2015 Mercedes Benz B Class B200 CDI Review
Buying a Mercedes-Benz car was an aspirational choice for many, until they launched smaller and more accessible cars in the shape of B-Class and A-Class. These cars lowered the starting range and brought in some excitement in a traditionally SUV price range.
Ditching the conventional MPV tag, Benz launched the B-Class under the Sports Tourer type. Collectively both these cars helped create a new segment for the brand which also meant introduction of a new class of clientele.
Three years post its launch; the new 2015 B-Class has got a minor facelift, refreshed interiors and an updated and more powerful diesel engine. Does that make it a better car than earlier, we find out...
Not a lot has changed as the new B-Class borrows almost all the cues from the earlier model except for new additions in its design. The headlights, which are all new, feature LED strips as an integral part of the assembly. The grille too gets a modern revision in the form of a wider and richer design with chrome dipped twin slats running along its width. The lower jaw line has got pronounced edges with new air dam vents. The newly sculpted front bumper gives the front face a strong profile.
The silhouette too remains identical except for a very minor update in the form of new 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels. These high profile wheels replace the 17-inch to offer better ride and handling. The ground clearance, which was increased in the last update, has been carried over in this iteration too. The side profile gets two characteristic lines, a chrome window line and outside mirrors with integrated turn indicators. Unfortunately, the side doesn’t help much to distinguish between the old and the new but then the new B-Class is longer by 34mm.
A dash of chrome has been thrown around the rear tail door to make it feel more premium than before. The number plate area and the rear bumper handsomely sport these new additional strips. Much like the new C-Class, the lower section of the newly designed rear bumper has twin chrome rings acting as faux exhaust openings while the real exhaust pipe is neatly tucked inside.
Mercedes-Benz knows how to make interiors of a premium car as they showcased their prowess in the new S-Class. The interiors of the New B-Class are clearly inspired by the new generation C-Class as the overall interior trims feel very similar to that of the sedan.
Not that I didn’t like the earlier B-Class but the new one feels even better and there are reasons for it. For starters, you would enjoy manoeuvring this baby B and not just because of anything but for the new C-Class steering wheel which feels absolutely nice and even better than that in the C. The instrumental cluster is younger with sporty themed digits, colours and new layout.
The centrally mounted COMMAND screen has got a tad bigger than earlier at 7 inches and also provides a richer navigation experience with a high resolution screen. I still wonder why doesn’t it feature a touchscreen enabled system but nevertheless, the rotary knob on the central console does a decent job. The on-board navigation with pre installed maps worked just fine with better visuals. Fiddling with this screen can be fun as the S-Class styled car settings menu gives numerous options to change and control which include ambient lighting, checking service intervals and a fuel consumption map.
The buttons and knobs feel better with a slight change in their placement. The central console with manual jog dial air conditioner settings gets brushed metal inserts and buttons, unlike the all black treatment in the earlier variant. Even the buttons have a soft touch feel and feel in line with the console.
The B-Class has always been a more spacious option to the enthusiastically designed A-Class. While the A is primarily meant for two occupants in the front and bags in the rear, the B-Class is more practical with sufficient if not generous space in the second row. It gets its share of gadgetry in the form of electrically adjustable driver seat with memory function, Ventilation opening in footwells for rear passengers, 12 V socket in rear, Automatic panoramic sunroof, ECO start/stop function, Reversing camera with dynamic guide lines, 2 USB ports and 1 SD card slot and Bluetooth interface with hands-free function and audio streaming for music transfer and telephone keypad.
There are a number of storage options and cup holders inside the cabin but where things start looking bigger and larger is in B’s boot space which is a happy 488L, a lot more than that in A-Class, CLA-Class and even the GLA-Class.
The good news is that Mercedes-Benz has finally updated the diesel engine in the B-Class as the earlier unit made a mere 109PS which was highly underpowered as even the Rs 14 lakh Renault Duster makes 110PS. The better news is that the new engine now makes a healthy 27bhp more than its predecessor with an increased torque of 300Nm.
