Mercedes Benz B Class Review
Like any other youngest kid in a big family gets all the love and attention from the elders, the B Class too is the most pampered offering from the German auto manufacturer. With the B Class, Mercedes Benz has thrown a sports tourer card in the popular premium SUV segment.
Unconventional looks, generous amount of space and high quality interiors is what the B Class is all about. Presently, available in petrol only option and the diesel launching soon the B Class also promises of a very impressive performance compared to other options in the segment. The main rivals against this cute offering are the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3.
Though, Mercedes Benz has never agreed on the B Class having any competition in India as it’s the first Sports Tourer of the country. The B Class is an important product in the company’s portfolio as it is the entry level car as well as it has to do justice with all the trademark characteristics of the three pointed star on it. Should your parking have this small car or not is what we find out.
When Mercedes Benz guys sit together to work on a new car guess the keyword is how to make it look similar to what they already have. The B Class too drops in some hints of its bigger siblings but then it still manages to have its own individual character and comes out as a good looking...Umm…Sports Tourer (not a segment? but the company insists)
I confess that when I saw the B Class for the first time on the Buddh Circuit in Greater Noida with the “Ready to B” vinyls spread all over I was not too much of a fan of its looks. But then during our detailed review I got a chance to spend some good quality time with this cute little thing. The looks of the B Class grows over you. It looks ahead of its time.
The exterior looks as if it is still in the concept stage and indeed brings a happy change to the traditional and conventional looking vehicles in this segment. The face is unmistakably a Mercedes Benz with the family lines and cues. The looks may not be aggressive but then there is a wild streak specially when the evil eyebrow shaped LEDs are switched on.
This one comes across as a very smart looking hatch. With a very dominant nose and flairs running around with well defined sculpted lines running on all the profiles. Design gets the traditional yet modern approach with the multi storey radiator grille on the face which flow really well with the suave headlamps. The headlights are like hungry eyes at night waiting to pounce. It has a raised waist line and also the bonnet line is at a tall position. It has a slight essence of the Volvo XC60 specially the nose.
The side silhouette is the most dynamic profile of the B Class. Even though this one is an entry level Benz but still it does not fall short of the attitude and character. The almost sleeping A Pillar flows in a wave pattern all the way to the rear profile. It also has a panoramic moon roof which given an unending top view from front. The two character lines on the side profile give the design a lot of substance. Also, to push the sporty side even higher is the superb alloy wheel design which snatches away all the attention.
When you are following this hatch, the tail lamps should be sufficient to identify it’s the German Tourer. There is mild chrome on the tail gate on top of the number plate. The last pillars are invisible when seen from behind and its only the rear wind shield which appears to be the connect between the roof and the shoulders of the car. It also comes with a dual chrome tipped exhausts.
By now sophistication and premium quality interiors are already synonymous with Mercedes Benz. These guys take painstaking efforts to make sure that the end product checks every box of a connoisseur and an enthusiast. The B Class too carries the legacy forward and offers premium levels of interiors.
Again very Mercedes, inside the B Class one will find a host of equipments and details done in ebony black and Aluminum finish. The feel and finish of all the button, equipments and materials is unparallel. In fact, one would tend to forget that it is a starting point for the premium manufacturer.
Headroom and legroom offered in this “small” hatch is superb. I can personally vouch for this because our lens man deliberated on driving the car with me packed in the rear. Initially, I was not too happy with the idea as I am a healthy individual (yes that is sophisticatedly describing large) but then I actually slept off a major part of the journey and thus realized that the legroom and headroom is indeed very generous. The front row seats are very comfortable and do manage to get the occupants wrapped safely, the only small letdown for me was the comfort of the rear seats. Even though the room offered is very good the seats can be more comfortable. But then that still does not take away the finesse of the ARTICO leather.
Only the drivers seats is electrically adjustable for all three options as the co-driver’s seat has to be pushed and pulled mechanically. It would have been nice to see even the co-driver enjoy the electrical benefit.
Moving on to the interesting bits, the interior trims have been done very tastefully example the AC vents which sport the aircraft propeller design look like the ones which feature in the flagship SLS AMG.
It has got a 14.7cm diagonal TFT display for the multimedia system. The entertainment system is compatible with almost all file formats and can be conveniently controlled via the multifunction steering wheel as well as the controller located on the central console. The controller makes it super easy to browse through different options with a slight rotate and click arrangement.
Making the B Class practical for everyday use, there is a luggage space of 486 litres. The rear seats when suspended down completely the luggage space increases to 1545 litres which nearly gulps down a lot.
The small car from the German is high on comfort, style and luxury but then does it have a performance of a fast hatch or is it a commuter for point A to B travel? The last premium hatch that I drove was the MINI Cooper and the British marquee left me in a state of awe for its engineering and marvelous drive quality. That was a fun hatch by all means.
This is the B Class, a car with all the mannerisms and etiquettes of a well behaved lady on a dinner table. The MINI Cooper on the other hand is a snazzy fashionista who does not mind being teased and instead behaves very naughtily when you do so. Coming to the B (That’s what I fondly call it), she knows how to behave properly and won’t let you down as she has been brought up by the ones who have always commanded respect in the society.
