The Queen B Mercedes Benz B170 | Fridae Lifestyle

12 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Mercedes-Benz B 170

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Linus Leow reviews Mercedes Benz’s B-Class Sports Tourer featuring a new sporty-muscular rear and radiator grille.

Mercedes Benz says that its new B-Class launched in 2005 is a Sports Tourer. This is not to in anyway be mistaken for a MPV or simply a bigger hatchback. A MPV is too soccer mum while a bigger hatchback would make the B-Class look like a slightly more expensive and larger A-Class. While we figure out the marketing genius’s definition of what makes the B-Class a Sports Tourer, there is no doubt in my mind of the generous space and style the B-Class offers within its relatively compact footprint.

The Mercedes Benz B-Class is based on chassis of the A-Class, interestingly; both cars do not share a single exterior panel. The B-Class is a fresh design from the ground up and clearly draws inspiration from the R-Class. Conceptually as confusing as the B-Class may be, we folks at Fridae are in agreement that the lotus-blue B170 handed to us is a beauty and in more ways than one, looks a great deal better than its smaller sibling, the A-Class. The longer bonnet of the B170 does create an impression of it resembling a regular car compared to the more compact A-Class.

With more than 325,000 units sold since 2005, Mercedes Benz would be a fool to mess with the looks of the B-Class. Simple and subtle alterations sees the front end getting a slightly better-looking three-louvre matt silver grille with chrome trim and a redesigned bumper to accommodate a large lower air intake. A useful polished stainless steel scratch protection back bumper has been added. A face lift as quiet as this one, I suspect playing Spot the difference game could be a challenge. Also, the Singapore market does not receive the new Eco Stop/Start System found on Europe bound car. Diamler Singapore’s decision not to bring in the new ultra fuel efficient Mercedes-Benz B170 NGT BlueEfficiency, a new CNG engined variant which uses bi-fuel petrol/natural-gas added to the face-lifted model remains a mystery. (The B170 NGT BlueEfficiency is easily capable of 1000 km on a single tank.)

Mercedes-Benz B 170

In the current climate of economic chaos, the B-Class, in particular, the B170 tested here is crucial to Mercedes Benz’s ambitious plans to challenge BMW and Audi. Offering executive car levels of interior room within such compact dimensions is truly a packaging feat. There are arcs of room in every direction, 544 litres of boot space and an unbelievable 2245 litres can be created for luggage with the rear seats folded away. The B170 has a wonderful driving position, as there are plentiful of adjustments and the view is as commanding as a SUV. Materials used are acceptable for a premium brand like Mercedes Benz. Presentation of the instrument dials is clear and easy to read, as long as one can get used to the over-sized steering wheel. The optional reverse camera fitted on our test unit was a thoughtful touch; reverse parking made easy without risking a neck injury.

The B-Class retains the unique sandwich platform of the first A-Class launched back in 1997. This means that the engine will be decked beneath the car’s floor plan (passenger cell) in an event of a big frontal impact. There are also active safety systems like ESP, STEER CONTROL and BAS. In truth, I would be insane to attempt to personally test how well these things work, but the Euro NCAP rating of the highest five out of five stars possible score certainly would set anyone’s mind at ease.

Expecting the B170 to drive like a sports car, as suggested by its Sports Tourer tag, would be stretching the truth. The B170’s phenomenal height which creates the huge interior room is the main reason to be blamed for the non-sporting handling. The B170 runs into understeer way too often and too quickly for any form of enthuastic driving to take place. Of greater significance, the B170’s ride is ruined by the inability to absorb road imperfections. Often the underdamped suspension gets caught out and spoils the otherwise quiet and refined driving environment. Performance of the 1.7 SOHC 8-valve engine mated with the Autotronic (Mercedes speak for CVT, Continuous Variable Transmission) gearbox is adequate, and gives hardly anymore. While the Autotronic provides the advantages of better fuel efficiency as no gear changes take place, it certainly could do with less noise during acceleration from standstill.

While competitors like the Audi A3 Sportsback and the BMW 1-series are close in terms of size and price but they offer a vastly different flavour of compact premium motoring experience. Clearly both rivals lack the usable space and the lofty driving position of the B170. Also upon closer inspection on the listed pricing of the three cars of similar specs, it turns out that the Mercedes Benz B170 is a relative bargain by a handsome margin of S$8,000. The classy build and hush cabin ambiance of the facelifted B-170 with a relatively good value price tag seems hard to resist as evidenced by the increasing numbers of B-Class on our roads.


Mercedes-Benz B 170
Mercedes-Benz B 170
Mercedes-Benz B 170
Mercedes-Benz B 170

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