Mercedes has recently facelifted its B Class, and the car has gained even more in comfort combined with mechanical perfection and superb finish level. The B class is also roomy and versatile, but there is more. It also can also offer you truly exhilarating performance, handling and undistilled driving pleasure. We found this out for you, driving the 250 AMG version with the 155 kW or 211 HP 2 litre petrol engine...just read on!
Stepping into the car is very easy, and the B class sits pleasantly low, offering nevertheless an upright seating position. The B class is therefore ideally suited to more senior drivers, combining accessibility with a seating position with is kind to hips and back. Here the Mercedes engineers have reached an excellent compromise. They have also done a fine job in providing ample cabin room for four to five occupants and their luggage, taking into account the rather compact exterior dimensions of the car.
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Behind the wheel one is impressed by the superb finish and of course the host of accessories which makes life more pleasant in the B class. The leather covered steering wheel rests nicely in your hand, the controls are ergonomically well placed and are intuitive to use, and what's more, have a nice "feel" and touch.
The central display houses the music, media, phone connectivity and last but not least map functions, and is nice to read and use. The test car was equipped with the 7 speed automatic gearbox, which is of the dual clutch type and which is both smooth and alert and copes very well with the impressive power and torque of the engine. Indeed, the more one uses the available power, the smoother the box changes, but more of this later.
The excellent cruise control system with the outstanding DISTRONIC dynamic distance control system comes in combination with the 7 speed box and is of course both an important asset in the overall functionality of the car on long(er) trips as a motorway cruiser.
The engine scores very high when it comes down to smoothness and sheer pulling power. It is vibrationless and silent down to almost inaudible when cruising in traffic and or when pottering around town. Just blip the trottle, and the unit responds immediately with also the gearbox choosing the right gear in a split second, and all this with a silky smoothness.
Outstanding acceleration sets in, and indeed, the delivered performance leaves nothing to be desired. The deeper one presses the trottle, the more reactive both engine and transmission become, and gearchanges are smooth and fast indeed. All this results of course in a very pleasant constant power flow, and impressive acceleration times. 0 to 100 is reached in merely 6,8 seconds, and this 250 B Class hurtles further without any effort to a top speed of 240 km.
Of course, this B Class is a delightful "Autobahn" machine, with high cruising speeds being maintained without any apparent effort, and in very good comfort. But it is also this instantly available power in all traffic situations and driving circumstances which makes this powerful B Class a delight to use daily.
Our test car remained quite frugal through it all, with an average test consumption of some 6,5 litres for 100 km. We have to admit that we used all the available sporting power in some circumstances, but we were also equally happy to enjoy the mechanical smoothness and refinement of this Mercedes when sailing along with the traffic flow.
Smooth and well balanced suspension
A word of praise can also be voiced for the overall suspension setup. Quite comfortable, ironing out rough surfaces and not so smooth motorway surfaces, it befits the marque with the good star. Even with the low profile 255/45 R17 tyres, the suspension was quite able to swallow bumps and holes in our Belgian winter ridden roads.
This does not mean that this B class is does not shine when it comes to brisk cornering. A sporting driving style can be truly enjoyed with this AMG Mercedes, and indeed, it proudly bears its sporting name. It reveals itself as a true drivers' car, with excellent steering precision and a very responsive chassis. Handling is brisk, with hardly any body roll. The car stays nicely neutral up to outstanding cornering speeds. The massive power is nicely managed and even under full power the handling stays predictable, smooth and precise.
Indeed, the AMG (testing) engineers did an outstanding job adapting the B Class suspension to this high performance level, whilst maintaining fully the useability of a comfortable five seater.
The B Class offers quite enough room for large(r) households or families, and it is this aspect which makes owning the B class also a daily pleasure.
As said, the cabin breathes also the unmistakable Mercedes workmanship and attention to detail, with smooth functioning controls and excellent seats being evident.
Sufficient hip, shoulder and headroom is of course present, and all these well thought out ergonomics make you appreciate the B Class still more the longer you drive and use it.
When you are looking for a Mercedes which offers outstanding performance combined with compact dimensions, and yet offering the room and ergonomics and creature comfort you come to expect from the marque with the good star, than this B Class is the car for you.
In the tested AMG version, it offers on top of all that truly delightful power and performance, excellent handling and agility, which does not come at the expense of smoothness and refinement.
Taking into account that buying and owning a B class is a very reasonable and rational choice when you consider its build quality with translates into excellent resale value and (very) slow depreciation, then you will agree with us that this B Class scores very high indeed...
Hans Knol ten Bensel