Powering the B’s heart is a 4 cylinder 1595cc variable valve timing engine with a turbocharger. It offers a maximum power output of 122 hp at 5000 rpm and a torque output of 200 Nm at a range of 1250 to 4000 rpm. This engine has been configured to deliver higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions. This is done with the help of Piezo injectors which help facilitate precise high pressure injection and burn the fuel completely. Lower internal friction paired with low weight contributes to the high efficiency.
This one also sports the ECO start/stop function with the ECO display as standard. The ECO start/stop works at a wink of an eye and indeed helps in saving lot of fuel. These all measures are in addition to BlueEFFICIENCY which help get the optimum from the engine.
Before, I could start driving the car I had a preconceived image of the B Class. The company does not push it as an outright performance hatch. It may borrow some cues from the company’s flagship model but then this one is a 5 seater and might be just taken out on weekends. The B Class may be a practical and flexible car but then the fun element would be missing….well….the smallie proved me wrong in many ways if not all.
The seating position for the driver is very athletic. So I divided my journey in two parts. In the first part I will drive it how it would be ideally driven by the ones owning it with utmost care, concern and responsibility. I also promised to be at my best behavior and drop a courteous smile wherever the need be. The B Class performed very nicely and also returned a best mileage of 16kmpl.
Now was the time to throw the well behaved mask off and see what this baby Benz has got. I was confident that my pre-image of this car’s performance would be proved precisely right but no, it did not prove me right. The 7G DCT automated dual clutch transmission is a superbly finished unit and makes the inter gear change jerks vanish. Paddle shift on the steering wheel was the perfect tool for me to play around. I decided to snatch away the smile from the eco friendly bunch and shift it into the “Sport” mode. In this mode, the gear shifts take place at higher engine speeds meaning the time lag between shifts is less.
The initial pickup is low and the B takes some time to understand the dynamics but then once it is charged up, this 5 seater tends to forget about the rear seats and is all guns on the highway. The handling is superb paired with equally well performing brakes.
The suspension setup is on the stiffer side and thus on Indian roads it gets little stressed. Secondly, the Eco mode cuts down on enthusiastic engine speed and limit all the moves so that the driver is compelled to drive in an eco mode. The Manual mode gives an option to the driver to change gears in both ways via the paddle shifts as well as automatically.
“Sport” mode was my natural favorite. The vehicle gets all street hugging and does all the maneuvers one throws at it. Reaching higher speeds was not only easy and possible but then was fun too. The exhaust notes also had a mild grunt when the engine peaked which sounded good. I drove with a heavy foot and was mighty impressed. Also, the inter city driving was impressive with its small dimensions.
Over and above, the B experience was superb and I was more than convinced with its performance. Happily, the B shattered all my pre-notions about itself and I was reluctant on returning the car to the company.
|Engine Capacity (cc/no. of cylinders)||1595/4|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL||12|
|Tyre size Front||225/45 R17|
|Tyre size Rear||225/45 R17|
|Top speed KMPH||190|
|Tank capacity in Liters||50|
|Turning circle Radius||5.5M|
|Features||B 180 Sports||B 180|
|3 Spoke Multifunction Steering wheel in permitted leather||Yes||No|
|Artico upholstery with contrast leather topstitching||Yes||No|
|ECO Start Stop function||Yes||Yes|
|Air conditioning system with dust filter||Yes||Yes|
|Electrically adjustable seat with memory package||Yes||No|
|Wind screen wiper with sensors||Yes||Yes|
|Retractable load compartment cover||Yes||Yes|
|Audio 20 CD Radio with dual tuner||Yes||Yes|
|Front bumper with air intake grille||Yes||Yes|
|16-inch 10 spoke light alloy wheel||No||Yes|
|17-inch 7Twin spoke light alloy wheel||Yes||No|
|Color display with 14.7 cm screen||Yes||Yes|
|Cruise control with speedtronic variable speed limiter||Yes||Yes|
|Bi Xenon Headlamp||Yes||No|
|Dual Exhaust system with tail pipe in polished steel||Yes||No|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||180 Sports||sDrive 18i||2.0 TFSI|
|Ex Show room price Mumbai in lakh||2487000||2353400||2900000|
|Engine Capacity (cc)||1595||1995||1984|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL||12||14||13|
|Tyre size Front||225/45 R17||225/50 R17||215/65 R15|
|Tyre size Rear||225/45 R17||225/50 R17||215/65 R15|
To B or not to B is the big question?. If you already have a premium car gracing your parking lot but its sheer size and dimension does not make it a everyday car then the B should suffice your needs pretty well. Its flexibility and practical approach is superb. The small contradiction to this thought would happen with the A class launch which would be priced considerably lesser.
Second type would be the first time buyers who have made it well in life and want to get into premium cars so for them the B would be a great starting point. It is one of the best entry level premium cars which offers a complete package. However, what goes against the B is its pricing as the on road price of the fully loaded variant nears to the basic diesel C Class which offers a lot more in every sense.
Presently, the B Class is only available in petrol but then the diesel variant launch is nearing and there are reports of the company planning to launch it in the very near future. This proves that the company has started taking competition very seriously. If the Diesel B is priced well then this car would set a new benchmark and also recreate Benz’s tradition of being a trendsetter. Mercedes has launched various consumer interactive programmers to maintain the buzz on this Sports Tourer.