A new generation for Merc’s people mover

The third-generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class arrived at the 2018 Paris Motor Show to replace a dated seven-year-old model. Just like its predecessor, it competes in the subcompact MPV segment. Essentially a bigger A-Class, it combines the utility of a small crossover with the sporty stance of a hatchback, and, thanks to its latest update, technology from the company’s bigger vehicles.

Developed to give the slightly newerBMW 2 Series Active Tourer a run for its money, the third-generation B-Class sets a new benchmark on the executive MPV market. Just like the latest A-Class, it features an interior design based on larger sedan like the E-Class and S-Class, as well as semi-autonomous driving tech. Unfortunately, the B-Class will remain a European vehicle for the most part as Mercedes-Benz has no plans to bring it to the United States.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior Styling

  • Takes after the new A-Class
  • More aggressive styling
  • Optional LED headlights
  • Tall roof design
  • New taillight design
  • Optional AMG components
2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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Although it looks unique in the lineup thanks to its minivan-esque stance, the B-Class remains a true Merc, mostly because the redesign borrows cues from the latest A-Class. This isn’t surprising, as the second-generation B-Class also shared design features with the hatchback.

Just like the latest A-Class, the new B-Class looks sportier from just about every angle.

This is especially noticeable at the front, where Mercedes made major revisions. For starters, the engine hood now looks more like that of a car instead of a minivan. It doesn’t ascend as much toward the windscreen, and although it’s not flat either, it looks a bit longer now.

More importantly, Mercedes lowered both the grille and the headlamps. While the former has a more utilitarian look compared to the really aggressive A-Class, the wider center section and the thinner horizontal slats give the front fascia a more planted stance. The headlamps help too, thanks to their horizontal orientation and sleeker design. Granted, they’re not as aggressive as the A-Class, which borrows the design from the CLS, but the fact that Mercedes dropped the swept-back design helped the MPV ditch the dullness of the old car.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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LED lights aren’t standard, but you can add them for an extra fee. These also add unique daytime running lights in the form of a double torch. If you want to go higher, Mercedes offers the Multibeam LED headlamps usually available with the bigger models.

Finally, the lower air vent grew larger, while the side intakes have a more organic design, albeit the black mesh is fake a looks a bit cheap.

The small splitter in the middle shows that Mercedes wants the B-Class to be more than just a small minivan for soccer moms.

Onto the sides, the new B-Class retains the tall hatchback design of its predecessor. There’s a similar glasshouse area with a slightly longer quarter window, a somewhat wavy beltine, and simple side sills that make the doors look taller. Mercedes did make a big change here and removed the sharp character line that ran above the side skirts and then went up at a steep angle to avoid the rear wheel arch until it hit the fuel cap. And I’m sad to see it go, as it was the only element that gave the B-Class a unique character.

Mercedes offers several wheel options with sizes ranging from 16 to 19 inches.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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Fortunately, we can see bigger improvements around back. Much like the front, the rear fascia was redesigned on a clean sheet. The only element that still reminds me of the old model is the shape of the tailgate and the slightly narrow opening at the bottom. Everything else is new and not surprisingly based on the A-Class.

Starting from the top, there’s a revised tailgate spoiler that’s a bit bigger now. You’ll also notice that the rear window is flanked by body-colored pillars instead of black elements. The window is also curved at the bottom, while the chrome trim above the license plate is gone.

Obviously, based on the A-Class', the taillights are smaller and sleeker.

They’re very similar in shape and size, but they’re not as sharp and aggressive on the B-Class. Down below, Mercedes added reflectors to the bumper and a more distinctive black section with a diffuser-like element and chrome trim strip. It’s sportier than before, but the almost flat fascia still makes the B-Class look less than appealing from this angle.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Interior Design

  • Takes after the A-Class
  • Wide, horizontal layout
  • Larger windows add extra natural light
  • Loads of headroom front and back
  • New steering wheel
  • MBUX infotainment system
  • Dual-screen layout
2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Interior
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Just like its predecessor, the new B-Class borrows heavily from the A-Class inside the cabin.

