Mercedes-Benz unveils B-Class, India's first sports tourer, in Chennai

Exactly a month back, we carried a post on Mercedes-Benz, the German luxury automotive brand that is steadily losing steam in India against its much newer rivals BMW and Audi. We had stated that the company is betting big on the MFA Platform to trounce its competitors and the B-Class would be the first model leading the charge for the brand wearing the three pointed star. That charge has now begun. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the B-Class in New Delhi last month followed by a drive event at the Buddh International Circuit in which select automotive media participated. With positive initial reviews from the press, the B-Class was unveiled in Chennai late yesterday evening. Trans Car India, the flagship dealer of Mercedes-Benz in the city, took the wraps off the car at its spanking new showroom that is designed on the lines of Mercedes-Benz Center in Stuttgart, Germany.

Regular readers of our blog would already be knowing that Mercedes-Benz is planning to position the B-Class as India’s first sports tourer. If you think you haven’t heard something like that before, do not worry. According to us, that is just another fancy name for a MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle). The company is targeting the young and adventurous urban clientele as prospective customers for the B-Class and as such, the branding, positioning and marketing are on those lines. We aren't sure about this, but we haven't seen Mercedes-Benz create so much of a buzz for any of its launches before. Is it the competition effect? It could well be. Moreover, such is the importance of the derivatives of MFA Platform which the company refers to as NGCC (Next Generation Compact Cars), that Mercedes-Benz just cannot afford to falter with.

If it was Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D'Souza in New Delhi, it was the latest darling actor couple of Prasanna and Sneha who were the guests of honor here. Being a special unveiling for Chennai, the stars also gave a 'Tamil' connection to the event as the wraps came off the B-Class amidst a shower of confetti.

While the styling of B-Class may be a bit underwhelming, the fact that it looks more like a glorified hatchback than a MPV is its biggest asset according to us. But don't let its hatchback shape deceive you. This car is so unbelievably spacious on the inside with a wheelbase of 2700 mm that rivals many sedans from competing brands. Sharp and muscular creases flank the profile and typical Mercedes-Benz design elements like the intricately detailed headlamps, Daytime Running Lamps and slingshot indicators in rear-view mirrors add a touch of character to the car. Interiors are trademark high quality stuff and we especially liked the glossy piano black finish on the dashboard. The circular air-conditioning vents inspired by the SLS AMG and the i-Pad sized information and entertainment screen at the top of the center console are sure-shot attention grabbers inside.

Expected to be armed with an array of active and passive safety and convenience features, the B-Class will give its customers a typical Mercedes-Benz experience in a compact footprint. Even the power-train options speculated for India, a 1.6-liter petrol engine and a 1.8-liter diesel engine, have 'economy' firmly in their sights. The early-bird customers who had booked the B-Class at the Trans Car dealership in Chennai were also felicitated with special prizes. With widespread rumors that Mercedes-Benz has already bagged more than a handful of orders for the B-Class across India, the future seems to be bright for the car. It all bodes very well for the premium hatchback A-Class, the compact four door coupe CLA and the compact crossover GLA that are expected to follow the footsteps of the B-Class into India.


  1. I wish Mercedes had launched the A-Class before the B-class. The A class would be cheaper if brought to India and it would be a blockbuster here due to pricing. B class is doing nicely though.

    1. Don't worry, the A-Class is next in line and would be launched by end of next year or early 2014. Unlike the B-Class which was already on sale in the international markets for more than a year now, the A-Class is an all-new model globally. That is what is taking time we guess.