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2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive : Current Models

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class is one way Mercedes will gradually acclimatize Americans to the idea of a compact -- and battery-powered -- Benz. Those last two elements probably sound jarring and mutually exclusive to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the brand. But make no mistake: Small Benzes are coming to the U.S, and they're starting with electricity.

Of course, compact Mercedes cars have been available in the rest of the world for years. You can even buy a current B-Class in Canada and Mexico. But the model that comes to the U.S. in early 2014 will be built on an entirely new platform, the same one that will underpin other Mercedes small cars like the CLA and A-Class. As such, it grows slightly compared to its predecessor, and will offer greater interior room and higher-quality fit and finish.

This gasoline version of this five-passenger compact hatchback features a low floor that eases entry and exit, and improves slightly on its already generous headroom. An optional panoramic glass roof should actually increase that further. But the real news is in back, where a sliding rear seat allows 38 inches of legroom, beating even the E-Class's accommodations. Luggage space is also a not-insignificant 23.5 cubic feet. How much cabin space gets consumed by a battery pack located under the floor remains to be seen, however.

The B-Class Electric Drive comes with a 100kW motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Mercedes says it will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in fewer than 10 seconds and should travel about 115 miles on a full charge. Mercedes says the charge time for a range of 60 miles is about two hours.

Inferior cabin materials form a common complaint with the current B-Class, and early prototype reports suggest that Mercedes has addressed those grumblings. Expect a higher level of faux leather upholstery, tasteful accents and improved seating. And, unusual for the class, Mercedes will likely load up the B-Class with safety and convenience features including a WiFi hotspot, collision avoidance, adaptive brake assist and drowsy driver alert.

Pricing won't be announced until at least this fall, and the automaker hasn't decided whether it will sell or lease the car to American drivers. Check back for a full review of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.

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Sources : 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Photo | 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Article


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