B180 CDI BlueEfficiency Sport
new B-Class five-door, five-
seater premium hatch-cum-sports-
tourer estate is the first of a series
of smaller cars from Mercedes
targeting the compact
brand segments so successfully
dominated by Audi and BMW...
THIS ALL-NEW B-CLASS is without question designed for classy family duties ranging
from mums delivering and collecting children to and from school, empty-nester
couples who can afford a Mercedes and want that extra room for their active
senior lifestyles such as garden centre shopping, carrying the grandchildren
or the family dog.
It will also appeal to the less able because of its large load space, easy fold-down
rear seats and easy access to the higher than average, comfortable but supportive
seats plus there's the option of an automatic transmission for both petrol
and diesel engines.
previous generation B-Class edged towards being an MPV people carrier, competing
against the likes of the cheaper Ford C-Max, Citroen C4 Picasso and the Vauxhall
More of a roomy five-
edging towards a sports-
tourer estate, as is
reflected by the pricing:
£21,295 to £26,160...
Today's totally new B-Class isn't what I would now refer to as an MPV
it's more of a roomy five-door hatchback edging towards a sports-tourer estate,
as is reflected by the pricing: from £21,295 to £26,160, with SE and Sport levels
of styling, trim and specification.
There's a choice between two latest-generation 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol
engines with 120 or 154bhp and two 1.8-litre four-pot new-generation CDI turbodiesel
units with 107 or 134bhp. All four engines are 'BlueEfficiency'
and fitted with ECO start/stop as standard. Six-speed manual transmissions are
also standard; a seven-speed, twin-clutch auto is a £1,450 option.
The rear seats offer loads of leg space and the long distance between them and
the backs of the front seats allows lots of room to easily load and unload children
into their childseats or seatbelts.
An Easy-Vario sliding rear seat option (£515 ) makes the rear accommodation
more flexible although this really should be a standard-fit feature. The rear
seat squabs do not tumble forward so the 60:40 split rear seatbacks are folded
down on top of them but this leaves the front section of the load floor slightly
elevated long items have to be pushed uphill to load them. With all five
seats in use the boot space is a generous 486 litres and with all three
rear seats folded you have a 1,545-litre loadbay.
The premium interior design, including five large round air vents and loads
of chrome finishing, comes from the latest C-Class models; you'll also find
plenty of ambient lighting together with leather trim and artificial leather
upholstery. The four-dial instrument cluster continues the sports impression,
and my Sport specification version also had rubber-studded bright metal pedals.
The £23,360 B180 CDI BlueEfficiency Sport the range's likely best seller
comes well equipped with all the usual features now expected as standard
in a premium brand model. And for those who want the lot there's a long list
of extra-cost options and extra equipment packs.
kit on this version includes four electric windows, power door mirrors, AirCon,
and a decent audio system with a 5.8-inch colour screen for displaying driver
information. A full array of front and side airbags maximises the safety features.
There's also one of my least liked an least user-friendly features an
electronic parking brake.
Externally theres an
element of sports design
and it looks quite athletic
with sculptured lines
in the side bodywork
giving it a toned look...
Externally there's an element of sporting design; it looks quite athletic with
sculptured lines in the side bodywork giving it a toned appearance. Glitzy door
mirrors, daytime running lights, a large dual-slatted grille with an imposing
Mercedes three-pointed star badge, smart alloy wheels, side sills and chrome
detailing all add to the look.
The Sports spec also includes large 18-inch alloy wheels shod with low profile
run-flat tyres and a lowered sports suspension. These last two items are, for
me, the undoing of this particular new B-Class model: the ride is so harsh as
to be uncomfortable most of the time, and tiring on a long journey.
The low-pro tyres and lowered, firm suspension just do not cope with poor UK
road surfaces and potholes. Deeper ruts and holes create a crashing ride
sending a real jarring impact, that can also be heard, through the car.
A family people carrier, or upmarket roomy sports estate-cum-hatch, just shouldn't
have these characteristics. On smoother German or other European roads it might
be acceptable, but for motorists in the UK it simply doesn't work and Mercedes
needs to tune their car's suspension system and adopt a more appropriate wheel
size for this important market. My advice to buyers is to choose an SE model
with smaller wheels and without the sports suspension.
Fortunately the previous electro-mechanical power steering has been revised
and the latest B-Class delivers up much sharper steering responses with better
feedback. The roadholding and cornering is also improved, partly due to the
lower centre of gravity brought about by the lower floorpan over the previous
sandwich twin floor design.
1.8-litre, four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel engine with BlueEfficiency
generates a modest 108bhp but makes up for it with 184lb ft of torque (from
1,400rpm), so remains responsive accelerating from low to medium speeds
the 'Sport' signature definitely refers to the specification and styling tweaks
rather than performance.
Fuel economy is,
officially, 64.2mpg in the
my test car returned a
56.2mpg, so what you
lose in zippy
in fuel costs...
said, in this sector its 118mph top speed is sufficient and the nought to 62mph
acceleration time of 10.9 seconds is perfectly adequate.
Fuel economy is, officially, 64.2mpg in the Combined Cycle my test car
returned a very respectable 56.2mpg, so what you lose in zippy performance you'll
save in fuel costs.
CO2 emissions of 121g/km mean a £0 road tax bill for the First Year; for the
second year of ownership and thereafter you'll pay £100. Insurance costs are
attractive with a group 15 rating and company car drivers will appreciate its
competitive 17% BIK charge.
Against? Poor ride comfort from the sports suspension, large wheels and low
profile run-flat tyres combination; electronic handbrake; rear seats don't fold
The styling will undoubtedly attract premium brand buyers in the compact family
car sector, as too will the very roomy interior, comfortable seating, large
load space and good fuel economy. But the poor ride comfort and the price (particularly
if top spec models and options are chosen) take the gloss off ownership in a
competitive market sector. If a B-Class appeals then stick with SE versions
as they will be better on comfort and better on your pocket. David
B180 CDI BlueEfficiency Sport | £23,360
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 56.2mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 121g/km