And this is great news, as the hatchback boasts one of the most appealing cabins in the compact market. While most design features are identical to the A-Class, the B-Class stands out thanks to a few unique cues. For instance, while the dashboard of the A-Class is split into two horizontal elements, that of the B-Class has a single volume with a big cutout on the passenger side.

Beyond this, the B-Class sports many of the features seen in its sister model, including the already familiar two-piece display that brings together the instrument cluster and the infotainment screen. Like in other Mercs, you have three options here. The base model comes with two seven-inch display, but you can opt to have a seven-inch and a 10.25-inch screen. Finally, the Widescreen option adds two 10.25-inch displays, just like in the big S-Class. The available head-up display rounds off the modern digital cockpit.

Similarities continue when it comes to the A/C vents, which feature the same turbine look. Just like in the A-Class, there are three vents just under the infotainment display and one at each corner of the dashboard. Down below you will find the same thin control cluster and a storage compartment. The steering is also identical to the A-Class and features the upgraded controls that detect swiping movements like a tablet.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Interior
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The door panels, on the other hand, look significantly different. They’re still integrated into a wraparound design with the upper dashboard, but the armrests and handles have a more utilitarian design. The latter is perfectly horizontal and the pockets are a tad smaller.

When it comes to tech, the B-Class features the same goodies as its hatchback sibling.

The package includes the optional ambient system with 64 colors, a unique feature in this segment, and the advanced MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. Not only it has the ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence, but it can also be customized and adapted to suit your unique needs. What’s more, touchscreen operation of the display and the navigation is made through augmented reality technology and intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition. You can activate it with the code word "Hey Mercedes" when you get inside the cabin.

As one of the very few vehicles in the premium realm of this segment, the previous B-Class was already pretty comfortable, but Mercedes-Benz made big improvements to move the new-generation MPV at the top of the league. The Germans reworked the seats to offer a flatter, more comfortable position and also added a larger adjustment range. Not only this allows you to find the perfect position behind the steering wheel much easier but also increases headroom. Thanks to the interior now being 33 mm (1.3 inches) wider, front elbow increased to almost match that of a midsize vehicle.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Interior
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Mercedes also offers seat climate control on top of the usual heating, as well as a Multicontour Seat package with massage function for the front seats. The latter is yet another segment-first feature. You can also pick between three different front seat designs: the basic model, the comfort seat, and the sporty integral option.

Interior fine-tuning also includes revised rear seats with a standard 40:20:40 split and easier access to the usually cramped middle seat. A brand-new feature allows the rear seats to be moved by 14 cm (5.5 inches) and for the backrest to be folded into a steeper position. This allows a variable capacity for the luggage compartment between 455 and 705 liters (16 to 24.9 cubic feet). This is similar to the outgoing model, but the trunk can now be used more efficiently. At the same time, it’s notably more spacious than the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, which offers only 468 liters (16.5 cubic feet) behind the rear seats.

When the rear seats are folded flat, storage capacity jumps to an impressive 1,540 liters (54.4 cubic feet).

That’s an extra 30 liters (one cubic foot) over the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Mercedes says that a folding backrest of the front passenger seat will become available in 2019, thus giving the B-Class an even longer loading length. The optional Easy-Pack tailgate allows you to open and close the trunk lid automatically at the press of a button or by moving your feet under the bumper when coupled with the Hand-Free Access option.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Drivetrain

  • Front-engine, FWD
  • Optional AWD
  • MFA platform underneath
  • Four-cylinder engines
  • Diesel and gasoline
  • New eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Revised suspension
2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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Just like the old model, the new B-Class offers both gasoline and diesel drivetrains. However, four of five engine previously available were replaced with brand-new units.

On the gasoline front, Mercedes no longer offers the old 1.6- and 2.0-liter four-cylinder mills. Both were discontinued to make way for the new 1.33-liter unit form the M282 series.

