It’s a rare occurrence that the often bulbous, inflated proportions of an MPV – even those at the smaller end of the size spectrum – lend themselves to visually appealing design. The original B-Class wasn’t a looker by any means, but fast forward to 2019 and this W247 model could just about pass for handsome.
From a distance, its aesthetic relationship to the lower, sleeker A-Class is readily apparent, but closer inspection reveals notable stylistic differences. The larger, more rounded headlights of the B-Class complement its augmented proportions and lend the compact MPV a gentler front end that’s not quite as pointed as that of its range-mate. A comparatively gentler tail-light design, meanwhile, helps to minimise the visual impact of its taller roofline.
Beneath the familial exteriors, the relationship between the two is as close as ever. Their shared MFA2 architecture means that, for the most part, the A-Class and B-Class are dimensionally identical. Both are 4419mm long and 1796mm wide, with a shared wheelbase of 2729mm.
Height is, rather obviously, the main point of difference; the boxier roofline of the B-Class means it stands 122mm taller, at 1562mm. The introduction of this new architecture made the A-Class one of the largest cars in its segment – a possible point of contention for buyers after a compact hatch. In relation to the B-Class, though, this dimensional increase should add to its practical appeal.
As for engines, our B180 Sport test car’s downsized 1.3-litre four-cylinder turbo is the product of a Renault-Nissan and Daimler collaboration. It is also found under the bonnets of the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, as well as the A-Class. In the nose of the B180 Sport, it makes 134bhp, while its 148lb ft is developed from 1460rpm. The B200 makes use of the same engine, but here power and torque are upped to 161bhp and 236lb ft. The B200d and B220d models, meanwhile, feature a 2.0-litre diesel that develops 148bhp and 187bhp respectively.
All B-Class variants are front-wheel drive, but petrol and diesel models employ different gearboxes to direct their motive power to the road. With the exception of the B180d, those fuelled from the black pump feature an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic ’box; petrols and the bottom-rung diesel have a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.