There's quite a bit of forbidden fruit at the 2018 Paris Auto Show -- cars that we want, but can't get in the States -- and Benz's new 2019 B-Class is kind of in that category. It's certainly forbidden, but it's probably best we're not getting this fruit in the US.
American readers probably only know the B's previous generation as the B250e Electric Drive -- a weird, little van-hatchback thing powered by a Tesla powertrain and sold in fairly limited numbers. However, the new European B-Class is a fully fledged member of the Mercedes-Benz lineup offered with a range of combustion engines. There are a total of five variants ranging from the 136-horsepower gasoline B180 to the 190-horsepower, 295 pound-foot B220d.
The largest diesel is mated to Benz's new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, a first for the brand.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class is a big, bulky boySee all photos
Externally, this new generation still strikes an odd silhouette, not unlike a funhouse reflection of the A-Class hatchback. However, the design certainly looks more "sport tourer" than the old model's tiny van aesthetic. In person, the new B-Class looks smaller than the outgoing model, yet practically it is a larger vehicle, offering more interior space for people and cargo.
Inside, the cabin is a carbon copy of the new A-Class, with the same dual-screen MBUX infotainment suite with sweet tech like the Siri-esque "Hey Mercedes" voice recognition and augmented reality features. The B-Class also inherits advanced driver aid and safety features previously seen on Benz's S-Class, including the Active Lane Change Assist, adaptive cruise control and more.
This odd bird is, of course, not coming to America, as it combines two things that that American buyers loathe -- it's a hatchback that looks like a small van. Plus, Benz's weird hatch quota in the States has already been met by the GLA-Class.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan: We probably won't get the B-Class, but we're definitely getting the A-Class.
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