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Refreshed Mercedes-Benz B-Class retains relevance despite arrival of sexier siblings

28 May 2015

IT IS perhaps ironic that as BMW releases its first front-drive model with the 2 Series Active Tourer, Mercedes-Benz responded by adding drive to the rear wheels of its top-spec B-Class.

And it is perhaps strange that BMW is trying to compete with the sensible B-Class when the A-Class hatch, coupe-like CLA sedan (soon to be joined by a shooting brake wagon) and GLA SUV have added a thrusting, youthful yuppie appeal to the lower reaches of the Mercedes-Benz range in recent years.

After all, the B-Class and Active Tourer with their tall-boy, practical purpose aesthetics are more hip-replacement than hipster. It’s easy to think of these cars as bigger, premium-branded takes on the Honda Jazz.

Although another new player in the tiny category is Citroen’s unique C4 Picasso, which is bringing the fight to the Germans with a $41k starting price and loads of spec.

The recent B-Class facelift was pretty minor, but the top-spec B250 model tested – replete with two-tone AMG alloy wheels and bodykit – is more ‘down with the kids’. Quite literally, if you consider its lowered suspension.

Combined with the practicality and subtlety of the B-Class, does the addition of AWD elevate the B250 to something of a thinking person’s compact Mercedes?

Some images shown in the road test depict the Mercedes-Benz B200, not the B250.

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Model release date: 1 March 2015

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