Mercedes-Benz Malaysia followed up on its triple launch early in the year with a double act recently: This time the newbies are the latest B and M-Class models, the B200 and ML350.
Again, the launch was done during a drive to Penang, with old and new models provided in the mix of vehicles to allow a comparison of sorts.
The second-generation B200 is of greater interest as it sells in far higher volumes than the ML350, and the big step is that it has evolved from a ladies’ MPV to a more exciting one to drive.
If you had despaired before in the lack of oomph on kickdown, the new B200 will give you reasons to smile with a strong speed build-up.
That’s where the steering wheel paddle shifts come in nicely.
It, thus, earned its B200 name by virtue of the power it puts out, which is equivalent to what a 2.0-litre engine would produce.
The new B200 has put on weight having grown slightly longer and wider, gaining 95kg at 1,425 (kerb weight).
We had to ease on the accelerator pedal to maintain speed, or switch to S (Sport) mode, raising engine revs by 500rpm and getting more horses into play.
While the good aerodynamics resulted in a quiet ride with low air turbulence, the same couldn’t be said of the intrusive high road roar: Thicker bushings at the suspension mounting points should make highway travel more pleasant.
There are significant changes under the skin. The rear track is wider, it is longer and wider in body dimensions, and it has a higher ground clearance.
The transmission remains a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus unit for the permanent four-wheel drive system called 4Matic.
What we could establish was that by toeing legal highway speeds, we made it to Penang on less than half a tank, lending weight to the claim of 11.7km/l on average.
The ML350 picked up speed readily when we eased on the accelerator. Road roar was not as loud as the B200, but it could be subdued further.
We found it best to select harder ride setting on Penang’s windies as we could take the new ML350 through corners a bit quicker with less body roll and tyre squeal.
The modern car is one of the most sophisticated machines ever created. Dozens of control systems and computer processors work together to ensure it works seamlessly and effectively day in and day out.
But machines do break down occasionally. The technical team of The Otomotif College (TOC) is here to offer advice and help troubleshoot car problems
The team of seven trainers, led by Allan Cabiles (pic), has collectively 30 years of experience in a wide range of car makes. The TOC Team prides itself on keeping pace with the ever-evolving automotive industry. Its trainers undergo training sessions with a network of 800 industry partners across the country.
With such an extensive body of knowledge, think of the TOC Team as your go-to automotive experts.
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