Mercedes-Benz has spent the past three years refining its design of the B-Class, in order to deliver improved comfort, better fuel economy and lower carbon emissions.
The result of the overhaul is a four cylinder engine that uses seven per cent less fuel, as well as exhaust emissions that undercut EU limits by as much as 90 per cent.
New features include a stop/start function for the powerful B 150 and B 170 models, which cuts off the engine while the car is stationary, delivering further fuel savings of up to nine per cent.
An active parking assist also promises to help drivers not only track down a suitable space, but also manoeuvre neatly into it.
Designers at Mercedes-Benz have remodelled the sports tourer’s bumper to emphasise the large air intake, with three chromed cross fins fronting the radiator grille and a less prominent bonnet.
The company insists that the new design has crisper lines than the original, making the car appear more "athletic" and "powerful".
A new fabric will be used to upholster the seat cushions and interior, while the sports package will offer ARTICO man-made leather trims. The seating position is also higher than before to enhance the spaciousness of the interior.
The new B-Class will be available with a choice of two direct-injection diesel engines – 109hp or 140hp – which boast fuel consumption of up to 54.3mpg and 52.3mpg respectively.
Four petrol versions will be rolled out between now and the autumn, including two BlueEFFICIENCY models with the optional stop/start function, offering fuel consumption figures between 34.9mpg and 42.8mpg.
Since the launch of the B-Class in 2005, more than 325,000 have been sold worldwide.