Press Kit: The new-generation B-Class


Technology: Lower consumption with more driving pleasure

Fuel consumption reduced by up to seven percent in the NEDC test
Practical ECO start/stop function for B 150 and B 170
Parking assist for automatic reversing into parking spaces
New infotainment units with Europe-wide navigation

Stuttgart, May 20, 2008 - BlueEFFICIENCY is the new trademark for particularly economical and environmentally compatible Mercedes passenger cars. Three models bear the BlueEFFICIENCY emblem in the new-generation B-Class: the high-volume four-cylinder models B 150 and B 170 with the ECO start/stop function and the new B 170 NGT with its bi-fuel petrol/natural gas drive. Thanks to the automatic ECO start/stop function, the petrol models consume up to nine percent less fuel than comparable models without this feature. The NGT variant of the B-Class is happy with just 4.9 kilograms of natural gas per 100 kilometres (NEDC), and emits 17 percent less carbon dioxide than the petrol-powered B 170.

Mercedes-Benz has updated the other model variants in the B-Class in many detailed respects as well, also improving fuel consumption by up to seven percent versus the preceding models.

During the design and development of their BlueEFFICIENCY measures, the Mercedes specialists were primarily guided by the actual user behaviour of Mercedes customers as identified by a large-scale practical analysis. These data covering the day-to-day operating conditions and profiles of Mercedes models confirmed that the B-Class is predominantly used for short and medium-distance journeys with frequent traffic light stops, stop-and-go traffic and tailbacks. Accordingly Mercedes-Benz has developed a technology which offers significant fuel consumption advantages in these traffic situations: the ECO start/stop function (optionally available from autumn 2008).
The ECO start/stop function lowers fuel consumption and exhaust emissions by automatically switching off the engine during idling phases. The driver is informed by a special display in the instrument cluster if and when the conditions for engine switch-off are met. When travelling at low speed, he only needs to shift the manual transmission to neutral and apply the brakes. The engine is then switched off, and the ECO display appears in the instrument cluster.

The ECO start/stop function demonstrates its superiority over other systems of this kind when restarting the engine. This process is not only very fast, but also particularly quiet when the driver operates the clutch or releases the brakes. This is the major advantage of the newly developed starter-generator, which is directly integrated into the engine’s belt drive and powers the crankshaft - much more rapidly and quietly than with the conventional starter. During a journey the starter-generator acts as an alternator and feeds electrical power to the onboard network. An intelligent control system ensures that the battery is only recharged when necessary, with particular use of the engine’s overrun phases when braking energy can be converted into electrical energy by recuperation.
The ECO start/stop function features an electronic control unit which adapts the functions of the system to the operating conditions. This means that the engine is not switched off at low or very high ambient temperatures, so that the heating or air conditioning continue to operate at their full efficiency.

Mercedes-Benz has subjected the ECO start/stop function to extensive practical trials in which around 175 test cars covered approx. 1.2 million test kilometres. Roughly half of these journeys were in city traffic, where the new ECO start/stop function made fuel savings of up to nine percent possible.
Choice of four-cylinder engines from 95 to 193 hp
There is a choice of seven four-cylinder engines in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class - two direct-injection diesels, four petrol models and one model with bi-fuel petrol/natural gas drive:

Natural-gas drive: a clean and economical alternative

NGT (Natural Gas Technology) is the abbreviation used by Mercedes-Benz to designate models which are powered by both petrol and natural gas.
The natural gas variant of the B-Class is based on the B 170, but is equipped with a two-litre engine developing 85 kW/116 hp in natural gas or petrol operation. When the driver changes the power source to the four-cylinder engine by pressing a button on the steering wheel, a special electronic control unit carries out the switch from petrol to natural gas - or vice versa - instantaneously without any jolts.

The four-cylinder engine has been modified by Mercedes-Benz to include additional gas injectors on the underside of the intake manifold. A close-coupled pressure governor with an electromagnetic shut-off valve regulates the supply of natural gas and keeps the pressure within the system constant. The natural gas is carried in special reservoirs located in the rear and underneath the front passenger footwell. They have an overall capacity of 16 kilograms - enough for a distance of more than 300 kilometres. If the driver then switches to petrol operation, he has a further operating range of more than 700 kilometres. The gas reservoirs reduce the boot capacity of the B‑Class by 128 to 422 litres (acc. to the VDA measuring method).
The B 170 NGT has an NEDC consumption of 4.9 kilograms of natural gas per 100 kilometres, and emits 135 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. This is around 17 percent less than for the petrol-powered B 170. Natural gas operation is also economically advantageous: if the NEDC natural gas consumption is converted into the equivalent quantity of petrol energy, the fuel cost per kilometre in Germany is around 50 percent less than when running on petrol. Moreover, drivers in some countries benefit from tax advantages and public or private subsidies when purchasing a car powered by natural gas.

