Mercedes-Benz B-Class Sports Tourer review
Our driven review on the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Sports Tourer
The B-class has always been somewhat of a strange offering to the market from Merc, with the first generation being a bit of a sandwich box MPV in a world of SUV’s and hatchbacks. Understand even is South Africa where badge loyalty still exists, even in tough economic times, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class has always been the underdog to the smaller and more conventional hatch, even in its first iteration. Now with the new models and the new Merc ethos which is filled with MBUX based tech, line ups that are designed to drive home a more holistic vehicle which features that are lifted from more expensive models where does the updated B-Class fit in?
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Sports Tourer shares the same platform as the New A-class but has an increased bulk and feels like a much larger car given the standard A-class hatchback dimensions when contrasted with that of the more MPV-like feel of the B-Class. The Driving position is higher and Merc claims the driver sits 90mm higher than in the A-Class and this is felt, with the all-round visibility improving over the standard car it’s based on. The Increases to the roofline and doorway entry space makes the B-Class easier to get in and out of in-line with the Minivan appeal. The B-class really does outshine the smaller counterpart.
Internally the cabin is very much in line with the New Merc interior architecture with everything lifted directly from the A-Class and the theme of MBUX connectivity still shines through. The options with respects to the driver information display being slightly altered for this model, and offering the option of 3 displays. A twin 7-inch, a 7- and 10.25-inch display or the Widescreen Twin 10.25 Display fitted to our test car, with the optional heads-up display. The MBUX optional connectivity with the “Hey Mercedes” Voice prompts has proved its intuitiveness and works rather well for simple things with more complex tasks requiring a few attempts but it’s all rather marvellous like MBUX is, sadly it’s an option but on well worth the extra change when spec’ing one.
The Aviation inspired vents to carry through and look to be milled singular pieces. The option for ambience lighting with 64 colours can be optioned and can be somewhat of an irritation and so to fairly calming at other points with the lights just making traffic surfing a touch more friendly on one’s mood. The seats fitted to the test car being the optional ‘Energising Seats’ which additional support and two-tone leather are very comfortable and help soak-up a large portion of the harshness of the ride, which even with our AMG spec Test car with 19” Inch wheels was impressive even on rougher roads.
The new range now consists of the B180 and B200 powered by the same 1.33Litre Renault sourced engine with either 100kW and 200Nm or 120kW and 250Nm respectively. Both engines are mated to a 7-Speed DCT dual-clutch transmission and promise equal fuel consumption at 5.4/100km.
Diesel options are powered by the same 2.1Litre diesel from the Merc range, in two states of tune producing 110kW and 320Nm in the B200D and a healthy 140kW and 400Nms mated to an 8-Speed DCT gearbox. We sampled the B200 with the petrol 1.33Litre and the drive and overall dynamic feel of the car is very similar to the A-Class, given their similarities. The Engine pulls strong and is has a bit of turbo-lag when pulling off from stop streets and robots, but once in its stride with the low max torque availability does tend to hide this well enough for most. The Dynamic Select does change up the characteristics of the drive and when in Sport eliminates this issue all-together.
The Steering proved to be to light but again through the same system this was firmed up to the point where some real confidence in where the wheels are pointed can be had. Being a Minivan its almost pointless to attack the corners with full on AMG aggression, but the AMG line and the small ride height drop and larger wheels made the car rather progressive and reduce body roll very well.
The optionally available Driver Assist packages with the Active brake assist, Lane Keep with Blind Sport Assist, Emergency Brake Assist systems are at this point understood to be very useful and often needed for South African roads and additional safety but sadly for us still options.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class VS B-Class?
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Sports Tourer’s appeal is what drives the B-class home for those it appeals to, in my view and most the A-Class counterpart will be a better car to love and live with but given the differences in lifestyle that it’s geared towards. For example, fitting a child seat and pram in the boot (which fits with ease) is less easy to do with the A-Class, increased visibility for less of a claustrophobic feel in the rear, a larger boot and just a larger feeling cabin makes the B-Class shine brighter, to those it needs to. It serves better as a small family car and this may be where it makes the most sense.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Sports Tourer Pricing In South Africa
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Sports Tourer Starts pricing at R526 900 before the all-important options list, with the diesel B220D starting at R559 100. This makes it almost identical to the pricing of the A-Class equivalent in all reality, but the slight tweaks make it a better family orientated vehicle. Spec yours here.