Overdrive TV: Merc B Class
(24 May 2012)

Merc B Class

Overdrive TV: Merc B Class

There is not only a power war going on between the 3 main German manufacturers, it seems there is also an “unnecessary segment war” or “Segment unnötige Krieg” to give its German name. They are all trying to outdo each other by creating cars I’m not sure we need. It used to be the other way round, where they would listen to the needs of the public and make a car accordingly.

Now it seems the designers know what we want before we do. So who is the B-Class perfect for? It’s kind of Honda FR-V sized so you’d assume it’s for people with 2.3 children and an expendable income. It’s slightly more convenient than an A-Class because it has more space, and slightly more desirable than a C-Class because it has more boot. This truly is wedged between the two. So does it feel like a stop gap?

The idea of something being titled B anything doesn’t seem like the smartest thing Merc’s ever done. You get B-movies, the B-Team, Betamax, Beelzebub.

So are you getting everything that makes a Merc a Merc? The answer is yes and no, which isn’t an answer at all I guess.

Here’s the thing, Ciro drove and pronounced it was too noisy and gave me the keys while he went to swan around in a convertible roadster, but in the interests of rekindling my love of the three pointed star after my recent BMW lapses I stuck with the B-Class.

Looks wise, I think it’s pretty awesome, certainly better than the previous edition even in red which I think should be banished as a Mercedes colour. No Merc should be red except for the one that almost won the Spa 24 hour in 1971, but that’s another story.

Our model was the 2.0 litre Diesel and at start up and low revs I must say it’s a bit clattery by modern diesel standards which are becoming ridiculously quiet. But once you’re out on the highway a certain Mercedesness takes over. The car feels quick and smooth and while not exactly agile it is a fantastic cruiser. You feel safe, which is important for your 2.16 children at the back. It’s a bit like a budget airline, a bit nervy at firsty and then absolutely like every other plane once you’re at cruising altitude.

As I mentioned the example we had was the 200CDi which starts at just under R400 000. The technical data sheet I downloaded from the local website was in Germa so I think it gets to 100 in a shade under 10 seconds.

In other news, you’re not going to believe this but I saw someone driving a Mercedes R-Class the other day.

No. Did it belong to a hotel?

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