Further development of the real-life safety concept

The B-Class is among the safest vehicles in its market segment. This is not only due to the intelligent arrangement of the engine and transmission, which are in an inclined position partly in front of and partly beneath the passenger cell to provide a longer effective deformation path, or to the favourable, raised seating position of the occupants in the event of a side impact. The Sports Tourer is also ahead of many other cars in its class in being equipped with up-to-date and highly effective restraint systems. Standard equipment includes adaptive, two-stage front airbags, belt tensioners for the front seats and the outer rear seats, adaptive belt force limiters and active head restraints in the front, ISOFIX child seat anchorages in the rear and head/thorax sidebags for the driver and front passenger.
Mercedes-Benz has supplemented this extensive range of safety features with an emergency interior lighting system which is switched on automatically following a serious collision. This provides the occupants with better orientation at night, and facilitates the work of the emergency services when recovering injured passengers.
Flashing brake lights as a further contribution to accident prevention
In the field of active safety, Mercedes-Benz rounds off the extensive safety features of the B-Class with a new development that is able to lower the risk of rear-end collisions: flashing brake lights.

This invention is based on the findings obtained from accident research, which show that three quarters of all serious traffic accidents could be avoided if drivers were given a clear warning of potential danger at an early stage. Mercedes engineers therefore developed the flashing brake light system and tested its effectiveness during practical trials. These showed that the braking response times of drivers are reduced by an average of up to 0.2 seconds if a flashing red warning signal is given instead of conventional brake lights in an emergency braking situation. As a result the stopping distance of the vehicle behind is reduced by around 4.40 metres at a speed of 80 km/h, and even by around 5.50 metres at 100 km/h. Flashing brake lights are therefore an effective means of preventing rear-end collisions. Thanks to this technology now included as standard, driving is therefore also made safer for those not travelling in a Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes specialists tested various warning lights during the course of this study. Brake lights that flash more rapidly than the hazard warning lights during emergency braking proved to be particularly effective in warning following traffic of an impending rear-end collision. The Mercedes study also revealed that switching on the hazard warning system in a critical situation has only an insignificant effect on the reaction time of other drivers.

Additional new ESP® function for smooth starting on gradients

Newly developed driver support systems and functions not only make travel in the B-Class even safer, but also more comfortable. The centrepiece of many assistance systems is the Electronic Stability Program ESP®, whose control unit combines the functions of ABS, ASR and Brake Assist. ESP® also creates the preconditions for further driver support functions, one of which is STEER CONTROL. In critical handling situations, this system modifies the necessary steering forces to help the driver to stabilise the vehicle.
Automatic start-off assist is another standard function of the Electronic Stability Program, and is mainly aimed at increased comfort. It prevents the car from rolling backwards when the driver changes from the brake pedal to the accelerator when moving off on an uphill gradient. In these situations ESP® maintains the brake pressure for a short time, so that the driver can move off smoothly.

Automatic parking with ultrasound and electromechanical steering

Finding and reversing into a parking space is also made easier and more convenient with the newly developed, optional parking assist system, which uses ten ultrasonic sensors. These sensors are active up to a speed of 35 km/h, and scan the area to the left and right of the vehicle, measuring the length and depth of possible parking spaces. A "P" symbol in the instrument cluster informs the driver that this electronic search for a parking space is in progress.

Once a suitable parking space has been found, an arrow appears in the display to inform the driver on which side of the road the parking space is located. Now the driver only needs to stop, engage reverse gear and confirm his acceptance of the recommended parking space by pressing a key on the multifunction steering wheel. As soon as he operates the accelerator, active parking assist takes over the steering and automatically manoeuvres the B-Class into the parking space. The driver only needs to accelerate and operate the brakes; the ultrasonic sensors of the PARKTRONIC system assist in this by keeping him informed about the distance to the vehicle in front of and behind his car.

The ten ultrasonic sensors in the front and rear bumpers send their information to an electronic control unit, which not only measures the size of the parking space but also calculates the best possible entry path. The data are fed to the electromechanical power steering of the B-Class, whose electric motor performs the necessary steering movements of its own accord.
Active parking assist enables drivers to use parking spaces which they would normally pass by. This is because the system works so precisely that the parking space only has to be 1.30 metres longer than the B-Class - an indication of the technology's tremendous precision. This means that the Sports Tourer can be accommodated in parking spaces with a length of only 5.57 metres.

