From £20,530
Armed with an agreeable 108bhp turbodiesel engine, this Mercedes-Benz B 180 CDI SE is the pick of the range if you do big mileages

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.

5 October 2011

What is it?

This is the lowest emission version of the new Mercedes-Benz B-class, putting out 115g/km of CO2 in six-speed manual form. With this new four-cylinder 109bhp 1.8 litre turbodiesel it offers stoutly practical performance to go with it.

The Mercedes B-class now rides on a new platform intended to provide much-improved dynamics, while a generous complement of safety features – including radar-controlled collision avoidance – and a fresh interior of noticeably higher quality improve its appeal. An impressively low drag coefficient of 0.26 endows it with a higher-than-average top speed too, besides helping its economy

See all the test pictures of the Mercedes-Benz B 180 CDI SE

What’s it like?

The new 108bhp turbodiesel is an agreeable engine, revving uncomplainingly to well beyond 4000rpm while providing its best efforts much lower down scale from 1400rpm. It’s a brisk lugger, and works well with the new, slick-shifting manual transmission whose ultra-compact casing affords the B-class a tighter than average turning circle. The clutch can be a bit sudden if you aren’t deft with it, however.

Deft is a word that you can just about use to describe the B’s handling now, the new chassis much more understeer resistant and even allowing you to tighten your line should with some mid-bend throttle trimming. The brakes are strong too, and this coupled with a far more pliant ride (if the car is on standard 17in rubber) makes the B-class a more satisfactory long-distance machine than it was before, even if it’s hardly sporting.

A more appealingly sculpted cabin (the new air-vents are particularly pleasing) and impressive room for four further burnish this car’s long-distance credentials, although it drops points when it comes to versatility with a barely adequate seat for a fifth occupant, a boot smaller than before and nowhere near the versatility of some rivals, especially as the rear seat’s sliding facility is optional.

Should I buy one?

This B-class is the pick of the bunch if you do big mileages – it mixes good economy with adequate performance that suits the quietly refined and rather unexciting nature of this car. This B-class is a more complete and more accomplished car than the previous version, particularly in terms of dynamics, but it is not as versatile as several of the offering from non-premium rivals, all of which cost less. But if it’s a B-class that you want, this is likely to be the version that makes most sense.

Mercedes B 180 CDI SE

Price as tested: £22,060; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 10.4sec; Economy: 64.0mpg; Co2: 115g/km; Kerbweight: 1475kg; Engine type: in-line turbodiesel four, 1796cc; Power: 108bhp at 3200-4600rpm; Torque: 184lb ft from 1400-2800rpm; Gearbox: six-speed manual

Join the debate

Comments
10

13 October 2011

I do actually quite like this car and for the spec/money is not actually bad value when you compare with a BMW 1 Series or the forthcoming A3.

This will probably be the car that sells the most good combination of economy and performance like chalk abd cheese compared to the previous lack lustre B Class!!!

13 October 2011

How many B-Class reviews??


13 October 2011

I would be interested to see this pitched against the SEAT Altea SE TDi CR Ecomotive (to give it the full title!), a car the original B Class was pitched against.

I appreciate the SEAT is the older design and the quality won't be anywhere near as close but as a concept the two cars are aimed at the same market - just with a gulf between the prices. Is the B Class worth it and are people going to buy it just on the badge?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

13 October 2011

[quote JezyG] do actually quite like this car and for the spec/money is not actually bad value when you compare with a BMW 1 Series or the forthcoming A3.[/quote]

This new Mercedes is good value even when compared with a Focus, Astra or Golf.

13 October 2011

This i suspect will be the biggest seller in the B-Class range.

13 October 2011

Can we get the facts straight here, Autocar? The figures for CO2 output of 115g/km and 64.0mpg economy which you quote in today's first frive review of the B180CDI, which you describe as "the lowest emission version of the new B class" are in fact identical to the CO2 and economy figures you quoted on 30th September in your review of the more powerful B200CDI. And in earlier reports you mention that "CO2 output for the lowest emission new B class will be below 100g/km"....I'm confused already.

13 October 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

I would be interested to see this pitched against the SEAT Altea SE TDi CR Ecomotive (to give it the full title!), a car the original B Class was pitched against.

I appreciate the SEAT is the older design and the quality won't be anywhere near as close but as a concept the two cars are aimed at the same market - just with a gulf between the prices. Is the B Class worth it and are people going to buy it just on the badge?

[/quote]

I agree the FL Altea has a better quality interior than pre Fl with Climate controls and Stereo taken from the Golf and a slight increase in price to narrow the gap between the two.

I am a very happy Leon FR TSi owner though the quality and the badge of the Merc will be what most people buy it for. If I am honest why I would buy the B over the Altea. Even though the Altea 105 CR has style and a decent engine, although a bit underpowered when fully loaded.

13 October 2011

[quote JezyG] If I am honest why I would buy the B over the Altea[/quote] For many company drivers, the Altea would mean lower tax due to it's lower price tag. However, the leasing figures might work in the B-Class' favour, so it's on the cards. Many will take the hit in tax for the badge. I probably would, but I wouldn't really have either car.

13 October 2011

[quote TegTypeR]

I would be interested to see this pitched against the SEAT Altea SE TDi CR Ecomotive (to give it the full title!), a car the original B Class was pitched against.

I appreciate the SEAT is the older design and the quality won't be anywhere near as close but as a concept the two cars are aimed at the same market - just with a gulf between the prices. Is the B Class worth it and are people going to buy it just on the badge?

[/quote]

The Altea in my opinion is a hideous car, and the B-Class is surely the much better car. The Altea XL makes a bit more sense, although it still seems a bit pointless. As for the Altea Freetrack...

14 October 2011

[quote Fidji]The Altea in my opinion is a hideous car, and the B-Class is surely the much better car. The Altea XL makes a bit more sense, although it still seems a bit pointless. As for the Altea Freetrack...[/quote]

To be honest from my point of view they are both hideous vehicles (cannot bring myself to describe either of them as a car).

B class Benz just seems to be a rival for the C-Max, Golf Plus, Meriva, Megane or whatever but with the added bonus of an inflated price - thankfully BMW have not been sucked into that niche, or at least not yet......

If that was what wanted I would save some cash and buy a Skoda - Mercedes need to step away from this sort of dross at the first opportunity.

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