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Mercedes B-Class and VW Golf Plus in the test: compact, but with space

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mercedes B-Class against VW Golf Plus in the test
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D as with the Ambition can sometimes backfire. As a dynamic driver, Mercedes wanted to establish the B-Class and equipped it with a sports suspension for the comparison test with the Ford C-Max, Nissan Qashqai and VW Golf - which promptly cost them decisive points. Without exaggerated agility fantasies, i.e. standard suspension and standard steering, it can take a kind of revenge: against the VW Golf Plus.

Instead of driving dynamics, the high-roof version of the Wolfsburg bestseller has space in the head above all Normal golf by 14 centimeters. You can also move chairs in the rear. The Mercedes B-Class also offers this touch of variability - for an extra charge of 672 euros. The predecessor even gave back willingly and front passenger seat. But Mercedes decided that van-like servility was obviously too much of a mustache. It justifies its higher price with a material appearance that shows the Golf Plus that it is getting on in years. After all, the VW builds on the platform of the previous generation. However, it is dubious business practice to force B-Class customers who want to order the automatic air conditioning to squeeze the chrome package for 351 euros on their eyes.

Mercedes B-Class for safety and front body

After all, the luggage compartment of the Mercedes B-Class offers its services generously, and the interior is also generous. Despite the poor clarity and the smaller compartments, it is enough for the B-Class to decide the body section for itself. The same on the subject of safety: the Mercedes B-Class decelerates a bit more emphatically and holds the protective hands of the Lane Keeping Assistants and Blind Spot Assistants above the passengers for an extra charge. Attention and emergency braking aids are standard. There are also upper-class options such as active cornering and high beam. The only complaint at this point would be the on-board computer, which is too complex, whereas the touch-sensitive monitor in the VW Golf Plus is too high for pure operation.

After all, the logic of the VW system is quickly understood. Because the Golf Plus comes in the lavishly stocked Highline version, it scores highly in terms of equipment. Heated front seats, parking aid, automatic air conditioning, leather-covered steering wheel, lumbar support, multi-function display and 17-inch wheels have to be paid extra for the Mercedes B-Class. That canthey offer little opposition - except for the extra exclusivity that can be expected from the higher price alone. Whoever wants to drive the 156 hp Mercedes B 200 with seven-speed dual clutch transmission from the yard has to invest more than 30,000 euros.

VW Golf Plus around 2,000 euros cheaper

Driven by the four-horsepower 1.4-liter, double-charged by compressor and turbo, the Golf Plus including seven-speed dual clutch transmission costs around 2,000 euros less. In addition, it is slightly cheaper to maintain than the Mercedes B-Class - especially in the case of repairs. The Mercedes is only more economical when it comes to fuel costs. Its four-cylinder turbo with a displacement of 1.6 liters is more economical and requires an average of 0.4 liters less premium gasoline per 100 kilometers. Part of the frugality is certainly due to the standard start-stop system, which switches off the engine when waiting at the traffic lights, for example.

At VW, it only helps with inner-city consumption in the models with Blue Motion technology to lower - the test car does not have it on board. The 1.4-liter engine in the Golf Plus stands out positively in another discipline: its cultivated run. Unlike earlier naturally aspirated engines, the turbocharged four-cylinder from VW now turn with little vibration up to high engine speeds - and largely suppress the roar. The 1.6-liter Mercedes B-Class is not rough either, but it sounds more robust. But something else is more annoying than his sonorous voice: when shifting to the next higher level, the speed often needs an irritatingly long moment before it drops - that sounds almost as elastic as with a CVT transmission. The gear changes themselves, on the other hand, take place inconspicuously smoothly - not a trace of jerks.

If you want to accelerate at low revs in the Mercedes B 200, you will not experience the brilliant acceleration as in the Golf Plus. Its compressor then diligently shovels fresh air into the combustion chambers, which feels like a mighty displacement. But the Volkswagen is far from moving faster on country roads. The high-rise Golf lags behind, especially when it gets winding. It wobbles more in tight bends, gives the driver less feedback via the steering, doesn't feel as precise - almost like a typical van that it isn't.

Mercedes B- Class whirls around the corners

The Mercedes B-Class, on the other hand, whirls around the corners as nimbly as you would expect from a dynamic compact car. No trace of sedate, just as little of disruptive body movements. The set-up of the standard spring /damper coordination meets the compromise that is always sought between willing turning, high neutrality in corners and easy manageability, and is capable of significantly more than most customers will ask.The whole thing sounds like a rather tight interpretation, but far from it: Even on the highway, the compact Mercedes B-Class can handle short and long bumps cleanly. However, it is only really in its element when the asphalt resembles a crater landscape - the worse the road gets, the more the suspension seems to work. It feels like the Mercedes B 200 is a whole vehicle class above the VW Golf Plus.

Differences are strikingly noticeable on the back seat: In the Golf, passengers experience long-stroke body movements as well as swaying sideways, if that were the case The route completed in the Mercedes B-Class is now in a significantly worse condition in the VW. A short cross-check with the Golf at the end of 2011 shows that the B-Class with the comfortable standard chassis would have had realistic chances of victory. This is no longer to be taken from you in the current encounter: the clear lead from the property evaluation does not endanger the clear loss of the cost capital. So the Mercedes B-Class is 1A.


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