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Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive prototype first drive review

This pre-production model is smooth and energetic, but added weight takes the edge off efficiency and ride quality
Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive prototype first drive review
There’s smooth, zero-emissions performance on offer from this electric B-class

A fully-electric version of the Mercedes-Benz B-class, and a model that’s finally reached near production-ready status having been seen as a concept car in New York early last year.

Don’t get too excited, though, because you won’t be able to secure one in right-hand drive guise in the UK for at least another year. However, left-hand drive versions of the practical hatchback-cum-MPV are planned to go on sale across North America in June and in various European countries from October, where it’ll provide plug-in competition to the likes of the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen Golf GTE.

Inside, it provides seating for up to five adults and a generous 485 litres of luggage capacity in an airy and practical cabin which closely mirrors that of other B-class models in both styling and quality.

Power is provided by an electric motor sourced from Tesla, but using an electronic management system from Mercedes-Benz. Mounted up front, it has been tuned to produce 174bhp – some 8bhp more than the electric motor used in the i3 and 40bhp more than the turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the B200 CDI.

As with all electric cars, it is the torque properties of the electric motor that mould the driving experience, and with 251lb ft on tap there are sufficient to allow you spin the front wheels away from the traffic lights. Mercedes-Benz claims 0-62mph in 7.9sec, making this the fastest accelerating B-class model of all. Top speed is limited to 100mph.

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