When we received an invitation to experience the all new Mercedes V-Class, our first thoughts were, why? The V-Class isn’t a car that fits into our usual GTspirit portfolio. We weren’t sure if you would even want to read about it. In the end though, the V-Class promises a luxury feel so we challenged ourself to find out – does it fit into the GTspirit concept?
The V-Class is the successor of the production series 639 – Viano and Vito. The Viano has been in production since 2003 and has always followed behind the more successful Volkswagon T5 Multivan. Of course we also wanted to find out if the latest generation V-Class can change that.
The V-Class comes with three different diesel engines. The 200 CDI, 220 CDI and the 250 BlueTEC which was the engine we had in our test car. All three engines have the same base, a 2143 cm³ four-cylinder unit with two-stage turbochargers. The 200 CDI is the slowest. With 136 bhp it feels underpowered. It uses even more fuel than the others and creates more co2 than the 220 CDI with its 163 bhp. The 250 BlueTEC creates 190 bhp at 440 NM.
V-Class fuel economy is said to be between 5,7 and 6,0 l / 100 km. Mercedes claims six-cylinder power in a four-cylinder package. Six cylinder engines aren’t planned to be offered though. During Acceleration, the 250 BlueTEC offers “Overtorque” technology, which means an additional 14 bhp and 40 Nm for a short period. Its sprint to 100kph takes 9,1 seconds and top speed is 206 kph. Not the sort of data that makes us excited.
The Mercedes-Benz V 200 CDI and V 220 CDI come with a 6 speed manual gearbox. A 7G-Tronic Plus automatic gearbox with Drive Select is available as an option for the 200 and 220 whereas, the 250 comes with it as standard. The automatic gearbox helps to achieve a better fuel economy and creates a smooth driving experience. Cars with automatic gearbox also have the Agility Select knob. Mercedes presents it like it is a world premiere, but all it does is to switch between the four gearbox/engine modes economy, cruise, sport and manual.
The V-class offers three suspension modes. The stock comfort mode, the optional sport suspension and the Agility Control suspension. The sport suspension is 15 mm lower and has frequency selected damping, which offers better handling through the bends but also enough comfort on long autobahn drives.
The Agility Control suspension with selective damping accommodates itself to the quality of the street by selective adjustment of damping and stability.
The new Mercedes-Benz V-Class comes with a lot technology! Multimedia systems, touch control and a lot safety features are offered. The V-Class has an optional 7 inch display and multimedia functions are controlled via the new touch pad system – the same stylish system which premiere in the new C-Class.
With the Comand Online navigation system, the V-class offers all the advantages of the luxury Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Internet browser, internal 80 gigabyte hard disc, live traffic, Wireless internet hot spot, smartphone connection and TV tuner.
For Mercedes it was very important to provide a raft of safety features. The various features make it by far the safest car in its segment. The Attention Assistant warns if the driving style shows typical signs of a lack of concentration. The Collision Prevention Assistant scans the distance to the vehicle in front and sounds an alarm if the space is too close. Together with Distronic Plus, the car brakes and accelerates automatically on cruise control.
Every V-Class has the Crosswind Assistant, which is a useful helper for the big car. We also recommend the 360° camera, it is very helpful when it comes to parking the long V-class. Of course other known assistants like Pre Safe or LED Intelligent Light System are offered too.
The dashboard of the new V-Class is just absolutely stunning. What you see is what you would normally expect on a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or S-Class, but not on an mpv minivan! A fluent design makes the dashboard look as though it is constructed from one single piece. Exquisite controls for climate, seats and media are carried across from the brand new C-Class.
Ergonomically placed is the control unit for the settings. With the touch pad the V-Class provides modern navigation handling. The Seats are comfortable enough for cruising. In the rear seats, passengers get a lot of leg and headspace for comfortable travelling on long journeys. There is plenty of quality, the finest leather and materials are alls available.
For the passengers several options can be chosen, for example two or three seats in a row, business table and iPad mount. The trunk offers two floors to gain more usable storage space. To gain easy access on the superior trunk, you can order a function to open the rear window without opening the whole tailgate. For those that prefer excellent acoustics we recommend the Burmester sound system with its 15 speakers.
Designing a minivan is difficult. You can’t fully dispense of the boxy image otherwise you lose the practicality. Mercedes-Benz have tried their hardest with this latest generation V-Class. It gets a modern front together with headlights which offer full-LED technology with the new Mercedes designed daylight.
Three versions are available which differ in length. The options are: 4,89 meters, 5,14 meters (which was our test car) and 5,37 meters for the longest one.
We travelled to Hamburg in Germany to receive the keys of a silver V 250 BlueTEC Avantgarde with black lugano leather. Together with other journalist we travelled around 500 kilometers in two days. Mercedes wanted us to experience the travel comfort of the new V-Class along with the various other advantages.
We started our tour on the German autobahn with heavy rain, cruising at a comfortable 160 km/h to our first destination. The car accelerates in line with most other autobahn traffic and 160 km/h felt like a good cruising speed. The wind noise is soft and not at all invasive. The electronic steering feels cosy and adapt itself to the driving speed, which is very helpful at lower speeds and when parking.
Top speed is said to be 206 km/h which we almost reached. Acceleration above 160 km/h feels a lot slower slow, probably down to the inherent challenges of drag and aerodynamic limitations. The car starts to feel more and more unstable as the speeds surpass 160 km/h.
The first checkpoint was Sankt Peter-Ording on the North Sea coast where we had the pleasure of driving the V-Class on the beach! Soon we were onto our second checkpoint, which was the isle of Sylt. Here we got to experience the V-Class under windy conditions. We didn’t feel the Crosswind Assistant intervene with our steering but neither did we feel the need to correct steering manually. So it actually seemed to work very well.
Sylt didn’t seem to approve of the V-Class an provided us with bad weather and fog. This was a little unfortunate, because we wanted to use the wonderful island for some nice photo locations. Our co-driver Mike from www.trendlupe.de tried as hard as he could to get at least a few photos of our car in various locations.
On the second day we drove all the way back from Sylt to Hamburg. The V-Class drives more like a passenger car than a big minivan although you do need to remember what it actually is. On corners travelling down country roads it could of course perform better, back at the autobahn we cruise again at 160 to 180 km/h. We miss a V6 diesel engine with a better torque feeling, better diesel sound and better acceleration at higher speeds. But sadly Mercedes has no plans for a V6 powered V-class.
The V-class is a true Mercedes-Benz! With all the available safety and multimedia options plus the superb designed dashboard it is way ahead of its competitors. It performs perfectly as a city business shuttle and also excels as a family car. The only big negative point we found to its family car credentials is the lack of rotatable seats in the back. You have to remove the seat and put it back in the rotated direction. It is a function that Volkswagen offer with the T5 Multivan. But all in all it’s a great car and definitely the star in its segment. It would become a GTspirit worthy car if somebody was to put a bigger engine into it – perhaps as GTspirit crew car!