Perhaps the biggest news is the B 250’s all-new turbocharged direct-injection 2.0L DOHC 16-valve four-cylinder engine (not the same as the previously optional 2.0L SOHC 8-valve turbo engine in the B 200 Turbo) which pumps out 208 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque from 1,250 to 4,000 rpm. That’s a significant 74-hp and 122 lb-ft increase over the B 200’s non-turbocharged 2.0L base engine and 15 hp and 52 lb-ft more than the B 200 Turbo’s 2.0L turbocharged engine. The new 2.0-litre turbo four is the only engine offered in the 2013 B-Class and it uses Premium Unleaded fuel.

First Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz B 250 mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz B 250 mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250. Click image to enlarge

Compared to the B 200, the new B 250 is a rocket, sprinting from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.8 seconds, 3.4 seconds faster than the B 200 (Mercedes’ figures). And despite its turbocharged ferocity, Mercedes claims the turbo’s fuel economy numbers of 7.9 L/100 km City and 5.5 Highway are 18% better than the B 200’s. That’s due in part to a new Eco stop/start system, which automatically shuts off the engine at stoplights and restarts it automatically when the right foot is released from the brake pedal. Considering the B 250’s small engine, this stop/start system works without too much of a jolt, but we still found it annoying in stop-and-go traffic. In addition, we found that the air conditioning would sometimes turn off when the engine stopped. As it was a humid 30 degrees Celsius in Miami, this wasn’t appreciated. The auto stop/start function can be deactivated by pressing the Eco button on the dash, but it defaults to automatic stop/start every time the car is started.

Another new feature that can improve, or not improve, fuel economy is driver-selectable performance modes, Economy, Sport, and Manual. Each can be selected using a button on the dash. Economy is the default mode, and this retards the throttle and shifts the transmission sooner to maximize fuel economy (the company’s fuel consumption ratings are calculated in Economy mode). On the road, we noticed some turbo lag when starting out and the B 250 felt like it was hesitating until the turbo boost kicked in at about 1,200 rpm. Switching to Sport mode, we found the throttle more responsive, but perhaps a bit too sensitive when starting off. As well, the delayed transmission shifts resulted in a particularly revvy engine during city driving. Once out on the open road in Sport mode, the driving experience became more enjoyable.

First Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz B 250 mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2013 Mercedes Benz B 250 mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
2013 Mercedes-Benz B 250. Click image to enlarge

The B 250’s new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with a manual shift mode and optional shift paddles behind the steering wheel replaces the B 200’s standard five-speed manual and optional continuously variable transmission and the B 200 Turbo’s standard six-speed manual and optional CVT. Like other dual-clutch transmissions, this one preselects the next gear to minimize shift times. We found it generally smooth in automatic mode and it even ‘blips’ the throttle when braking and shifting down. Some fun can be had by shifting manually with the shift paddles, but it’s likely most people will just leave it in automatic mode because it does such a good job anyway. The driver can shift manually even in automatic mode, but the transmission will revert back to automatic mode after ten seconds or after a long downhill or uphill drive.

In the corners, the new B 250 feels more agile than the previous B-Class and there is much less lean. Cornering control is enhanced by a new independent four-link rear suspension that replaces the previous torsion beam setup. With its lower ride height and improved suspension, there’s definitely more driving fun to be had with the new B 250. The ride is comfortable over smooth pavement but potholes and utility covers reveal an uncompromising stiffness when surface changes are abrupt—with both the standard 17-inch and optional 18-inch tires.

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