2012 Mercedes Benz B-Class Sports Tourer gets a petrol-CNG 180 NGT dual fuel option
We’re less than a month away from the 2012 Paris Motor Show and just a few weeks away from the official launch of the Mercedes Benz B-Class sports tourer in the Indian car market. Even as the B-Class arrives into India, as the German luxury car brand’s entry level product, Paris 2012 will see the unveiling of a CNG-petrol dual fuel version of the B-class MPV. The CNG version of the B-Class will use the entry level, 2 Liter-4 cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine good for 116 Bhp of peak power and 165 Nm of peak torque.
This engine’s intake system will be modified to work with CNG even as the power and torque figures remain constant for both petrol and CNG modes of operation. Designated the 180 NGT variant, the B-Class designed to run on natural gas features fve small CNG tanks that can together hold 16 kilograms of CNG, giving the car a range of about 300 kilometers on full tanks of CNG. The car also has a 54 liter petrol tank as a back up option. Together, full tanks of CNG and petrols give the B180 NGT a very impressive range of 1,000 kilometers, truly befitting its sports tourer character.
The driver can seamlessly shift between CNG and petrol fuel options through a switch mounted on the multi-function steering wheel. The car is heavier than the B180 petrol model by about 120 kilograms. The additional weight is mainly due to the CNG tank, which is made of composite materials to keep weight to a bare minimum. The CNG tank is divided into five units, two positioned under the central floorboard while three are positioned under the boot of the car. The CNG tank encroaches on about 128 liters of boot space, reducing luggage capacity to 422 liters.
The biggest thing that the CNG engined version of the Mercedes Benz B-Class has going for it is the fuel economy, which at 4.9 kilograms/100 Kms makes the car’s running cost 50% cheaper than that on petrol. Also, CNG being a much cleaner burning fuel than petrol means that tail pipe emissions are cut by over 20% through the entire life cycle of the car. We don’t expect Mercedes Benz to launch the CNG version of the B-Class in India given the low rent appeal surrounding this fuel as most CNG powered vehicles in India happen to be commercial vehicles and auto rickshaws.
Another reason of course is the long queues that most CNG dispensing stations in India play host to given the vast number of commercial vehicles lining up to refuel. Now, a B-Class in that midst wouldn’t go with Mercedes Benz’s luxury appeal, isn’t it? Well, at least not until the Indian society becomes more egalitarian.