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Mercedes-Benz B-Class 2012 Review

The ride is supple but controlled - a good compromise for average driving conditions with the family aboard.
EXPERT RATING
8
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Generation two of the practical Mercedes-Benz B-Class compact people mover has arrived.

It's the first Benz to feature a new platform that will spawn five new small cars for the German manufacturer including the eagerly awaited new A-Class. The five seat B-Class is a popular conveyance in Australia and is the only premium compact people mover that's not SUV-based.

It sells against a slew of competitors but none is as adept at its task as the new B-Class - moving people safely, efficiently and comfortably.

PRICE CUT

Better yet, Benz has been able to slice more than $5000 off the price of the entry level B180 BlueEfficiency turbo petrol model that now starts at $38,950. 

And far from being a boned-out kick off model, the B180 is crammed with standard features including a seven-speed dual clutch manumatic transmission (with paddle shift), nine air bags, Bluetooth phone and audio, climate control and cruise - to name just a few.

It's a clean sheet new model from Benz and ushers in a look that will permeate most the company's new small cars.

THE LINEUP

Three models are available, B180 and B200 turbo petrol and the B200 CDi turbodiesel. Benz offers six options packs with the new B but has been able to limit the price to a maximum of $2990. Some packs cost $1400. Prices range up to $43,950 for the 200CDi.

UNDER THE BONNET

These are new four-pot, direct injection engines of 1.6-litres capacity in the petrols and 1.8-litres in the diesel. The 7G-DCT manumatic is the only transmission offered and drive goes through the front wheels.

Power and torque ratings are 90kW/200Nm, 115kW/250Nm and 100kW/300Nm in ascending order ending with the diesel. The petrols deliver maximum torque at just 1250rpm which goes some of the way to explaining their impressive drive feel. Fuel economy from both petrols is 6.1-litres/100km with an incredible 4.7 from the diesel.

ImageSAFETY

Five stars of course but more importantly, the new B-Class scores a full suite of active and passive safety kit like Pre-Safe crash preparation, collision prevention assist, attention assist, active park assist and nine air bags. All models have rear park sensors. 

INSIDE

This is our first look at the new generation interior styling and it gets a big tick.

The look is  dominated by large vent surrounds and a nicely curving dash with a large centred info screen. The new wheel looks sporty and there are new switches and control wands on the steering column.

The seats are large and comfortable, a little smaller in the back and there's plenty of load space expandable with folded rear seats. Ride height is lower than before as is seat height. The audio is good even in the base model and  the overall feel inside B-Class is positive.

ON THE ROAD

We sampled all three variants and realistically, all you need is the B180. It goes sweetly - aided by that brilliant dual clutch transmission, uses minimal fuel and apart from manual seats, misses out on precious little compared with the other two. The 16-inch wheels are infact a better proposition for rough and coarse chip roads.

Performance is not lacking in any model with the edge going to the diesel which has excellent acceleration and roll-on performance. The ride is supple but controlled - a good compromise for average driving conditions with the family aboard.

VERDICT

Classy conveyance for the family, safe, stylish, well priced and refreshingly well specified.

2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Price: From $38,950 (B180) to $43,950 (B200, B200 CDI) plus on-road costs
Engines: 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol or 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: Seven-speed double-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
Outputs: 90kW at 5000rpm and 200Nm at 1250rpm (B180); 115kW at 5300rpm and 250Nm at 1250rpm (B200); 100kW at 3600rpm and 300Nm at 1600rpm (B200 CDI)
Body: Small hatchback

Pricing guides

$17,990
Based on 35 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$13,450
Highest Price
$22,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
B200 2.0L, PULP, CVT AUTO $9,200 – 13,860 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 2012 B200 Pricing and Specs
B180 BE 1.6L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $9,400 – 14,190 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 2012 B180 BE Pricing and Specs
B180 CDI 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $13,300 – 19,250 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 2012 B180 CDI Pricing and Specs
B200 CDI BE 1.8L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $11,900 – 17,490 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class 2012 B200 CDI BE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8