Review: 2019 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

07th December 2018
Adam Jackson

The Mercedes B-class offers no more interior space than the A-class that it is so clearly derived from, but its upwardly elongated bodywork will surely compromise the car’s driving dynamics in one way or another. So what exact purpose does the B-class serve?


Between them, the first two generations of Mercedes’ slightly taller family hatchback sold in good numbers – as many as 1.5m, in fact – so while we might wonder what the B-class is actually for, plenty of buyers with chequebooks evidently do not. This third-generation model arrives within months of the all-new A-class, a car that combines mature ride and handling characteristics with class-leading interior tech.

With its loftier seating position, more accessible cabin and – eventually – the option of a sliding rear bench, the B-class is aimed at families and older drivers. This is the biggest B-class yet and its interior dimensions are the most generous so far. Its cockpit is lifted more or less wholesale from the lower-slung A-class, which means that it too has one of the most modern interiors of any compact car on sale today. The material and build quality are both good, while the aesthetic design could hardly be more slick.

Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system comes as standard equipment across the range, although to get the 10.25-inch central screen you see here you will have to pay extra for an upgrade package, which is likely to cost around £1,395 (exact UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but will be in line with that of the A-class). The infotainment system itself is very well thought-out and anybody who is at all familiar with the functionality of a smartphone will figure it out in no time at all. Those who are less tech savvy might well find it daunting, however.


Otherwise, the B-class could hardly be less demanding to operate. It is easy to drive around town, visibility is very good, the ride is comfortable and at motorway speeds the cabin is calm and serene. The B200 we’re testing here is powered by a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which Mercedes reckons should return 52.3mpg. It is an engine with a split personality, for while it is quiet and refined below 4,000rpm, beyond that point it becomes irritatingly loud and ill-mannered. Similarly, the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox is mostly very good, although it does have a habit of kicking down two or three gears whenever you call for a little more acceleration, which never fails to noisily awaken the engine’s less cultured alter ego.

If that higher roofline does compromise the B-class’ dynamics in any way, Mercedes has done a very fine job of disguising it. What you notice from behind the wheel is that the car feels almost exactly like the A-class to drive, which means it has light but accurate steering and plenty of grip.

Every bit as polished as its more conventionally-proportioned sibling but with an added dose of usability, the Mercedes B-class has never served its audience better.

Stat Attack

Engine: 1.3-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder petrol

Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch, front-wheel-drive

Power/Torque: 163PS (161bhp) @ 5500rpm and 250Nm (184lb ft) @ 1,620rpm

0-62mph: 8.2sec

Top speed: 139mph

Price: £27,500 (estimated)

  • Mercedes-Benz

  • B-Class

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