From £20,530
If you have to have a petrol B-Class, this is the one to get. But with a £23k price tag, or £24k with the auto-, which soon becomes £26k once you have added a few optional necessities, you find yourself looking at a compromised and over-priced midi-MPV.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz B-Class
The B-Class straddles the C-segment and MPV markets better than most models

Change is coming to Mercedes’ small-car range, and this new B-Class is the first taste of it.

What’s New?

The range topping B 200 Turbo is finally driven on UK roads, which we test with the optional CVT autotronic transmission (£1390). Standard equipment includes 18in 5-spoke AMG wheels, a stainless steel double-exhaust tailpipe and sports suspension.

What’s it like? 

No doubt those beautiful (but large) wheels will play some part, but ‘the impressive ride quality’ we found this car to have in Germany, does not apply here. On Britain’s more broken bitumen, the ride is too firm, as passengers are jiggled and jolted around, particularly at low speed. However, with the exception of some tyre roar, the cabin is insulated well from road and wind noise at any speed, even with our test car having a panoramic sunroof.

The cabin is what you should expect both from this badge and price level, and will no doubt withstand the daily abuse of a full family. In a school-run dash, performance will leave other MPVs (bonkers Zafira VXR excepted) still in the driveway, but the engine note lacks character.

The lag-free behaviour ensures a smooth, steady power delivery with only the faintest flitter of the wastegate from lift-off, informing you of the turbo’s presence. The automatic ‘box allows smooth transitions and is so quick to react on kickdown, you rarely use the semi-automatic function. Max power arrives at 5000rpm, and the virtual gear ratios will try to keep you in this band when driving hard, despite the engine sounding boomy.

Attempt to encroach 5000rpm and the ‘box soon shifts up on your behalf. The speed sensitive power steering works well in town, but the permanently numb feeling makes it difficult to accurately position the front wheels into corners, denting the ‘compact sports tourer’ credentials Mercedes suggest. S

hould I buy one?

If you have to have a petrol B-Class, this is the one to get. If an automatic ‘box is essential, then the B-Class’ is progressive, otherwise the standard six-speed manual box is excellent. But with a £23k price tag, or £24k with the auto-, which soon becomes £26k once you have added a few optional necessities, you find yourself in an incredibly competitive price bracket, regardless of car segment. And with that in mind, you find yourself looking at a compromised and over-priced midi-MPV, badge or no badge.

Jon Quirk

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run