Mercedes-Benz launched the B-Class in India last and it is success of sort. The B-Class is a CBU imported in limited numbers and the first lot for 2012 was sold-out even before the launch. At around Rs 23 lakh, the cheapest three-pointed-star sounds like a good deal, but it lacks something that is very important for long term success in India diesel powertrain.
Mercedes-Benz now plans to launch the diesel version of the B-Class in India. Along with introducing the new model, the German car maker will also start assembling the B-Class here at its Chakan facility. The diesel B-Class will probably be the B200 CDI powered by a 1.8-litre turbo diesel engine.
Mercedes has delayed the launch of the B-Class diesel as the new engine is equipped with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) that makes it Euro V compliant, but unsuitable for India due to bad quality of fuel. The company has been working on the issue as the same unit will also power the A-Class diesel in India and also in few other developing countries. The 1.8-litre transverse four-cylinder diesel engine develops meager 107bhp, but that also means it will be highly fuel efficient. The company will later also launch the B220 CDI.
The B-Class competes with the BMW X1 on price; however, the body shape is more of a large hatchback than a compact crossover. This is the only thing that goes against the B-Class, as Indian customer prefers vehicles with tall-boy driving position. The B-Class has respectable amount of space in the front and almost acceptable space for large adults in the rear. It has ample boot space of 486 litres that is on par with any midsize sedan. It can also be further expanded up to 666 litres by folding the rear seats. Mercedes is ramping up the Chakan plant and has recently also inaugurated new paint shop. Both the petrol and diesel versions will be assembled here and that will considerably bring down the prices of this entry-level Merc. We expect the prices of the B-Class diesel to be around Rs 25 lakh.