Independent multi-link rear suspension, a lower centre of roll, the option of a Sport-spec chassis… all of this suggests that the new B-Class has been designed with the amusement of its driver at least distantly in mind, rather than distantly neglected, as was the case with the previous B-Class. And on the right road, this Mercedes has its moments.
The previous B-Class’s parabolic rear axle has gone, replaced with a four-link arrangement. MacPherson struts remain up front. The old car’s much-maligned electro-mechanical power steering system has also been entirely redesigned. Range-topping Sport-spec cars feature uprated suspension, adaptive dampers, more reactive 'Direct Steering' and a 15mm drop in ride height.
On the standard chassis set-up and 16 or 17-inch wheels, the B-Class offers an acceptable ride, a relatively precise and composed feel and enough grip in corners to inspire confidence. There's little in the way of feedback but, given the target market, that's not a hugely negative point.
Sport versions of the B-Class can actually change direction too suddenly when you really lean on it, the car’s body pivoting around behind its front axle with giddy abandon. If you’re expecting exaggerated lean angles and a general unwillingness to respond to the steering wheel at speed, you’ll be more than a little impressed with a car whose singular dynamic triumph seems to be that it’s as lively and game as any ‘normal’ family five-door.