Mercedes B180 BE CDI - “Who says responsibility can’t be fun?”


When I heard I was going to be driving the new Mercedes B180 BE CDI, I did not know what to expect. While I eagerly awaited the arrival of the vehicle, I did some research and I came across a thought-provoking question posed by Mercedes,  “Who says responsibility can’t be fun?” Let the fun begin.

At first glance the Mercedes looks amazing with a sporty, lower, slicker stance and beautifully sculpted front xenon headlamps that complement the new front grille and bumper. The attention to stylish design and detail on the exterior has been carried through to the interior, which in my opinion is just as appealing. It is like stepping into an art exhibition: soft textures, flowing lines, honey comb dash that houses chrome air vents that are similar to the ones found in a SLS, plenty to keep your eyes interested. At night the interior takes on a complete metamorphosis. It’s like you are in a first class seat on an A380, with soft lighting that illuminates the interior. The A380, sorry I mean B180, has enough legroom to comfortably stretch out.


In the pilot seat of this test vehicle you have plenty of safety gadgetry, as well as the Comand Online multimedia system, which helped me with the responsible side of the question. I would like to take a minute to get all techie and mention the Comand system which is brilliant. I love how easy it is to navigate the menus, its very intuitive. Connected via Bluetooth to my smart-phone I was able to access the internet to find a new restaurant; then phoned to make a reservation and using the navigation get there, while enjoying my music. This is controlled from the center console or even better the LINGUATRONIC. For fun it has a flappy paddle gearbox as well as a rather good sound system (Extras). On my way to visit some friends in Hartbeespoort I put the family sport tourer to the test. I must say the diesel is a perfect performer, with 80kw @ 3200 – 4600 and 250 nm of torque, there is no hesitation when overtaking. When the sports button is pushed, the acceleration is taken to a whole new level. In the corners there is not much body roll making you feel more secure compared to other family MPV’s, that leave you feeling like you are driving a Double Decker bus. The electronic steering is disappointing as there is not enough road feedback and can be light weighted at times. When driving this vehicle I found myself feeling like a youngster and had loads of fun, forgetting about the other safety-warning device, standard in most family cars, the wife.

Being a man I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me. Surprisingly it was not because of my driving, but about how comfortable she was and how much she loved the Mercedes. I then shared the base price tag with her R299, 600.00. She started reasoning like a man saying “that’s not bad because you get this, and this, and this… etc”. Then I told her the approximate price of the current car we were test driving at R393, 000.00, and still she said, “yes, but you get this, and this, and it’s pretty. This excited me because I also loved the Mercedes, as a family man I am always looking for the best of both, family comfort and a sporty drive. The Mercedes has plenty to offer and having to give the car back was difficult.

When you get behind the wheel, the quality of materials and the attention to detail is amazing. The motor and overall drive is suited for a Sunday family outing as well as a sporty little escape for dad. I think the designers have got it right, a brilliant balance of style and engineering. In conclusion, I agree with Mercedes, responsibility can be fun in the B class.

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