Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Range of turbocharged engines available
  • Four petrols and three diesels
  • All come with an automatic gearbox

Performance in the B-Class is delivered by a range of familiar petrol and diesel engines. There are four petrols and three diesels available, all of which come with an automatic gearbox. No manual transmissions are available.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class petrol engines

Two versions of a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine are available in the B-Class – the same ones you’ll find under the bonnet of the smaller A-Class, as well as the Renault Megane and Kadjar, plus Nissan Qashqai.

Kicking off with the B 180, in this form it produces 136hp and 200Nm of torque, and is capable of completing the 0-62mph sprint in 9.0 seconds. Upgrade to the B 200 for 163hp and 250Nm of torque, and a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds. Top speeds are 132mph and 139mph respectively.

If you require more punch, the next rung up is the B 220 4Matic, a 2.0-litre turbo with 190hp and 300Nm of torque, capable of getting from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds. This is the only B-Class available with 4Matic all-wheel drive, and doesn’t come with a front-wheel drive option at all.

At the top of the petrol range is the B 250, a 2.0-litre turbo with 224hp and 350Nm of torque. This is the quickest B-Class, completing the 0-62mph sprint in just 6.4 seconds – that’s the same as a Volkswagen Golf GTI.

All of the petrol B-Class models use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Driven: Mercedes-Benz B 180 Sport

Mercedes B 180 Sport driving

On paper, this entry-level petrol engine in the B-Class should offer enough power for a car of this size, but in reality, things are a little different. If you don’t ask too much from it, the B 180 is a serviceable engine, but it certainly needs waking up to get the best out of it.

If the majority of your time on the roads is spent sitting at a constant speed, this engine will suffice, but having to work this engine hard in order to get up to speed won’t make for a relaxing experience.

A simple piece of advice would be to avoid the ‘Eco’ setting at all costs, especially if you want to experience forward motion in a decent time frame - and certainly if you require a decent amount of acceleration. In Eco mode the engine seems to struggle with anything above 20mph, but switch to Comfort and you will be able at least to get away from junctions and roundabouts with less fuss.

We’d recommend using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles to unlock the engine’s full potential and avoid relying on the automatic gearbox by itself.

If you leave the gearbox to its own devices, the engine will scream above 2,000rpm and you won’t make much progress anyway. The ‘Sport’ mode does improve acceleration, but the ride is so incredibly bumpy and uncomfortable, it’s worth spending time to personalise the ride and engine settings in ‘Individual’ mode for an all-round agreeable experience.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class diesel engines

Mercedes B 200 d AMG Line

The diesels in the B-Class will be a better fit for longer-distance drivers thanks to higher torque figures that suit overtaking, not to mention the more impressive fuel economy claims (which you can read about in the Running Costs section of this review).

The diesel line-up starts with the B 180 d, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 116hp and 260Nm of torque. This is the slowest car in the line-up, with a 0-62mph time of 10.7 seconds. This car uses a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Next up is the 2.0-litre B 200 d, producing 150hp and 320Nm of torque. This version will get from 0-62mph  in 8.3 seconds, while the more powerful B 220 d with 190hp and 400Nm will do it in 7.2 seconds. These two more powerful diesels use an eight-speed auto gearbox.

  • Excellent manoeuvrability in town
  • Safe and predictable handling
  • Good grip levels in corners

Higher-spec AMG Line cars come with a more advanced multi-link rear suspension as standard. With this fitted, the B-Class has a comfortable, balanced ride, although it could be a touch more absorbent over sharper bumps. The larger alloy wheels probably don’t help things here.

Sport versions of the B-Class has a slightly less sophisticated setup, but it’s not too noticeable unless you’re driving over really harsh surfaces where it could become fidgety and uncomfortable. There are few complaints about how this version rides – it’s not as soft and cushy as a Citroen C4 SpaceTourer, but it’s more compliant than an equivalent BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

The flipside of this is handling that is predictable and blessed with plenty of grip, but also dull when driven quickly. Rivals such as the Ford C-Max offer a lively and more entertaining drive.

Low-speed handling and manoeuvrability around town – likely of greater consequence to most B-Class buyers – is impressive thanks to a tight turning circle and raised-up driving position. The steering is light as well which makes it ideal for manoeuvres in town and in car parks, which is where the B-Class is likely to spend most of its time. In this scenario, it handles very well indeed. A-pillar blindspots are noticeable, however, and do affect visibility.