Mercedes B-Class review - Engines, performance and drive
Almost as good to drive as the A-Class, especially in AMG Line trim
On the road, the Mercedes B-Class feels like a slightly top-heavy A-Class rather than a traditional MPV. In fact, it’s easy to forget you’re not driving the A-Class.
You sit a little higher, which gives a commanding view of the road ahead, but this does create a slight feeling of detachment that you don’t get in the A-Class. However, this is a small price to pay for the additional practicality and space.
There’s very little roll when cornering – body control is remarkably good for a car in this segment. A sophisticated multi-link rear suspension is fitted to the AMG Line models, which tightens things up even further and allows for hard cornering. In this configuration, the suspension is lowered by 15mm at the rear and 20mm at the front.
Notably, the sports suspension has little effect on the ride quality, which remains composed and supple over rough roads, with only the very worst potholes sending shockwaves through the cabin. The steering is set-up for comfort rather than sporty driving, although the Sports Direct-Steer system on the AMG Line version improves agility and straight-line stability.
Most models are fitted with a seven-speed DCT automatic transmission, although the B 200 and B 220 diesel versions get an eight-speed unit. The gearbox can feel a little hesitant at junctions and roundabouts, but is perfectly suited to the relaxed and smooth nature of the B-Class. A manual gearbox will be added to the range at a later date.
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Overall, the B-Class is a far more pleasant car to drive than the previous model. The majority of owners will appreciate its comfortable and untroubled qualities, but in AMG Line guise – and with a larger engine – there’s plenty to reward the keener driver.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The B-Class is no slouch, especially if you opt for the 2.0-litre versions. The B 250 petrol will sprint to 62mph in just 6.4 seconds, before going on to reach a top speed limited to 155mph. The B 220 4 Matic is a tad slower, hitting 62mph in 7.1 seconds, but this version will have the advantage when conditions are less than ideal.
Meanwhile, the 1.33-litre petrol versions offer more leisurely progress, with the 134bhp B 180 hitting 62mph in 9.0 seconds and the 161bhp B 200 in 8.2. The top speeds are 132mph and 139mph respectively.
The pick of the diesel engines is the B 220d, which offers 187bhp and 400Nm of torque to deliver hot hatch levels of performance. The 0-62mph time is polished off in 7.2 seconds. while the top speed is 145mph.
Opt for the 148bhp B 200d and the 0-62mph time increases to 8.3 seconds, while the Renault-sourced 1.5-litre diesel engine in the B 180d completes the sprint in a relaxed 10.7 seconds.
In this review
- 1Mercedes B-Class reviewIt’s not a proper MPV, but the much-improved Mercedes B-Class boasts a spacious and classy cabin
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingAlmost as good to drive as the A-Class, especially in AMG Line trim
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsImpressive economy, especially from the diesel versions, but there's no plug-in hybrid
- 4Interior, design and technologyFull marks for the B-Class, thanks to a quality-rich interior and an impressive infotainment system
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceLuxury saloon-like levels of interior space and a big boot are two B-Class strong points
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe B-Class is likely to score well in crash tests, but customer satisfaction levels could be higher