MPV’s or “mommy cars” as some may refer to them, have over the years been tainted by the misconception that they’re dull, unexciting and generally not the most good-looking vehicles out there. This may have been the case in times gone by, but there’s a new breed of these mommy wagons that are set on breaking the stereotype.
The Mercedes-Benz B200 AMG, now in its thirdgeneration is a classic example of a disruptor in this space, here to break the mould”. From a design perspective, it’s compact but not too small, with smooth lines flowing from the front to the rear. When paired with the AMG body kit, the B-Class becomes a saucy looking little thing. It’s so appealing that even the daddies in the family may end up racking up some mileage on it. Beware of the ensuing conflict
If not from its looks, the conflict will most certainly be caused by how the Mercedes-Benz performs on the road. You see beneath that semi-pointed front end rests a little 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the B200. Don’t be fooled by its small displacement, because as most of you know by now, dynamite comes concealed in the strangest of packages. This engine very lively and punches above its weight for a 1.3-litre. It’s an impressive piece of engineering and delivers a fun and exciting drive. It’s characterised by a constant urge to bolt out of the hole every time you every pull-off, and when pushed hard it also has the legs to keep pace at higher speeds. Power and torque figures from this little firecracker peak at 120 kW and 250 Nm, which is on par with some 1.6-litre turbo engines on the market. The B-Class is also quite nimble and agile, making the behind-the-wheel experience even more fun and refreshing. Mommies, you may need to keep the keys to this one stashed away somewhere.
Where it falls a bit short is with that 7-speed DCT gearbox responsible for shifting duties. It has a slight delay in engaging, resulting in the vehicle that lurches forward when pulling off. On the inside, the B-Class maintains the same level of excellence as it does with its engine. An upbeat interior greets you, covered in dual-tone leather. Black and white are the colours of choice here, covering the seats and flowing through to the door panels, where aluminium finished handles complete the chic look. On the tech front, the B200 AMG is equipped with Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system which offers a host of technology including speech recognition through the dual high-resolution screens on the dashboard.
Since this is a car whose life will likely be spent shuffling children and other members of the family to and fro, we investigated the rear seating arrangements and the results were positive. The B-Class has enough rear head and legroom to accommodate fully grown adults without hassle, so smaller humans should be more than comfortable in here. A 40:20:40 split of this seat is a very functional feature in the Mercedes-Benz, allowing you to drop the seats as you wish for different space requirements. A decent size boot with a capacity of 455-litres is on board to meet your daily needs. Of course, this can be increased to 1540-litres with the seats folded flat.
Overall the Mercedes-Benz B200 AMG is an interesting little package which deserves more than just a glance. Good looks, a lively 1.3-litre engine and an interior filled with the latest in tech from the Germans make the R644 495 price tag easier to swallow.
By Gugu Masuku