The New Mercedes Benz B-Class | Part Three

Mercedes Benz B-Class

Mercedes Benz B-Class

The improved Electronic Stability Program (ESP) now has a new, additional function: the STEER CONTROL steering assistance system. This operates in tandem with the electromechanical power steering system, providing the appropriate servo assistance in critical handling situations to help the driver stabilise the vehicle. When braking on road surfaces offering less grip on one side than the other the new, additional ESP function also helps with steering corrections and provides the driver with better road contact.

As a further special feature included as standard, the suspension of the Compact Sports Tourer has a new, selective damping system which adapts the shock absorber response to the current driving situation. A soft shock absorber configuration ensures a high level of ride comfort during normal driving, but switches to maximum damping force when taking bends at speed to give the B-Class maximum stability.

Typical Mercedes safety thanks to the sandwich concept

The unique sandwich concept, which achieves wonders where economy of space is concerned, is the centrepiece of the safety concept in the new B-Class. Intelligently arranging the engine and transmission in an inclined position partly in front of and partly beneath the passenger cell makes a greater effective front end length available for crash deformation. During a severe frontal impact the drive unit is not moved backwards towards the interior, but slides downwards along the likewise inclined pedal floor panel. Moreover, the sandwich concept has significant advantages in the event of a lateral collision because the occupants are seated approx. 200 mm higher - and therefore above the impact zone. This means that despite its compact exterior dimensions, the B-Class provides the level of occupant safety typically found in a Mercedes.

Adaptive, two-stage front airbags, belt tensioners in the front and on the outer rear seats, adaptive belt force limiters, active head restraints, ISOFIX child seat attachments and newly developed head/thorax sidebags round off the standard occupant protection system.

continues... | Part Four
Published 14 February 2005 Melanie Carter

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