When it comes to automotive innovation, no company gets remotely close to Mercedes-Benz. Despite its conservative image, Mercedes is a company of great engineering boldness. It never went out on a limb quite as far as it did with the A-Class, a car packed with clever ideas that unfortunately fell over. The response to this problem was, if anything, even more impressive, Mercedes issuing a mea culpa and engineering a solution in record time. By then, however, the damage was done. The A-Class was a damaged good and the B-Class which stemmed from the much improved second generation A-Class faced an uphill task in convincing customers of its worth. Bigger and more expensive than the A-Class, it debuted in 2005 and seemed to be a cross between a conventional hatch and a mini-MPV but as the latter market migrated to seven-seat cars, the five seat B-Class again looked slightly out of step with public opinion. As a result of this and pricing which looked optimistic, sales were slow. The range was facelifted in 2008, with a restyled bonnet, front bumper, rear tail lamps, side exterior mirrors and interior trim finishes, and replaced in 2012 with an all-new B-Class Tourer.