The new front and rear bumpers offer the biggest change, along with details such as a new grille and LED daytime running lamps, which are now integrated into the headlights.
The AMG Line’s bumpers are deeper and more muscular than on other B-Classes, and the sporty look is rounded off with sill extensions and 18in alloy wheels.
Mercedes’ badging strategy can be a little confusing at times, with models like the B 180 CDI using a 1.5-litre engine. However, the B 220 CDI is exactly as described, using a 2.2-litre diesel rated at 175bhp, with 258lb ft of torque.
That’s slightly up on the previous model, but emissions have been reduced to 111g/km of CO2 and fuel consumption improves to a combined average of 67.3mpg. There’s no manual option with this engine, so all B 220s come with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It’s a drivetrain that provides a decent amount of pace to match the AMG Line’s sporty pretensions. Acceleration from rest to 62mph takes 8.3sec and, in theory, it will keep on going to a very un-MPV-like 139mph. Much of the engine’s potential is available from 1400rpm, so overtaking doesn't require a lot of planning.
Disappointingly, performance isn’t matched by refinement. The engine is noisy when pushed and unrefined while idling. Pull up at a set of traffic lights and you will feel a pronounced shudder as the engine’s stop-start system kicks-in, which is then repeated on start-up.
Switch off the stop-start and you'll hear the engine droning away and you'll feel a vibration through the controls.
The transmission doesn’t help smooth things out either. Off the line there’s a noticeable delay in pick-up after pressing the accelerator, as the automated clutch sorts itself out. This lag means it’s all too easy to have the throttle open too wide, so that when the torque does eventually kick-in, the car launches unexpectedly.
The guess work involved makes town driving a far more jerky business than it should be. However, once you're up to speed the engine's noise lessens and the transmission settles, making the B-Class a good cruiser.
As part of the facelift, all B-Classes have a lower centre of gravity and are fitted with a four-link rear suspension set-up, designed to aid stability and improve the ride. AMG Line models go a stage further, with 20mm taken out ride height at the front and 15mm at the rear.
These revisions help it to change direction more quickly than lesser versions, and it doesn’t suffer from too much lean in bends, but the stiffer set-up takes its toll on the ride. It’s noticeably bouncy at times, and you can feel the dampers struggling to control the rebound as the wheels crest vicious bumps. You can also hear it working away underneath you, which ordinarily isn’t something you’d associate with a Mercedes product.