Tested: Mercedes-Benz B220 CDI

The bolder lines

In honour of recent name changes in the Mercedes-Benz model codes, and to better describe the virtues of our latest test car, this text is brought to you by the letter B. Insert Sesame Street jingle here. The model tested was a snow white B220 CDI with black leather interior and optional AMG goodies.

B is for better. Obviously. Using the same platform as the new A-Class, CLA compact sedan and GLA compact SUV (sport utility vehicle), Mercedes-Benz put a lot of thought into this second-generation B-Class which results in an overall more efficient and accomplished vehicle.

…an overall more efficient and accomplished vehicle.

Although some still live on the options list, innovative features include LED lights, hill start assist, radar-guided cruise control, self-parking system, active lane keeping, blind spot assist, Garmin navigation on a big multi-function display as well as active and passive safety systems.

B is for big. They also stretched most available measurements to their limits in creating this trendy and spacious new MPV (multi-purpose vehicle). Important measurements are 4.35m length, 1.56m height, 1.77m width and a 488L boot which can be extended to 1,545L with the rear seats folded flat.

B is for bolder. Look at it; just look at it! Gone are the smooth and gracious lines of the predecessor, replaced by more determined strokes of the pen and a strange profile crease which draws your attention from the sharper front end to the new B-Class’ bolder proportions.

B is for baffling. Here’s where things get weird. Our test car was fitted with the optional keyless start system which allows you to press a button instead of turning the key in an ignition slot. Except that you still have to unlock or lock the car with the key, which you need to dig out of your pocket or bag. This makes no sense.

…it triggers when you least expect it.

B is for backwards. While we’re at it, this B-Class deserves a proper hiding for its new DCT (dual-clutch transmission) automatic gearbox. Lethargic and jerky would be too kind a choice of words, while the start/stop system is even worse because it triggers when you least expect it. At least it can be deselected.

The 2.1L engine (130kW/350Nm) is strong and reasonably linear in its power delivery but this gearbox does it no favours. Sport mode (with shift paddles) helps a bit; if you don’t mind cruising around near the jack-hammering redline. Our advice – nay, plea – avoid the B220 CDI and get a manual B200 CDI.

B is for business. If you can live with it, the sharp looks and efficient (4.3L/100km average) engine make the B220 CDI a good companion for the working Mom or Dad. Pile the kids high in the morning, zip between meetings all day and easily do a monthly shop or romantic city dinner in the evening.

Plant your right foot and this model will reach 100km/h in 8-or-so seconds; our Racelogic ‘box flashed 7.94 and a 400m time of 15.81 seconds. We even left some black marks on the tarmac in the process so the B220 CDI means business at the traffic lights, too. It also absolved an emergency brake test with top marks.

B is for brainy. If you’re into gadgets, we can certainly recommend the optional COMAND infotainment system to improve an already clever car. We especially enjoyed the comprehensive multi-function display with eco-encouraging graphics between the newly grooved main instruments.

…this is somewhat unnecessary in a family MPV.

B is for buying. The B220 CDI currently retails for N$448,000 and falls below the CO2 tax threshold. A two-year unlimited kilometer warranty and six-year 100,000km maintenance plan are included. As a final warning we have to caution you about the optional AMG kit which almost solidifies the ride quality.

The N$34,500 option obviously gives you sporty looks, cool wheels and great handling but most drivers found that this is somewhat unnecessary in a family MPV. If you only travel on silky-smooth roads, go for it. But if you ferry around sleeping children near speed bumps and pot holes, proceed at your own peril.



0-10km/h: 0.53 seconds
0-20km/h: 1.05 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.58 seconds
0-40km/h: 2.26 seconds
0-50km/h: 2.90 seconds
0-60km/h: 3.81 seconds
0-70km/h: 4.59 seconds
0-80km/h: 5.71 seconds
0-90km/h: 6.79 seconds
0-100km/h: 7.94 seconds
0-110km/h: 9.19 seconds
0-120km/h: 11.01 seconds
0-130km/h: 12.84 seconds
0-140km/h: 14.86 seconds

0-100m: 6.86 seconds @ 90.78km/h
0-200m: 10.30 seconds @ 115.88km/h
0-300m: 13.21 seconds @ 132.11km/h
0-400m: 15.81 seconds @ 143.98km/h

Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.62G

Altitude: 51m

All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box

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