2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e Test Drive Review

4 months ago by Jake Holmes 25

2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e

2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e Review: The Mercedes Of EVs

High driving satisfaction and luxury appointments, so-so battery range.

– Budapest, Hungary

Though it’s sold with a variety of engine options in other countries, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is offered only with an electric powertrain in the U.S. Called the B250e, the battery-powered hatchback has all the refinement, equipment, and style we’ve come to expect from Mercedes cars, but it can’t match the driving range of other new EVs.

Pros

Strong motor. With 251 pound-feet of torque on tap, the B250e really scoots. Select the Sport driving mode, instead of the default Eco or Eco+, and the car’s motor responds energetically, delivering bursts of acceleration in an instant. Speed builds urgently and easily at all times.

Drives like a Mercedes. There’s the same progressive steering weight and firm brake pedal as in other Mercedes small cars, like the CLA and GLA, so the B250e never feels like an eco-warrior. The brake feel especially is impressive; unlike many electrics, the pedal is never spongy and never vague when transitioning between the regenerative and friction brakes.

2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e

Handsome interior. The B250e has essentially the same interior layout as the CLA and GLA, with which it shares its platform, and that means it’s one of the more stylish EV interiors on the market. A bright, crisp infotainment display perches atop the dashboard, along with turbine-like air vents and unique instrument gauges for the electric powertrain. All told, it’s a stylish and well-built interior that says luxury first, eco car second.

Clever regenerative-braking system. Using paddles on the back of the steering wheel, you can tailor how much regenerative braking you desire. If you want to be able to coast, for instance, pull the left paddle to select “D-” mode, which has the most aggressive regen when you lift off the throttle. “D+” mode has the least, allowing you to coast more like in a gas-powered car, while “D Auto” lets the car adjust the regen level automatically: Using the radar sensor and traffic-sign recognition, it will automatically activate the regen to slow you if you’re entering a lower speed limit or if you’re closing on another vehicle too quickly. It’s a very cool convenience feature that also helps preserve battery range.

Cons

So-so electric driving range. As you can see in our handy chart, the B250e’s 87-mile battery range is pretty far down the rankings by today’s standards. Comparably priced EVs from Nissan, Kia, BMW, and others beat the Benz in terms of range – and that’s before mentioning the 238-mile EPA rating of the new Chevy Bolt, with which it is competitively priced.

Lazy throttle tip-in. The throttle tuning is exceptionally lethargic for the first inch or two of pedal travel, especially if you select the Eco+ driving mode. That’s perfectly fine for helping ensure owners drive smoothly and efficiently, maximizing driving range, but it belies the impressive torque on offer from the electric motor (see the Pros section). It’s deceptive when you’re first getting used to the B250e and it feels like it has about 77 hp, not 177.

Bouncy ride. The B250e’s suspension is constantly in motion, and lots of rebound makes it bouncy going over rough roads. It’s never harsh or jarring in the way of a firmly sprung sports car, but it’s definitely far from the most comfortable Mercedes I’ve ever driven.

Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com

Mega photo gallery here

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25 responses to "2017 Mercedes-Benz B250e Test Drive Review"

  1. Scott says:

    Really a shame, because the size and shape is very practical, and it’s a good looking car.

    1. MDEV says:

      The shape is a shame too.

  2. Alan says:

    Would probably have been my next car but for the range being half what I need.

    150 real world miles would do it.

    1. SJC says:

      150 mile range is about right, make one for under $30,000 with style then they might sell.

  3. pjwood1 says:

    “The Best, or Nothing”.

    Now, I get it.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Ok, that was funny!

  4. Terawatt says:

    Needs an update and a jump to 40+ kWh to stay in the game. 60 kWh would make it awesome.

    1. andy says:

      Won’t get an update, MB will offer the EQ cars from next year on. B-Class ED then will probably be discontiniued.

    2. SparkEV says:

      Better than bigger battery, they need to increase the efficiency with better engineering. Tesla P100D is rated over 90 MPGe, Bolt 119 MPGe, this MB is only rated 84. If they could make it like SparkEV (or Bolt), and assuming linear relationship on range/MPGe, current 28kWh battery would be good for 123 miles. Throw in a DCFC, and it would have usable range.

      But even with that, it’s still trailing most other EV of this price range in terms of performance (eg, i3, Bolt).

      1. Unplugged says:

        Yes, it is odd that the B only gets 84 MPGe. That seems terrible inefficient for such a small car.

        Interestingly, Car & Driver states that its test show it hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, not 7.9. That’s a BIG difference.

