Paris - The third-generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class, revealed at the Paris Motor Show on Tuesday, follows a similar MPV-ish format to its forebears but with a sleeker look and all the advanced cabin tech introduced in the new A-Class, with which it continues to share a platform.

Billed as the perfect family vehicle within the Stuttgart carmaker’s compact range, the new B-Class is roomier than before, with an extra 30mm added to the wheelbase (now 2729mm) and overall width growing by 33mm (to 1456mm).

On the engine front the most exciting news for now is the debut of a transverse (east-west-mounted) version of the company’s latest 2-litre turbodiesel engine, mated to a new eight-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox. The diesel will be available in 110kW and 140kW outputs, while the 85kW Renault-sourced 1.5 turbodiesel carries over as a more affordable option.

On the petrol front, new B inherits the latest 1.33-litre turbopetrol, with output options of 100kW and 120kW, in both cases mated exclusively to a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box. Other new engines are set to join the range at a later stage, says Mercedes, as will the option of all-wheel-drive.

Inside it follows in the footsteps of the A-Class in featuring the new MBUX infotainment system with “Hey Mercedes” intelligent voice control, as well as Artificial Intelligence algorithms that attempt to learn the driver’s behaviour patterns.

As with the A, the command centre is a wide-view free-standing unit featuring two screen cutouts (one for instruments and another for infotainment) and three size combinations are available - 17.8cm + 17.8cm, 17.8cm + 26cm and 26cm + 26cm.

Options include head-up display, a 64 colour ambient lighting system and multicontour climate controlled front seats with massage function and ‘Energizing’ seat kinetics.

A host of driver-assist gadgets are inherited from the likes of S-Class, including a Driver Assistance package that allows semi-autonomous driving in certain situations.

IOL Motoring