A Look at the All-New Mercedes-Benz V-Class

Words John Clark | April 01, 2014
With the V-Class Mercedes-Benz is redefining the MPV
Words John Clark April 01, 2014

With the V-Class Mercedes-Benz is redefining the MPV. As the youngest and largest member of the passenger car family from Stuttgart, it sets new benchmarks in its segment with its design and a host of innovations. The new V-Class combines room for up to eight people and exemplary functionality with the high-class appeal, comfort, efficient driving pleasure and safety that distinguish automobiles bearing the three-pointed star. This makes the Mercedes among MPVs the perfect vehicle for everyone who appreciates great spaciousness but does not want to sacrifice style and comfort.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class

Mercedes-Benz V-Class

Whether off on a shopping spree or travelling with the whole family, heading out for a mountain bike holiday with friends in the Alps or driving prominent guests to a red carpet event – the new V-Class provides optimum flexibility when it comes to use of the interior and always cuts an elegant figure at the same time. With the two equipment lines V-Class and V-Class AVANTGARDE, an Exterior Sports package and an Interior Design package for each line, two wheelbases, three body lengths from 4895 to 5370 millimetres, three engines and also many optional extras, the new MPV can be individualised to suit any taste and requirement. As a result it meets a wide variety of customer needs and is just as attractive for families as it is for people who need a variable and spacious interior for their leisure and sports activities. In addition, it is ideally suited to use as a luxurious VIP or hotel shuttle.

“With the new V-Class we are expanding the Mercedes-Benz premium passenger car range with a saloon for up to eight people”, says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. “Functionality is a must for an MPV. Comfort and style are the icing on the cake. The new V-Class combines both in a way no other vehicle in this segment can offer.”

Emotional, dynamic appearance – size in a new guise

Even at first glance the V-Class is unmistakably a member of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car family and sets an emotional highlight in its segment. At the centre of the powerful front is the upright radiator grille with three-dimensional central star and the progressively designed headlamps, which for the first time in this segment offer all lighting functions in LED technology as an option. The sculptured V-shaped bonnet merges elegantly into the sporty chrome frame of the radiator grille and the headlamps. The lower air intakes and the radiator grille feature narrow louvres. In conjunction with the headlamps, which extend far into the wings, they emphasise the width of the vehicle and underscore the self-confident appearance of the new V-Class.

The clearly contoured side wall is structured by two elongated, taut lines. The interplay of concave and convex surfaces conveys a sculptural – and as such highly sensuous – character. Both lines smoothly continue the distinctive contour lines of the front bumper and rise slightly as they continue on towards the rear. The side view thus appears stretched, suggesting dynamism.

“The new V-Class demonstrates that an elegant and dynamic appearance is also possible in size XXL”, says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “The V-Class is a versatile, multitalented vehicle which offers value, efficiency and safety at the highest level. As a result we are addressing a completely new customer group – among them those who are in need of a generous amount of space but never wanted to drive an MPV because style, a sense of well-being and also ride comfort have so far been lacking in this segment.”

Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive – exemplary safety

A high level of driving comfort and an exemplary standard of safety are ensured by a total of eleven innovative driver assistance systems. They are based on state-of-the-art radar, camera and ultrasound sensors, which were introduced in the new E-Class and S-Class under the name “Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive”. Standard equipment includes Crosswind Assist, which helps the driver to stabilise the V-Class in strong, gusting crosswinds, and ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn of inattention and drowsiness. An available option is Active Parking Assist. It makes parking the new MPV as easy and convenient as parking a compact car.

Also optionally available are the 360° camera, DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, Traffic Sign Assist with wrong-way warning function, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, the LED Intelligent Light System and Adaptive Highbeam Assist. Most of these assistance systems are available in this segment for the first time.

The PRE-SAFE® system, familiar from the passenger car models, is available as an optional extra to further enhance safety. When an accident threatens, it initiates protective measures to ensure that the belts and airbags offer optimum protection during a collision.

Top efficiency: six-cylinder performance with four-cylinder fuel consumption

At market launch the new V-Class comes to the starting line with the state-of-the-art 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with two-stage turbocharging, which has already proven highly successful in many passenger car model series from the A-Class to the S-Class, and 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 (136 hp) and a maximum torque of 330 Newton metres. The V 220 CDI generates 120 kW (163 hp) and 380 Newton metres. This is an increase of 20 Newton metres in each case over the predecessor – but with fuel consumption down by around two litres. With fuel consumption of just 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 149 grams per kilometre, the V 220 CDI occupies an absolutely leading position in the segment.

With a power output of 140 kW (190 hp) and powerful peak torque of 440 Newton metres, the top-of-the-line V 250 BlueTEC engine has as much pulling power and agility as the previous 3-litre V6 turbodiesel engine. In the acceleration phases, an additional 10 kW and 40 Newton metres are available (“over-torque”). As a result, the flagship model develops 150 kW and maximum torque of a full 480 Newton metres. The V 250 BlueTEC accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in an impressive 9.1 seconds. At the same time, the top model provides an extremely smooth ride and interior noise has been reduced significantly – among other things by means of comprehensive insulation.

