Mercedes B Class W246, a story that started very well and continued decently. Like Gangnam Style, it’s hard to come up with a better sequel when the original is bang on.
The first generation B Class was an unexpected success for Mercedes. Essentially a luxury Touran, the B Class was a popular car among those too snobby for a Touran, and also among taxi drivers. Especially taxi drivers. At launch, the Mercedes B Class was the second safest car in the Mercedes range, second only to the S Class. It came with a lot of technology, safety, and comfort.
What does the new Mercedes B Class come with?
It didn’t come with anything new, it just improved almost everything. All the fun now happens on the common platform with the new A-Class, the suspension has become much more comfortable, the sandwich structure has remained and the technology has stayed on top. And as a bonus, the Mercedes B Class W246 also gets the 4Matic all-wheel drive system, as if that has any relevance to B Class owners. Unfortunately, this is where the first issues of the Mercedes-Renault-Nissan alliance appear, but most of the engines are 100% Mercedes. It still has a lower guard than the self-esteem of a fresh graduate student sending out their first CVs, but the Mercedes B Class W246 remains just as good a car, just not as innovative. It’s still a luxury Touran.
Mercedes B Class W246 Engines
- 1.6 Turbo of 122 and 156 horsepower – The base engine for the Mercedes B Class W246 comes as a continuation of the old M266, remaining a simple and reliable engine. For most B Class owners, this might be all the engine you’ll ever need. And, to make it easier for you, the codename for the 122 version is B180 BlueEFFICIENCY (someone set the Caps Lock button on and forgot to turn it off), and the 156 horsepower B220 BlueEFFICIENCY.
- 2.0 Turbo of 156, 184 and 211 horsepower – Probably on the W204 C Class this engine makes sense, but on a comfortable family and customer hauler, a Mercedes B Class W246 2.0 Turbo is somewhat overkill. Although, as with alcohol, there can never be too much. The B220 and B250 are the codes, and this 184-horsepower engine is the only one that gets optional all-wheel drive. So you can ferry customers from Courcevel Airport to the resort, no matter the season.
- 1.5 dci of 90 and 109 horsepower – Yes, ladies, gentlemen and everything in between, the Mercedes B Class W246 shares the same engine with the Dacia Logan II and Renault Megane III. And almost every other car in the Mercedes-Renault-Nissan alliance. A sort of village bike, this engine is sensitive to doubtful quality diesel but otherwise it shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. Code names B160 CDI and B180 CDI.
- 1.8 cdi of 109 and 136 horsepower – An engine with a questionable past, models up to 2012 are to be avoided because they have dubious Delphi piezo injectors. Let’s not forget that Delphi injectors are manufactured in Romania and they have caused quite several issues at other brands as well. More specifically, the injectors have been built during a break between 2 schnapps bottles. Code names B180 CDI and B200 CDI.
- 2.2 cdi of 170 horsepower – Same OM 651 only brought up to 2.2. Again, this is more of a W204 C Class and W212 E Class engine, but it’s good to know you can have it in the Mercedes B Class W246 B220 CDI. Sensitive injectors, but that’s about it.
B Class Electric Drive of 179 horsepower – A prototype model that even 3 people bought globally. The Mercedes B Class W246 Electric was just a model built for the brochure, which is why it was retired for good in 2018. Oh yeah, the batteries are from Tesla, so you can brag about having a Tesla-Mercedes.
Mercedes B Class W246 General Issues
- The first-generation automatic transmission had more issues than Lorin Ioan Fortuna, an esoterically correct and fully esoterically defined fighter through the esoteric ranks and distinctions conferred. In fact, if you want to pay for your mechanic’s children’s college, you get a European car with a CVT. And what solution did Mercedes come up with? They put in the 7G-Tronic dual-clutch transmission, obviously. Another transmission with a dubious reputation. The name of the game? Oil change. Regularly. That classic 7G-Tronic from Mercedes is a mix bag of reliability in the B Class, as it has issues in gears 1 and 2 in particular. Alternatively, you can just drive in reverse and forget about this rant altogether.
- The B Class Electric can have occasional issues when charging, in that the sensors that monitor the battery condition chew away at your battery until it’s completely discharged. Very important to remember for that 1 person that bought a Mercedes B Class W246 Electric.
- The start-stop system works intermittently when the fuel tank is almost empty. I have never been and will never be a fan of the start-stop system anyway. The fuel economy is just not worth it.
- For diesel engines, there are issues with the dual mass flywheel, which wears out more often than the industry average. Yet another reason to switch to petrol.
- Except that petrol engines don’t escape either, the M270 petrol developing late in life issues with the timing chain. Still, it’s better to replace a timing kit every 200.000 kms than to change particle filters and flywheels monthly. In other words, it’s better to have your trousers pierced in the butt than to have your butt pierced through your trousers.
- The inferior interior quality compared to the previous generation and Mercedes, in general, is harassing the Mercedes B Class W246. This probably stems from the A-Class platform, because always the most affordable Mercedes gives you enough to be satisfied, but not enough so that on your next purchase you’ll want more. You get the Mercedes experience, but only a sample to get you to move up a class in the future. Mercedes Benz, the narcs of the automotive world.
- The parking brake, which now operates electrically, can lock up and leave you stranded. I think I’ve seen that somewhere before.
- The infotainment and navi of the early models is vaguer than my college memories. I drank a lot in college. That’s because in high school chemistry I learned that alcohol was a solution.
- The needle gauge for the engine temperature can fluctuate, even if the engine is okay. It just doesn’t hurt to have a few palpitations in your life.
- Safety systems have constant electrical issues, especially in early models. But that goes for just about any Mercedes.
Mercedes B Class W246 Verdict
It wasn’t quite the instant hit of the first generation, but the Mercedes B Class W246 still remains a great car for taxi drivers and family drivers. Especially when you see how a B Class depreciates because people kind of avoid it. Yes, it won’t win any beauty pageants or be on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine, but as a family car, it remains an excellent choice. Mercedes B Class W246 – the best Mercedes you don’t know about, now in its second generation. And if you take depreciation into account, the Mercedes B Class W246 may be one of the best family purchases.
Which engine do I recommend? By far the most balanced engine in terms of performance-reliability-cost remains the 156-horsepower 1.6 Turbo, the famous M270 that came in the form of the B200 BlueEFFICIENCY.