Featuring cylinder management, delta-shaped cylinder heads, and particle filter, this new engine comes in two flavors. There’s a base unit rated at 136 horsepower and 148 pound-feet and a beefed-up version good for 163 horses and 184 pound-feet.

Both mate to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and have an estimated fuel consumption of 5.6 to 5.4 liters per 100 km.

Moving over to diesel, the range begins with an updated version of the familiar 1.5-liter four-cylinder. Also offered in the A-Class, this engine is actually borrowed from the Nissan-Renault alliance and spread over a wide range of vehicles from these companies. In the new B-Class, the engine powers the B180 trim, rated at 116 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of twist. This is an eight-horsepower increase over the old B180 model. It also uses a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Both the old 1.8- and 2.1-liter diesels were discontinued to make room for the new 2.0-liter OM654 engine.

Making its debut in the B-Class, the transverse-mounted oil burner has an aluminum crankcase, a stepped-bowl combustion process, and an extended exhaust after treatment with an additional underfloor SCR catalyst. The new engine is also certified in accordance with the Euro 6d standard, which will become mandatory for new cars starting in 2020.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Interior
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Two flavors are available at launch, starting with the B200 model rated at 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet. This mill needs between 4.4 and 4.2 liters of diesel to cover 100 km. Next up, the B220 model generates 190 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of twist. That’s a notable upgrade from the old version powered by the 2.1-liter engine, which delivered 168 horses and 258 pound-feet. Estimates claim a fuel consumption of 4.5 to 4.4 liters per 100 km.

Both these engines mate to a brand-new, eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. This gearbox was developed specifically for the company's larger diesel engines.

Mercedes-Benz will introduce more engine soon, but there’s no specific info of what’s to come. However, the Germans will likely launch a new base model for the gasoline range, as well as a more powerful, range-topping B250 version. All-wheel-drive models featuring the 4Matic system will also follow soon.

There’s no word on a new Electric Drive variant, but I’m not getting my hopes up now that Mercedes launched the stand-alone EQ brand for all-electric vehicles.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class - specifications

Model Horsepower Torque Transmission Combined fuel consumption Combined CO2 emissions
B 180 136 hp 147 lb-ft 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission 5.6-5.4 l/100 km 128-124 g/km
B 200 163 hp 184 lb-ft 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission 5.6-5.4 l/100 km 129-124 g/km
B 180 d 116 HP 191 lb-ft 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission 4.4-4.1 l/100 km 115-109 g/km
B 200 d 150 HP 236 lb-ft 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission 5.4-4.2 l/100 km 119-112 g/km
B 220 d 190 HP 295 lb-ft 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission 4.5-4.4 l/100 km 119-116 g/km

Suspension

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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The new B-Class retains the classic suspension configuration with McPherson struts and forged aluminum wishbones at the front and a twist-beam axle to the rear. However, Mercedes made significant changes in order to make the MPV more agile and comfortable. The new setup reduces unsprung mass, but comfort is further improved if you upgrade to the optional configuration.

Specifically, you can order a lowered suspension with adaptive damping, which is controlled through Dynamic Select.

The system includes an electronic valve that analyzes suspension data and optimizes the damping rate individually for each wheel.

Go with this option and the B-Class is fitted with a four-link axle to the rear. Made from aluminum, the three wishbones and one trailing arm on each of the wheels are mounted on a subframe, which is isolated from the body by rubber bushings to reduce the transfer of vibration and noise from to the body.

Driving Assistance and Safety

  • Lots of driving aids
  • Semi-autonomous drive
  • Plenty of passive safety features
  • One of the safest cars around
2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Interior
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Just like the A-Class, the B-Class takes several active safety functions from the large S-Class sedan. This is a premiere in this segment and pushes the B-Class at the top of the market.

What's more, the B-Class is now able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations thanks to the camera and radar system that anticipate the traffic up to 500 meters (0.31 miles) ahead while using map and navigation data.

