £18,995
- Generous equipment; luxury, safety, space throughout
- On sale from 15 September 2005 - available to order from retailers now
- Upgrade to SE trim for £950
- Low insurance rating - from 7E
Mercedes Benz has unveiled the UK prices and specification for its B-Class multi-activity vehicle, deliveries of which will start on 15 September. Starting at £16,995 on the road, the prices have significantly undercut the proposed pricing announced earlier in the year.
Five-speed manual transmission is standard on B 150, B 170 and B 200 models, with six-speeds featuring on the B 180 CDI, B 200 CDI and B 200 Turbo. AUTOTRONIC continuously variable automatic transmission is available for £1,390 on every model.
Comfort and luxury forms an important part of the equipment that is standard on every car. Air conditioning keeps the temperature constant throughout the spacious cabin, and its chilling capacity even extends to the glove box - perfect for keeping drinks and snacks cool in hot summer weather. Luxury climate control, which gives separate temperature settings for the front seat occupants, is a £410 upgrade.
With up to 2,205 litres of interior volume, B-Class packs a lot of practicality into its attractive compact dimensions. Numerous storage solutions feature on the car, including rear seats that are split one-third, two-thirds with removable cushions. The luggage compartment floor is on two levels, under which the rear seat base can be stowed.
Cubby holes, cup holders, the essential "takeaway hook", sunglasses storage, load-securing rings in the boot and even a business card holder all mean it’ll be very difficult to lose anything in the B-Class. On all but those equipped with sports seats, the front passenger seat can fold forwards to allow loads of up to 2.54m to be safely stowed - ideal for ladders, Christmas trees, surf boards, flat pack furniture or other long items.
The Mercedes Benz Audio 20 CD/radio system can be controlled from the multi-function steering wheel, which also gives information on the trip computer, outside temperature, tyre pressure loss and a range of other features.
Satellite navigation is available in two guises, both of which can direct drivers across Europe. The Audio 50 system comes with turn-by-turn directions at £900 whilst COMAND APS, which uses DVD technology to map the EU, will cost £1,665. For more entertainment on the move, an optional iPod integration kit can be fitted by the local retailer for £172 (plus fitting).
To ensure all drivers and passengers are comfortable as standard, the driver’s seat is height-adjustable, the steering wheel’s rake and reach can be changed, and the front seats feature active anti-whiplash head restraints, which move forwards and upwards in the event of a rear impact.
Those in the back get plenty of leg, hip and shoulder room, retractable head restraints, three-point belts all round, ISOFIX mounting and top tethers for child seats. Suitable Mercedes Benz child seats up front will deactivate the passenger airbags - a real boon for safety. Visible and audible signals give the driver clear indications whether passengers have buckled-up.
Safety is standard on the B-Class, as with every Mercedes Benz. ESP Electronic Stability Program - proven by DaimlerChrysler research to reduce all accidents by 15 per cent, and those involving Mercedes cars by 30 per cent - is standard on every car in the range. ASR traction control, ABS anti-lock brakes with brake assist all keep things on the straight and narrow. Sophisticated passive suspension, with a parabolic rear axle, ensures excellent ride comfort whilst two-stage dampers keep an enthusiastic driver happy through the bends.
Six airbags - driver and passenger front and side bags, and front-rear curtain bags - are standard, as is STEER CONTROL. In extreme conditions, when the car starts to skid or slide, STEER CONTROL induces a resistance in the steering, encouraging the driver to steer away from the resistance and so, out of the skid or slide. At the same time as introducing this resistance, the steering effort required to turn the ‘right way’ to control the skid is reduced. As a result drivers instinctually correct the problem, further reducing the risk of accidents.
Front and outer rear belts have pre-tensioners, and force limiters also feature in the front. Rear side airbags are available as a £280 option.
B-Class has remote central locking as standard, with a factory-fit alarm and immobiliser, a visible VIN, automatic door locking when driving off - and, thanks to the storage areas - plenty of space to hide valuables away from prying eyes.