Mercedes is trying to position the B-class as what it calls a ‘sports tourer’ and not, as most will see it, as a midi-MPV. Which is a shame, because the B-class would make a good MPV; despite having only five seats it offers good versatility.The B looks different from the A-class on which it is based – the squat front wings and longer wheelbase giving it a more planted stance. Interior space is impressive, particularly for rear passengers, and the materials are high-quality.The diesel engine is powerful, yet not as refined as you would expect, emitting a constant drone at motorway speeds. The 2.0-litre unit pumps out a respectable 138bhp, although the torque figure of 221lb ft trails rivals from Honda, VW and Peugeot. Mercedes claims a brisk 9.6sec to 60mph, but performance can feel tame, especially with the optional CVT ’box.Find a twisting road and the B is surprisingly agile, benefiting from a low centre of gravity. But there is a remoteness in the controls, particularly the steering, that doesn’t encourage drivers to press on.Measured as a ‘sports tourer’, the B-class delivers a mixed performance. It has good space, but insufficient refinement to be a great tourer; it is quick, but not involving enough to be called sporty. However, it works as an MPV But the real question is whether the badge and quality interior justify the price.Jamie Corstorphine
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