The Mercedes Benz B-class now comes with a diesel engine offering a smoother ride and better fuel economy

Mercedes-Benz first launched the B-class in India last year. And we were quite impressed by its space, practicality, build quality and sublime interior. The only thing we missed was a diesel engine. Now, the company has introduced the B 180 CDI. However, don’t be misled by the name, this is a 2.2-litre unit good for 107bhp and 25.5kgm of torque.

Despite being a hatchback, there’s nothing small about this car. This B 180 CDI weighs in at over 1.5 tonnes. Though the power figure doesn’t sound too impressive, the torque from the engine is ample and available from the word go. You hardly feel any turbo lag, and the car pulls away smoothly in true Mercedes fashion. It’s got a really good mid-range, and the top end is not too bad either — but it does get a bit noisy towards the end. A lot of credit must be given to the seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearbox, which is good at picking the best ratio for any given situation. It can even be set to Sport or Manual for quicker shifts and better throttle response.

The big news is the ride, which is a huge improvement on the petrol car. This is down to the smaller, 16-inch wheels and higher, 55-profile tyres that are standard on the diesel. The suspension is still somewhat stiffly set up, though, and you will feel this most on sharper bumps.

The diesel B-class is available only in Style trim, a major reason why it will likely cost less than the petrol. Other than the dual sunroof setup and the 17-inch wheels, the B 180 CDI gets everything, with a fully powered driver’s seat, leather upholstery, seven airbags, a COMAND interface with a variety of media connectivity and a whole lot of safety tech.

So, is the diesel B-class better than the petrol version? Definitely yes. The diesel engine makes for a smoother, more relaxed drive, and there’s also the benefit of better fuel economy. The other question that arises is with the A-class now on sale, is it worth considering this car still? Although the B-class shares a platform, engines and a lot of trim with the A-class, the two cars have very different characters. The big B may lose some desirability points to its cheaper sibling, but on real-world practicality and usability, it absolutely trounces it. If the lowest possible sticker price is your primary criterion, perhaps the A-class is a better choice. But if you want a useful boot, proper room in the rear seats, and a comfortable ride, the B-class — particularly the CDI — is well worth the extra spend.