  5. SparkEV says:

    No DCFC, horribly inefficient (28 kWh for 87 miles???), 0-60 slower than SparkEV that cost half in US, these are some reasons why this is a dud. i3 is far better if Bolt isn’t available. MB needs to try much harder.

    1. Saabluster says:

      Well motor trend tested the Spark EV at 7.5sec. They also tested the B-Class at 6.5 sec.

      It’s probably changed now but when I got my B-Class a year ago it was the safest car in the euro crash tests. And yes, safer than Tesla.

      Also the range is actually about 115 miles with the range charge. As in I can easily achieve this. The B Class is remarkably invariant as far as range goes. As in you can pretty much go just as far on the highway as you can around town. Most other EVs take a big hit on the highway.

      The B Class is also waaaaaay more luxurious than the Spark. More luxurious than any other EV this side of a Tesla. Ingress and egress is almost perfect. The flip up trays in the back are brilliant. Room in the cabin is astonishing given outside dimensions. The handling is really really good. Especially given the Eco tires.

      The B Class is in no way a dud. Not even close if one is properly educated. But then “reviews” like we have here are part of the reason people don’t understand this car. Not enough info. The reviewers seem to barely put any effort into their reviews of this car. I suppose it reflects Mercedes own lack of care for this car. Yes they do need to try harder. This is no Tesla killer. But it is also no dud.

      1. David Lane says:

        Nice contribution, Saabluster. Nice to hear from someone who drives one!
        What is the range charge?
        How do you explain the fact that the car can go pretty much as far on the highway as around town?

        1. Empire State says:

          The Range charge was a feature (of a package) that allowed you to depress a button before beginning charging in order to more fully charge the battery, meant to be used on occasion for longer trips. Initially this was a paid option, which became a standard feature in some markets before others. The package came with an electrically defrosted windscreen – a very desirable option in frosty climates.

          I think the design compromises were pretty in keeping with M-B in general – use a bit more fuel, carry a bit more fuel. The inclusion of the 10kW charger is an unfortunately less useful benefit when most of our installed public charging tops out well below this figure. Tony’s DCFC enabling the usage of ChadeMo equipment would be a nice addition to one of these as they continue to come off-lease and/or are traded in by owners.
          The strange by-line-ish subtitle of Budapest, Hungary in this article brings to mind the fact that this is probably an even more viable consumer vehicle there, benefiting from higher voltage public charging and greater practical reach than someone who has to, for example, drive across Kansas.

          Suffice it to say, nobody is cross-shopping the numerical efficiency nor the 0-60 times of this M-B and a Spark EV. They may have missed the mark of pushing the (loss) envelope for EV enthusiasts with this vehicle, or they may have successfully hedged their losses which would have occurred by not having an EV in the lineup while gaining EV experience and while producing something M-B enthusiasts could stomach. This model was understated while competitors were exultant. In that regard, M-B surely stayed on-brand.

        2. Saabluster says:

          There is a button you push on the dash before you start charging that allows the battery to charge to a higher level. I think it nets about 33Kwh total with that button pushed.

          I did look into the root reasons for the range invariability some time back. Can’t remember for sure why. I think it came down to the weight of the car pushing the city numbers down but good aero allowing for little highway hit. Either way you can see evidence for this invariability in the epa numbers.

      2. SparkEV says:

        I’m going by the spec in this article which lists 0-60 at 7.9 seconds. 2014 SparkEV was 7.5 seconds, but 2015+ is lighter (smaller battery, same EPA range) and quicker at 7.2 seconds.

        Spec lists the weight as close to 4000 lb and 177 HP which is 22.2 lb/hp. SparkEV weighs 2900 lb and 140 HP which is 20.7 lb/hp. If you’re telling me MB is quicker than SparkEV with far more weight to carry per horsepower, it’s violating the law of physics.

        Same is true about range and battery listed here as 87 miles and 28 kWh (3.1 mi/kWh). SparkEV is 82 miles and 18.4 kWh (4.5 mi/kWh) which makes MB horribly inefficient by comparison.

        At $30K, or $37K as tested, vs $16K for SparkEV (all post subsidy in CA), it better offer something better. Since it can’t be performance or range (lack of DCFC on MB), it is more “luxury”. That isn’t worth 2X the price to me.

        And this is only comparison to SparkEV, not BMW i3 or Bolt. MB is a dud. They need to try harder.

        1. Saabluster says:

          “MB is a dud” Says the man who doesn’t have one and probably hasn’t even driven one. Listen you are obviously entitled to your opinion but please try to make it an informed one. I understand why you posted complaining about perceived poor acceleration based on the poor “review”. But then I shared facts. Please update your opinion accordingly. I posted the motor trend numbers because they were the faster for both models. B Class 6.5sec Spark EV 7.5sec. Car and Driver also tested both these cars. The numbers are B Class 6.8sec Spark EV 7.9. So the Spark EV is consistently 1 sec slower. Sorry to burst your world view.

          That is two professional automotive review sites that agree that the B Class beat the Spark EV. Your beef is with them not me.

          I actually got my car for $28,000 unregistered and although eligible for the federal credit only got about half of it because we are not rich. So all told roughly $25. It was a manufacturer tester. In fact I own the very car used for the Autoblog review. I would never pay what MB wants for these msrp. But you can find some amazing deals out there.

          Sparky I know how much you have railed on and on for some time about how awesome the little Spark is. And I do think it is a great car. But I know which one I’d rather have my wife driving to work in every day. I value her life far more than the difference in price between these two cars.

          1. SparkEV says:

            Did you even read the article? You talk about all kinds of stuff except what’s stated above. If you don’t believe my numbers (weight to power ratio, miles per kWh, etc), do the math yourself. Numbers are right above the comments section in the main article, and calculations are simple divisions, not dancing with tensors.

            If MT got 6.5 sec 0-60 while MB carries more weight per horsepower than SparkEV, they clearly made a mistake. That’s violating the law of Physics, and I trust science over some car magazine.

            I did test drive MB twice. Both times, it was so-so. I like that it was larger than SparkEV, but I preferred i3 or used Tesla S if I have to pay 2X SparkEV money. In addition, lack of DCFC for $30K EV is unacceptable.

            I would not recommend MB to anyone. You call it my opinion, but MB lags other EV in almost every metric when you look at the facts (again, read the article). MB is a dud.

            1. Tom says:

              Don’t want to drive a Chevy , I take my padded door and leather interior any day.

            2. NOT Sparky says:

              You have missed the point Sparkev, in this conversation Spark is awesome just for you, he listens to your opinion, but your love to your car blinds you to listen what your opponent is trying to say

            3. Jimrob says:

              Battery: 35.8kWh total – 28kWh usable normally (range plus allows charge to about 32kWh)

              The battery has active thermal management (it is a Tesla unit) so along with the conservative charge levels, longevity should be excellent.

              Range:90-100 miles summer (105-120 using range plus).

              In winter it take a big hit unless you pre-heat the battery while charging as it uses 2kWh or so to warm the battery to optimum temp, and also the cabin heater is an inefficient resistive heater rather than a heat-pump – winter range 70-90 miles more realistic.

              Performance is much quicker than M-B suggest – sub-7 seconds on every proper test out there – this is almost certainly to stop the B250e being the fastest version in markets with diesel/petrol variants that are far more profitable, such as in Europe.

              The interior is waaaay better put together than any US built car including the Model S (though nowhere near as funky).

              Safety ratings are first class.

              Seats are very comfortable and built to last.

              Servicing is quite steep (as per the M-B norm)

              Lack of DC rapid charging is a major issue for anyone wanting to travel long distances, but for me living in the UK and rarely travelling more than 80 miles in a day, and with lots of 22kW AC public chargers available (the B250e can charge at 11kW on these giving me over ‘half a tank’ in a 90 minute lunchbreak) it suits my needs very nicely.

              They have now been discontinued from sale and I believe the last ones roll off the production line in Germany in the next month or so.

              Range is the big issue if you need the range – it is a non-issue if you don’t. For 2+ car families it does the job very nicely indeed.

              1. Jimrob says:

                ps crash test results:

                Merc B – http://www.euroncap.com/en/results/mercedes-benz/b-class/10982

                Chevy Spark – http://www.euroncap.com/en/results/chevrolet/spark/11034

                The B is one of the toughest cars ever tested.

  6. Biill T says:

    The form factor looks almost perfect for us and the nicer interior and extra 7 or so cubic feet of storage behind the 2nd row relative to the Bolt are both attractive to me. If these get a range bump to >130 miles and the deals on 2 year old ones persist this car might be tempting when we go shopping in 2018/2019 for a replacement for my wife’s ICE RAV4.

  7. wavelet says:

    Something I’m not clear on from the article: Any difference from the original B-Class ED? Offhand, the specs look identical, but the article should mention this.
    If they are identical, is this still a Tesla-sourced drivetrain?
    There were media stories a while back saying the MB-Tesla agreement was done, and that MB was working on its own drivetrain (as an intermediate step to the EQ platform, but with a bit more range). Has this been abandoned?

    1. Mike I. says:

      This is the Tesla drivetrain. M-B is developing their own EV parts and this Tesla equipped version will either be dropped entirely or replaced with a version equipped with M-B parts.

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