The Active Distance Assist Distronic, included in the Driving Assistance package, is able to support the driver by adjusting the speed when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Active Emergency Stop Assist and Active Lane Change Assist further increase safety and make long trips a more relaxing experience.

The new B-Class comes as standard with extended Active Brake Assist, a system that can help mitigate or prevent rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, as well as with crossing pedestrians or cyclists.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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As far as passive safety features go, the driver and front passenger seats are provided with three-point belts with belt tensioners and belt force limitation. The front seats are also equipped with electrically reversible belt reel tensioners, while the outer rear seats have seatbelts with reel tensioner and belt force limiter.

Airbags for the driver and front passenger, kneebag for driver, and windowbags and sidebags are standard.

Rear sidebags are optionally available.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Prices

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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Pricing is expected to get a small increase over the current model, possibly with about £500 added to the price tag. As a reminder, the current B-Class starts at £20,530 (about $27,150) for the base model B180 BlueEfficiency SE, ranging as high as £30,670 (around $40,500) for the B220 d 4Matic Sport.

Just like its predecessor, the new B-Class won’t be sold in the United States.

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Competition

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

2014 - 2020 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Bavarians are big in this segment thanks to the 2 Series Active Tourer, which seeks to combine sportiness and style with endless urban-oriented practicality. Outside, the 2 Series gets the classic Bimmer aesthetic, with a tight, drawn-back fascia and a twin set of kidney grille intakes. Inside, there’s a sporty steering wheel, a dual-gauge instrument cluster, and audio courtesy of Harman Kardon. Like the Merc, the Bimmer makes to go thanks to a range of four-cylinders and three-cylinders, including both gas and diesel options. You can also get AWD if desired. On the flipside, while it may have enough premium features to go against the B-Class, the 2 Series Active Tourer lacks the advanced technology and semi-autonomous function. Pricing starts at £24,910.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan

2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re in the market for a German MPV, but care more about getting the biggest bang for your buck than showing off a prestigious badge on the nose, then the Volkswagen Golf Sportvan might be the right choice for you. Taking after the always-popular Golf for the mechanical bits and underlying platform, the Sportsvan adds a taller body designed to better fit cargo and people. A total of four trim levels are on offer, including the SV, the S, the SE, and the GT. Power is sourced from both gas and diesel powerplants, including a 1.0-liter, 1.2-liter, 1.4-liter, 1.6-liter, and a 2.0-liter. Pricing starts at £19,090, which makes it the most affordable of the badge. However, don’t expect too much leather and fancy trim as in the Merc on the Bimmer. Also, don’t get your hopes up for massive displays, state-of-the-art tech, and the latest driving assist features.

Read our full review of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan.

Final Thoughts

2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Exterior
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The Mercedes-Benz B-Class holds the difficult position of offering an entry into the Mercedes brand, while also being a relatively affordable family car with a lean towards luxury appointment. That means it has to be a lot of things to a lot of different people. To make matters worse, the B-Class has to step up to the seemingly endless crossover invasion we’re seeing across multiple markets, including pressure from within its own brand, namely the upcoming Mercedes GLB-Class.

Its mission is as tough as they get, but the third-generation model might have what it takes to make a difference. For starters, it finally looks like a proper Merc. Thankfully, the German firm ditched the ugly design of its predecessor and went for a sportier look that’s based on the sleek and sexy A-Class. It’s Mercedes’ new "more sports for the tourer" strategy that transformed the B-Class from a boring MPV into an appealing hatch that drivers can be proud of.

Then there’s the classy interior that’s packed with features and technology you can find in larger Mercedes models. It sets an unprecedented standard in this segment that BMW can’t match with the existing 2 Series Active Tourer. If you’re looking for a premium hauler and you’re not into SUVs, the B-Class might be your best option.

  • Leave it
    • Increasing competition from SUV segment
    • Not for the U.S. market

Further Reading

2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class.

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Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

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