REFINING an established theme is something Mercedes-Benz is particularly good at - a case proven by a drive in the latest B-Class.
The car is a popular choice in the UK andit's aimed at those who like a more upright and commanding driving position while competing in that sector of the market in which customers demand a roomy and luxurious tourer which has refined driving qualities.
The latest model of the high-roofed hatchback is a revision of the first and at first glance the development does not look too drastic with new front bumper with larger air ducts, a revised grille and new light cluster designs.
Look a little deeper and there is new seven-inch free-standing multimedia screen, plus enhancements to the finish of the cabin.
Power in the B200 CDI Sport model I drove is from 2.0-litrefour-cylinder diesel engine, which develops 134bhp.
With 221lb/ft of torque on hand it has 130mph on tap with a 0-62mph sprint of 9.8 seconds. CO2 emissions are respectable at 107g/km and combined economy is 70.6mpg - not a figure you would normally associate with Mercedes.
Full marks go to the seven speed automatic 7G-DCT transmission and overall the performance of the car cannot be faulted.
Although the B-Class has some potent rivals in the compact MPV/tourer market is still has the power to cut the mustard with the customers as the latest version has been very successful.
Gilding the lily on the Sport model are larger 17-inch alloy wheels and twin exhausts at the rear, giving the car some real street cred.
The style and cabin enhancements on the facelifted B-class have worked well. What Mercedes has done is to make this vehicle comfortable transport for four and their luggage. You can accommodate a fifth person but it is a bit of a push.
This really is the premium choice in its class and its large grille shouts at the world that it is a Merc and and is very proud of the fact.
To me the real values of this car are its exceptional seating position, high quality finish both inside and out and the amazing amount of room. There is little compromise about this car which also majors on impressive safety and driver control aids.
Equipment such as acceleration skid control and collision prevention assist with adaptive braking really do make life safer on the roads.