They have simply used the same unit used in the CLA-Class and plonked it on the B-Class. Thus, the 2143cc diesel engine makes 136Hp of power at 3600 rpm. It comes mated with the revolutionary 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The added power doesn’t make it enthusiastic but the response feels more agile and quick than before. The revs now feel punchier at even lower engine speeds. The engine, as claimed by the company and even vetted by us, feels more refined and nimble.
It was always a well made commuter for me and with the new improvements, the feeling has just got better. The diesel motor is tuned to deliver through the most torturous stop go ambience in an impressive way. Driving across densely traffic populated areas was easy as even at a gentle tap on the throttle, the response was satisfyingly quick. Also, glad the B has higher ground clearance as the recent fly over construction sites have created havoc and have given rise to many detours, which were easily dealt with in this small family tourer.
The 7G-DCT can be played around in three different ways – Economy, Sport and Manual. In the Eco mode, the gearbox hastily upshifts and downshifts to make sure the engine revs at lower speeds thus managing fuel consumption, the ideal mode in bee-line traffic. The Sport Mode is ideally for the spirited driving style enabling shifts at higher engine speeds, the mode to impress your co-occupants in the car. The Manual Mode makes use of the manual shifting paddles. Obviously, I would have advocated the last mode but for this one I recommend the second.
The B-Class is clearly not for the enthusiast as it doesn’t go in line with the corners nor does it shift like a pro or handle like a dream but then in real world conditions a B-Class is not supposed to put a tick on all of them. Instead, it needs to be driven sanely with a balanced approach. The suspension setup is more towards offering a soft ride and the steering feels correctly weighed. It can reach higher speeds and maintain its momentum with great confidence. The new tyres and wheel setup collectively contribute for a better ride and handling, which is nice.
|Power in PS/RPM||136 / 3600 - 4400|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||300 / 1600–3000|
|Wheel base mm||2699|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1577|
|Ground clearance mm||134|
|Fuel tank capacity L||50|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 55 R16|
|LED High Performance headlamps with distintive daytime and night-time look||Yes|
|3rd Brake light in LED technology||Yes|
|Air conditioning with 3 center, 2 side and 2 footwell vent openings for driver and passenger||Yes|
|Automatic panoramic sunroof||Yes|
|ECO start/stop function||Yes|
|Air conditioning system with dust filter||Yes|
|7G-DCT 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission||Yes|
|Electronic Stabilty Program (ESP)||Yes|
|Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)||Yes|
|Hill Start Assist with HOLD function||Yes|
|ew Generation Telematics Audio 20||Yes|
|Multimedia system with radio, twin tuner and CD player||Yes|
|High resolution media display with screen size of 17.8 cm||Yes|
|CD player, MP3/WMA/AAC/WAV compatible||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||B200 CDI||118d Sport Plus|
|Power in hp/RPM||136 / 3600 - 4400||143 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||300 / 1600–3000||320 / 1750|
|Wheel base mm||2699||2690|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1577||1415|
|Ground clearance mm||134||157|
|Fuel tank capacity L||50||50|
|Tyre Spec||205 / 55 R16||225 / 45 R17|
The 2015 B180 SPORT and B200CDI were launched at Rs. 27.95 lakhs and Rs. 28.95 lakhs (ex-showroom Mumbai) respectively. There are SUVs available for a similar amount but then the fit and finish of a Mercedes-Benz is difficult to match and moreover, other premium sedans and hatchbacks don’t offer as much practicality as this one. Even in terms of features, the B comes loaded with the latest in entertainment, connectivity and safety.
The New B-Class has grown well over the earlier model with the recent set of changes, most importantly that being of a more powerful diesel engine. It has no equal rivals in India unlike the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer sold in the international markets. The B-Class has always attracted the practical stable headed buyer who wants a premium and practical solution for the long road commute and the B suits the role just fine.