Three things stand out about the Mercedes-Benz B180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport.
The first is its name. Its lucky the assorted monikers are spread throughout different areas of the vehicle, otherwise Mercedes would have needed to make the car another six inches wider to affix the badge.
The second is just how much better the B-Class drives with a slick seven-speed automatic transmission, rather than the six-speed manual. We were able to compare the B180 CDI with a manual-equipped B200, and trust us – you need the auto.
Changes are swift and smooth, operated by a small stalk on the right-hand side of the steering column. You can shift manually with steering-wheel mounted paddles, but since we were driving a diesel Mercedes high-rise hatchback and not Schumachers F1 car, we didnt bother.
The third thing that stands out about the B180-War-and-Peace is the price. At over 35,000, our B180 contained over ten grands worth of extras, and frankly, youd have to be insane to spend that much on a slightly dull diesel hatchback. Even if it does have a Mercedes badge.
It undoubtedly looks the part with its 18-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, Hazelnut Brown leather seats and two grands worth of Mercedes COMAND infotainment system, but thats still a ludicrous outlay. Ditch all that – and more – and the B180 CDI Sport starts at a more reasonable 24,810.
Unfortunately, the B180 CDI is fairly average to drive, engine and gearbox aside. The ride quality is surprisingly harsh and bouncy, a long way off Mercedes saloon car range. Its also uncommunicative and lethargic in the corners.
On the plus side, grip is adequate for the Bs intended purpose – throw it around too hard and your kids will be sick all over that luxurious leather. And you’ll be pleased to hear that the B gets safety options galore, such as Collision Prevention Assist and adaptive lights – high tech kit which has been developed on Mercedes’ top-end models and passed down the line.
Price as tested: 35,560
CO2: 121 g/km
Keep your pen away from all the option boxes, and the B180 CDI is actually a pretty good car. It still isnt great fun to drive, but thats of limited relevance in a practical, diesel hatchback. The auto gearbox and snazzy wheels improve both the way it drives, and the way it looks over lesser models.
However, the ride and handling are fairly poor, and start selecting seemingly desirable and Mercedes-suitable options like leather seats and high-tech infotainment systems, and the price becomes harder to justify. If youve money to burn then go for it, but we reckon there are other cars that do the same job better.
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