First DriveThe B-Class recently had a facelift, bolstering its appeal against rivals from Volkswagen and BMW.
First DriveUpdated Mercedes-Benz B-class is comfortable and looks good, but this 2.0-litre diesel model feels too unrefined to be a serious threat to rivals
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
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