The concept of the first premium compact tourer was previewed by the Mercedes Vision B in 2004, which became the B-Class in 2005.
Mercedes avoids to name the concept a monospace, but in fact, the Compact Sports Tourer was the first premium compact monospace. Thanks to the sandwich floor concept, introduced in 1998 in the A-Class (W168), which was also used by the Compact Sports Tourer, the interior space was similar to the one in the larger sedans and station wagons. The engine was placed partly in front and partly underneath the passenger cell and this position saved space. 70% of the total length of the car was used for the interior and the luggage space.
The Vision B and the Vision R featured the same design elements: radiator grille with three horizontal louvres, which supported the Mercedes logo and the rounded roof line, which rose slightly towards the rear.
The Vision B was painted in an innovative Alubeam colour. Usually, in conventional metallic paints, the metallic effect is created by tiny pigment particles with a diameter of 100 to 300 nanometres. In the Alubeam paint production process, the particles are much finer and have a diameter of only 30 to 50 nanometres, which means that particles are integrated more evenly into the paint surface.
At the interior, the dashboard, seats and doors were trimmed with a new hightech fabric which was reminiscent of the high-quality sportswear.
The Vision B was equipped with a newly developed 2-litre four cylinder diesel engine, which delivered 140 HP and 300 Nm, available from just 1600 rpm. Another innovation was the Autotronic CVT transmission, which made maximum power available more quickly than in a conventional automatic transmission. The gears could be shifted by using steering wheel gearshift buttons. In combination with the diesel engine, the fuel consumption was less than 6 l/100 km.
The Vision B was a car ahead of its time, but at the same time, it was transformed very quicly in a series production car, named the B-Class.
For more than 9 years, the two generations of the B-Class has had no competitor in the premium segment.