New infotainment units with numerous additional functions

Information, communication, navigation and entertainment - four terms which are nowadays just as important to drivers as e.g. agile handling, a high standard of comfort or a powerful engine. Nobody wants to be without news, telephone, route guidance or musical enjoyment, even in the car. Accordingly these topics enjoy a very high priority during the development of new Mercedes models. The engineers in Sindelfingen have developed new systems for the B-Class which bring cutting-edge technology from the luxury class to the compact class.
There is a choice of three new units, all of them with a colour display, a twin or triple tuner for superior radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, a connection for external audio units and a Bluetooth interface that wirelessly connects a mobile phone to the onboard hands-free system.

Audio 20 with CD player

This car radio with an integral CD player (MP3-capable) includes an FM/ MW, AM and LW tuner with automatic station search, RDS (during FM reception), direct frequency input via the keypad in the centre console and a 5-inch colour display.

Audio 50 APS with DVD navigation

This infotainment system combines a car radio, telephone exchange and Europe-wide DVD navigation system in a single head unit. The route guidance information - with zoom function - is arrow-based and appears on a 5-inch colour display. The integral DVD drive can be used for navigation or audio data. If the optional 6-disc DVD changer is specified, Audio 50 APS also includes the improved LINGUATRONIC voice control system with whole-word commands.


This multimedia system has a Europe-wide navigation system whose data are stored on a 40 gigabyte hard disc, allowing particularly fast access to the navigation data and even faster route calculation. The route map is shown on a 6.5-inch, high-resolution colour display. COMAND APS also includes a MUSIC REGISTER with a memory capacity of four gigabytes. This enables the driver to store around 1000 music tracks in the MP3 format from CDs, DVDs or memory cards. The system automatically recognises the titles and performers, and shows them on the colour display. Above the display the unit has a slot for SD memory cards which can also be used to store music files. COMAND APS also features voice control as standard, and a 6-disc DVD changer is available on request.

The Audio 5 car radio with its familiar functions and features remains part of the range available for the B-Class.

Interactive interface for connecting external audio units

Equipping COMAND APS with a music register and memory card slot shows that entertainment was an important aspect during the development of the new audio units: Mercedes customers are able to compile their own musical playlist and take it with them on an SD card. Now an iPod, USB stick or other external audio unit can also be connected to the onboard infotainment system of the B-Class. A newly developed universal media interface available ex factory for all the infotainment systems makes this possible. All that is required is a suitable cable which is available from the Mercedes accessories range.

This interface is much more than just an electronic “socket” in the glove compartment. The new technology also includes a control unit that connects the external music files with the onboard electronics and operating system of the B-Class. This means that the music stored in an iPod is also displayed in the instrument cluster and the colour display in the centre console, and can be conveniently selected using the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel. While the portable audio unit is connected to the onboard system via the media interface, its battery is also charged.
The ultimate musical enjoyment is guaranteed if the optional Logic7® surround sound system is ordered. This offers a natural 360-degree sound experience for all the occupants – a concert hall on wheels. It makes no difference whether the music source is a DVD or CD, or whether the recording is in Dolby 5.1 Surround or normal stereo. The music signals are distributed by twelve loudspeakers and an amplifier with an output of 450 watts.

More safety and operating convenience with voice control

Voice control is standard equipment in the B-Class if Mercedes customers specify Audio 50 APS with a 6-disc DVD changer or the COMAND APS multimedia unit. LINGUATRONIC operates the telephone, audio and navigation systems particularly conveniently by whole-word commands. This means that the driver need no longer spell out commands, but merely has to say what he or she requires when entering a destination, selecting a radio station or choosing a name from the stored telephone directory.

During this brief dialogue the sound signal is digitised, converted into a frequency range and analysed. Within milliseconds the computer identifies various characteristics of the voice signal and recognises what are known as the phonemes or linguistic components. The electronics rapidly check each sound, join the different phonemes together, compare them with the contents of a stored phoneme dictionary and ascertain the acoustic probability of the word. This enables the system to recognise even very minor differences in pronunciation, e.g. between the words "Town" and "Down". The phonemes of six different languages are stored.

With LINGUATRONIC Mercedes-Benz makes an important contribution to traffic safety, as the driver no longer needs to take his hands off the wheel to operate the telephone or audio equipment. His workload is reduced and he is better able to concentrate on the traffic situation. In 1996 Mercedes-Benz was the first automobile brand to offer such an onboard system.

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by