Mercedes-Benz Malaysia has, just a few days ago, released two next-generation models into the wild. The vehicles in question are the second generation B-Class sports tourer and the third generation M-Class SUV.

Both vehicles feature the new grille, new body designs, new engines and new safety technologies. Since there is plenty to write about, we will look at each vehicle individually and in alphabetical order.

We take a look, first, at the second generation B-Class and it comes in an all-new body shape and shell. Its design also lends itself to making the car look longer, sportier and modern. However, the lines aren’t just for show, the B-Class records a drag coefficient of 0.26Cd.

On the exterior, the car comes with the Chrome package that sprinkles shiny bits on its shell. You’ll find it on the front and rear bumper, radiator grille and oval tailpipe trim. The xenon headlamps are upgraded with the Intelligent Light System (ILS), a system that automatically adjusts the headlamps to suit driving conditions. The LED daytime running lights are incorporated into the front bumper.

The B-Class’ interior greets with a large, three-dimensional trim that runs across the dashboard. You can choose one of two wood trims – a high-gloss black ash wood or matt burr walnut trim. Also, in the middle of the dashboard is a 5.7 inch TFT screen, which looks as if it is floating, is part of the Audio 20 CD changer in-car entertainment system.

Leather covers the seats and door, which are finished with contrasting stitching. The three-spoke steering, also wrapped in leather, is finished in chrome. Enhancing the interior at night is the Light and Sight package, which includes ambient/warning lights in the tailgate and front doors, courtesy lights in front doors, separately controlled reading lights, rear view mirror with additional lighting and ambient lighting all-round the interior.

Powering the B 200 is the new BlueDIRECT 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engine (internal designation M270). It is capable of generating 156 hp at 5,300 rpm with a torque of 250 NM between 1,250 rpm and 4,000 rpm. The engine is mated to the 7G-DCT, which is a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that is said to be compact. The transmission has an electric oil pump for start/stop capability. The Mercedes-Benz is able to sprint to 100 km/h from standstill in 8.4 seconds and hits a top speed of 220 km/h.

The M270 (engine codename) incorporates the ECO start/stop. As its name suggests, the system stops the engine when the car comes to a complete halt and resumes functions when the feet goes off the brake pedal. As a result, the car consumes 5.9 l/100km (the figures are based on NEDC combined).

As for safety features, the sports tourer is not short-changed. In fact, the B-Class comes with a new radar-based safety system on top of the usual ESP, Brake Assist and plenty of airbags.

Called the Collision Prevention Assist, this system gives a visual and acoustic warning to alert the driver of possible impact while preparing the Brake Assist for better braking response. Mercedes-Benz claims that this is the first time such a system is available in the compact segment. The system is also said to protect motorists from typical rear-end collisions.

The B-Class also comes with Attention Assist that detects tired and drowsy drivers based on steering wheel movements, and then proceeds to ‘wake’ the driver up. Other safety features include belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and windowbags come as standard.

The B-Class is priced at RM220,888 and will be available in dealerships early August.

Next, we have the third generation M-Class. Its full product name is ML 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY, a long name for sure. The SUV is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 that produces 306 hp at 6,500 rpm and 370 Nm at 3,500 – 5,250 rpm. Partnered with the engine is the 7G-TRONIC PLUS, a seven speed automatic transmission that features torque convertor lockup, twin-turbine damper and DIRECT SELECT gearshift.

The drivetrain gives the ML 350 the capability of clocking a 0-100 km/h time of 7.6 seconds and a top speed of 235 km/h. The SUV’s fuel consumption is said to be 25% lower than the previous ML 350 4MATIC; the NEDC combined consumption is recorded at 8.5 l/100km.

If the 4MATIC in its name has not clued you in yet, all four wheels drive the ML 350. The system also features 4ETS electronic traction control and an off-road button that prepares the car for off-roading. Plus, the start-off assist system makes stopping and re-starting in mid-climb easier while the Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) controls the speed of descent.

The SUV is engineered with the Active Curve System that can be combined with the Airmatic air suspension with Adaptive Damping Systems. Essentially, this system keeps the M-Class upright through active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle.

The M-Class is not just about power but also about luxury. Which is why the inside is decked with elements usually reserved for top-class Mercedes saloons. Example, the dashboard’s highlight is the large trim panel, which comes in either gloss or matt wood finish. The seats, door cards, steering and parts of the transmission tunnel are wrapped in leather.

Comfort has also been taken into serious consideration. The front seats are designed to offer high long-distance comfort and optimum lateral support. The rear backrests are adjustable for angle, too. As for temperature management, the M-Class comes with the Thermotronic three-zone luxury automatic climate control – two in the front and one for the rear.

As for Multimedia, the ML 350 comes with the COMAND Online that provides internet access in the M-Class and it is hooked up to a 7 inch colour display. The rear passengers have a additional piece of equipment to enjoy – the Rear-seat entertainment system.

Not forgetting safety features, the M-Class comes with eight airbags activated on demand in accordance with the accident type and severity. ESP, Attention Assist, Pre-Safe, adaptive brake lights and Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist and Active Blind Spot are just some more of the items in the safety equipment list.

The new M-Class is priced at RM570,888 and will be in dealerships sometime late August.

I have spent a couple hundred kilometres in the B-Class as well as the M-Class. My initial thoughts and driving impressions will be up soon.