The rivalry between Mercedes-Benz and BMW is probably the most intense in the automotive world, with the two carmakers competing head to head in virtually all the market segments they’re present in.
To raise awareness on the new model, Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber hinted that the electric B-Class will be better than the BMW i3. “In all the key criteria, this vehicle will be at least as competitive as our competitors’ models,” Weber said in an interview for the print edition of Germany’s Automobilwoche cited by Autonews Europe.
He pointed out that the B-Class Electric Drive will have five seats instead of four in the i3, a range of 200 km (124 miles) that “can be achieved in normal daily use” and will reach a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). The BMW i3 has a maximum range of 190 km (118 miles) and reaches a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).
The B-Class Electric Drive will also have 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) of torque, compared to the BMW’s 250 Nm (184 lb-ft). However, the i3 is faster from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph): 7.2 seconds compared to 7.9 seconds.
The executive added that Mercedes-Benz hasn’t set a price for the B-Class Electric Drive in Europe but said it will be “extremely competitive”. The electric B-Class will first launch in the U.S. in spring 2014 and in Europe in autumn 2014.
By Andrei Nedelea