A little history first - the first generation B-Class didn't exactly set sales charts afire, and it wasn't too well received critically either.
It was roomy and practical, with a unique 'sandwich floor' design, which allowed for possible battery storage (for hybrid applications) and the engine and gearbox to be pushed under the passenger compartment in case of a head-on impact, but it was proclaimed as being 'un-Mercedes like' to drive.
The all-new B-Class, which shares the same platform as the smaller A-Class, aims to right all those wrongs.
To begin with, even though the basic outward design has not changed radically, engineers have managed to reduce its drag coefficient to a commendable 0.24, despite the fact that it sits so upright; the sandwich floor has also been done away with, leading to the car sitting lower on the road.
The B-Class sits somewhere in the middle ground of being a hatchback and an MPV (Mercedes is pitching it as a 'Sports Tourer') - it's larger than your average hatchback, and smaller than most MPVs, as a result of which it looks a little bloated; the upswept creases on its flanks contribute to this effect, although they help to make the car more aerodynamic.
It would be a stretch to call it pretty - 'unusual' is more like it, and it does have a certain presence on the road.