Mercedes B-Class (B180 CDI Sport) - iDrive

'A chilly fault is enough to set me against the B-Class'

Mercedes B-Class (B180 CDI Sport)
Price: from £21,290 (£33,190 as tested)
Engine capacity: 1.8 litre
Top speed (mph): 118
0-60mph (seconds): 10.9
Fuel economy (mpg): 64.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 118

Mercedes calls its new B-Class a “Compact Sports Tourer”. Compact for small and sports tourer as motoring-industry slang for the traditional family estate. See the contradiction? Never mind, because the German firm claims no other model in its 126-year history has seen so many new developments introduced in one fell swoop.

Not only does it come with a funny name, but with two new high-performing engines boasting lower CO2 emissions, huge amounts of leg- and headroom, a massive boot and some of the highest-standard safety features as standard in its class. It may be the second-smallest Mercedes available, but the B-Class still smacks of style with streamline looks, a smart cabin packed with soft-to-touch plastics and distinctive air vents borrowed from the classy SLK sports car.

Climbing in for an initial four-hour run, the seating position is easy to adjust for comfort, the satnav menu simple and the space and visibility excellent. I click on the heated seats as the fine leather upholstery is a little chilly on my delicate behind. Nothing.

The adaptive beam assist, active park assist and all manner of other devices are working smoothly, but a simple bit of kit first fitted to cars back in the 1960s fails to perform. I'm precious I know, but a frosty derriere is a cold blow with snow on the ground (my B-Class was a test model so it's a fault unlikely in a car you'd collect from a dealer). And even a little niggle can set you off on a bad train of thought about a car...

Thankfully, the B-Class is a comfortable and refined drive. The new four-cylinder engine on my diesel model is powerful but frugal. Its handling – aided by electrically assisted steering – is direct and impressive for a car its size and height. But it lacks some of the ride refinement of other Mercedes models – I'd ditch the Sport trim and opt for the more comfortable (and cheaper) SE package – and is loud at motorway speeds. And as the miles go by there are more and more little things to take issue with. The collision-warning system is overly quick to sound its klaxon even when there's no danger, the parcel shelf rattles, the satnav and iPod controls are too near the gearstick, while the temperature ones are too far away, hidden away behind the gearstick.

These are small things I know, and it's not that the B-Class is a bad car – it has acres of space, a great pair of engines, a commanding driving position and is very safe. It's just that it lacks Mercedes' usual attention to detail.

The Competition

Essentially the B-Class is a five-door hatchback with a prestigious badge and plenty of space. If space isn't so important try the VW Golf; if it is, try the Ford C-Max.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

    £35-45K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a .NET Developer / Web ...

    Recruitment Genius: Full Time and Part Time Digital Designer - North Kent

    £20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful web design/deve...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

    Day In a Page

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders