Mercedes-Benz V-Class: The Ultimate Lifestyle
What a surprising experience when I saw the Mercedes-Benz V-Class for the first time. Gone was the awkward-looking Mercedes-Benz bus and, in its place, was a modern, elegant and dynamic multipurpose vehicle.
Not only is the V-Class a good-looking multipurpose vehicle (MPV), but it is also well built with efficiency and safety being at the highest level. There is a host of new innovations, while functionality and flexibility are taken to the next level without skimping on safety or efficiency.
I was surprised by the car-like feel, the smooth drive, the quietness, and the driving enjoyment. Were it not for the high seating position and walk-through area between the front seats, I would have thought I was in the C-Class. Although driving is a pleasure, you actually want to make yourself
comfortable in the back where you can relax in the opulence and grandeur of the ‘lounge’, a place where up to eight people can make themselves at home with high-class appeal, comfort, efficient driving enjoyment, and safety. This makes the Mercedes-Benz the perfect vehicle among the MPVs for everyone who appreciates boundless space but does not want to sacrifice style and comfort.
Whether travelling with the whole family, heading out for a mountain-bike holiday with friends, or driving prominent guests to a red-carpet event, the new V-Class provides optimum flexibility when it comes to use of the luxurious interior. Highlights include the free-standing central display, the multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons and the DIRECT SELECT lever with steering-wheel shift paddles for automatic models, as well as the innovative touch pad, which allows all telematics functions to be operated by means of gestures or by entering characters in the same way as on a smartphone.
With the three equipment lines, V-Class Standard, V-Class BlueTEC and V-Class BlueTEC AVANTGARDE, an Exterior Sports package and an Interior Design package available for each line, and a host of optional extras, the new MPV can be individualised to suit any taste and requirement.
A high level of driving comfort and an exemplary standard of safety are ensured by innovative driver-assistance systems. They are based on state-of-the-art radar, camera and ultrasound sensors under the name ‘Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive’. Standard equipment includes Crosswind Assist, which helps to stabilise the V-Class in strong crosswinds, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which warns the driver of inattention and drowsiness. Available as standard is Active Parking Assist, which makes parking of the new MPV as easy and convenient as parking a compact car.
Further optional features available are: 360° camera, DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, the LED Intelligent Light System and Adaptive Highbeam Assist.
To further enhance safety, the PRE-SAFE® system is available as standard on the V250 BlueTEC and V250 BlueTEC AVANTGARDE, while it is an optional extra for the rest of the derivatives.
The V-Class comes to the starting line with the state-of-the-art 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with two-stage turbo-charging, which has now been further enhanced specifically for the MPV. It is available in three power-output levels. The V 200 CDI develops 100 kW of power and a maximum torque of 330 Nm. The V 220 CDI generates 120 kW of power and 380 Nm, with a fuel consumption of just 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 149 grams per kilometre.
With a power output of 140 kW and powerful peak torque of 440 Nm, the top-of-the-line V 250 BlueTEC engine is as powerful and agile as the previous 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine. As a result, the flagship model develops 150 kW and maximum torque of a full 480 Nm. The V 250 BlueTEC accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in an impressive 9.1 seconds.
Even the entry-level V-Class features a comprehensive range of equipment as standard. Included are the Audio 20 USB with free-standing, seven-inch central display, piano lacquer-look trim, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons and sporty DIRECT SELECT selector lever with steering-wheel shift paddles in the case of automatic transmission, a steering column adjustable for height and tilt, luxury front seats with side bags, electric parking brake, and active arrest for the rear sliding door.
New Standard of Agility and Driving Pleasure
To enhance personal driving pleasure, the V-Class is the only vehicle in its segment to offer the AGILITY SELECT function in conjunction with an automatic transmission. At the push of a button, the driver can select from four driving modes: economical, comfortable, sporty and manual. Engine, accelerator and transmission response are then adapted accordingly.
Ground-breaking features in this category of vehicles include the AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective adjustment of the damping system to the road conditions and the latest generation of ADAPTIVE ESP®, featuring many assistance functions for optimum driving safety.
The touch pad is available in conjunction with equipment starting from the Audio 20 CD or optional COMAND Online. The touch pad is the most cutting-edge control and display concept in this vehicle class.
The latest generation of COMAND Online combines all audio, telephone and navigation functions and additionally offers an Internet browser, the LINGUATRONIC voice control system, and transmission of traffic data in real time. The optional Burmester® surround-sound system with 16 high-performance loudspeakers, including a bass reflex loudspeaker, delivers the perfect listening experience. It provides exceptional surround sound, and, in combination with COMAND Online, allows technically supported front-to-rear voice amplification. Where it is necessary to improve communication, a microphone in the overhead control panel transmits conversation between the driver and front passenger to the rear loudspeakers so that the passengers sitting further away can also hear them.
A New Dimension in Comfort
The V-Class also sets new standards in comfort and variability with a host of innovations. The Mercedes-Benz MPV is the only vehicle in the segment to offer optional, four-way lumbar support and active seat ventilation with reversing fans to ensure a consistent relative humidity at the contact area with the leather seat for driver and front passenger.
Also unique in this class of vehicles is the enhanced THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system, which is available as an option in addition to the standard-fit TEMPMATIC system. It has various ventilation modes to offer individual climate control. The FOCUS, MEDIUM and DIFFUSE climate modes have distinct settings for airflow and distribution. Passengers have the luxury of regulating the climate control in the rear of the vehicle as well.
In addition, the THERMOTRONIC system features automatic, pre-entry climate control at the touch of a button on the vehicle key, an integral demisting sensor, and distribution of cooled air to the driver and front-passenger sides, the intensity of which is automatically controlled by the position of the sun.
Numerous Seating and Loading Configurations
The seating in the rear allows numerous configurations to meet any requirements. As standard, the MPV can be equipped with four individual luxury seats with armrests in two seat rows. Other configurations include the six-, seven- and eight-seat layout. Thanks to improved technology and operating logic, they can be folded forward intuitively to afford fast and easy access to the rear. As an option, a folding table can be installed between the single seats.
Thanks to the optimised seat rails with quick-release system, very little effort is required to move the individual seats and benches or to position them in a number of different ways. They can all be removed as well to create a loading area tailored to specific needs at any time.
Separately Opening Rear Window and Second Loading Level
For easy loading and unloading, the V-Class features another first in this segment in the shape of the separately opening rear windscreen attached to the upper tailgate frame. It can be opened and closed independently of the tailgate. This makes loading and unloading easier in two respects: on the one hand, it allows a second loading level; on the other – particularly in tight parking spaces – there is no need to open the large tailgate. The corresponding load-compartment organiser is easy to install and remove. It can bear up to 50 kilograms and has two recesses, each of which holds a removable and collapsible shopping basket. In the V-Class AVANTGARDE, the separately opening rear windscreen, including load-compartment organiser, is a standard feature.
Another unique feature for the new V-Class is the tailgate. This is optionally available as an EASY-PACK tailgate, with convenient power opening and closing that can be stopped in any position.
As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the V-Class is introduced standard with the class-leading Mercedes-Benz Premium Drive 6-year/100 000-km maintenance contract with no customer contribution.
V 200 CDI Standard R695 981
V 220 CDI Standard R726 875
V 250 BlueTEC R782 416
V 220 CDI AVANTGARDE R949 175
V 250 BlueTEC AVANTGARDE R984 196
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class has set new benchmarks for the MPV segment and will be a great family shuttle or business transporter. The optional list is long and can easily add R200 000 to the price, making the vehicles expensive but still exclusive. The only things that bothered me were that the view to the back is very limited from the centre rear-view mirror while driving; the second possible complaint will be from mothers when the seats need to be turned around or shifted, as this must be done manually.
OUT OF OFFICE | CAR REVIEW
by Carl Wepener
* Prices as at date of publishing