Sunday, October 07, 2012

Mercedes Benz Bclass pics

Mercedes Benz had lost its top position in premium cars market to BMW and Audi. One of the key reason according to Merc for this slip is not having a budget product or volume product (For those who consider 20+ lakh as budget). Better late than never, Mercedes has introduced a lower priced car in the market, hoping to increase the sales count.

Mercedes B Class is the new entrant in the market, powered by a 1.6 litre petrol engine that delivers 120 BHP. Its available in 2 variants, priced at 22 (B180) and 25 lakhs (B180 sports) ex-showroom.

I had a chance to take a close look at this car in a small auto expo in Chennai. I didn't drive it and this is not a full fledged review. Just sharing some photos and observations on the car

You're not supposed to call the B class "an overpriced hatchback". It is branded as "Sports Tourer". By definition, a sports tourer should be sporty- i.e. handle slightly bad roads, be fun to drive, powerful enough AND be tour friendly- i.e. enable long distance driving without any discomfort. If Merc is calling B Class a Sports Tourer, does this mean other cars- C Class, GL class, S class etc are NOT sports tourers? I mean whatever I can do with B class, I should be able to do with C, E or S Class right? Am I missing something? Almost every publication carried articles on the launch of B Class "Sports Tourer"- not a single article cared to explain what's sports tourer and how B 180 is different from C 220 or other siblings.

B180 is luxurious by all means. Take a look at the pics below.

If you observe the pic above carefully, there's no gear lever. So where is it? How does one drive without a transmission control? In B Class, the transmission control is hidden behind the steering wheel. You change from Drive to neutral to reverse to parking, just the way you'd operate wiper lever or headlight lever. This will take some time for ordinary drivers to get used to. May be that's what makes it "Sports Tourer"
Another thing I liked about the B class from the German Tristar is the large sun roofs- in fact 2 of them. One for the front half and another for the rear. This certainly makes the journey memorable, provided outside weather is pleasant.

B Class is now available only in petrol engine. Diesel may follow soon. In India now this is the cheapest Mercedes Benz. But should one spend 25 lakhs on this hatchback? I'd personally pickup a Toyota Fortner or BMW X1 at that amount. But those cars are in a different category altogether. On any day B180 makes perfect sense as a gift car to your loved one, over Volkswagen beetle hatch, which is cute but impractical. Merc has also secured its position in advance while Audi readies A3 and A1. Let the battle begin