With significantly reduced fuel consumption from as low as 6.0 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres (157 g CO2/km) the four-cylinder turbodiesel requires 28 percent less fuel than the six-cylinder while maintaining the same standard of performance. Thanks to BlueTEC, the top-of-the-range model is also the first vehicle in the segment to comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard. The V 250 BlueTEC is equipped as standard with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission with DIRECT SELECT lever and DIRECT SELECT shift paddles. The convenient automatic transmission is available as an optional extra for the V 200 CDI and V 220 CDI models.

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 the 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 also 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 light and precise electromechanical power steering likewise contributes greatly to the well-balanced driving comfort in the new V-Class.

Leading the field in aerodynamics and noise comfort

Low drag is crucial to achieving outstanding efficiency. With a Cd figure of 0.31, the V-Class is the most aerodynamic vehicle in its segment. This outstanding figure is the result of intensive detailed improvement work – from modifications to the basic vehicle design to large areas of underbody panelling and aerodynamically optimised wheel arches and exterior mirrors. Other focuses of the aerodynamic development work were on reducing wind noise and keeping the windows and exterior mirrors largely free of soiling even in inclement weather – a major factor for perceptual safety.

The level of noise and perceptible vibrations has a major influence on the sense of wellbeing in an automobile. Experts use the term NVH for this: Noise Vibration Harshness. Throughout the development period, the engineers at Mercedes-Benz showed an almost forensic fervour in investigating every possible source of noise and vibrations, so as to eliminate these with specific measures. As a result, thanks to new component concepts and comprehensive insulation the V-Class offers its occupants the lowest noise level in the segment. The interior noise level has been almost halved compared to the preceding model.

Modern style and high-class appeal

The interior of the V-Class is a completely new MPV experience. And not only because it is pleasantly quiet. High-quality materials with a pleasant touch and feel and a harmonious colour concept, intricate details as well as a progressive and sensuous design idiom convey outstanding high-class appeal in the segment – and that hallmark “welcome home” feeling typical of Mercedes-Benz cars. Fine nappa leather is also available for the seats, steering wheel and shift lever. This inviting atmosphere is rounded off by subtle ambient lighting in three colours.

A particular eye-catcher is the dynamically styled two-part dashboard. The upper and lower sections are separated by a large, three-dimensional trim element that creates an impression of width and underscores the high-class appeal. The lower section is sculptural in design. This emphasises the generous sense of space while also exuding a tangible lightness. For the first time in this class, a leather-look cockpit upper section with lavishly finished topstitching is optionally available.

Other highlights include the free-standing central display, the multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons and DIRECT SELECT lever with steering wheel shift paddles for automatic models, as well as the innovative touchpad, which allows all telematics functions to be operated by means of gestures or by entering characters in the same way as on a smartphone. The touchpad is available in conjunction with equipment starting from the Audio 20 CD or COMAND Online. In addition the V-Class features the new “Mercedes-Benz Touch” app. For the first time in a Mercedes-Benz, this enables the COMAND Online infotainment system to be controlled from any seat via smartphone. Together, the app and touchpad form the key to 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 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 4-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 air flow and distribution. 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. Equally unique is the tunnel detection feature with self-activating air recirculation. The climate control system uses the map information from the navigation system and the GPS location data to close the air recirculation flap automatically when the vehicle enters a tunnel, subsequently re-opening it when the vehicle emerges from the tunnel.

Numerous seating and loading configurations

The seating in the rear allows numerous configurations to meet any requirements. As standard, the MPV is equipped with four individual luxury seats with armrests in two seat rows. 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.

As an alternative to the individual seats, a two-passenger bench seat with two-piece, individually folding backrest, or a three-passenger bench seat with two-piece seat cushion and three-piece backrest is available for both rear rows. The outer right-hand seat of the three-seater bench can be folded forward or taken out separately. The entire bench can be folded forward to create space for large items, such as sports equipment or newly purchased furniture. For overnight accommodation in the V-Class, the rearmost row can also be equipped with a three-passenger bench seat as a comfort berth. Drawers are located underneath the berth, which can also be used as a second loading level. Cargo can also be stowed under all other bench seats. Moreover, like the individual seats, all bench seats are fitted with integral three-point seat belts.

Thanks to the optimised seat rails with quick-release system, very little effort is required to move the individual seats and benches fore and aft or to position them as vis-à-vis seats. 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 USP for the new V-Class: the tailgate is optionally available as an EASY-PACK tailgate, with convenient power opening and closing that can be stopped in any position. As a result even lightly built people have no difficulty in closing the tailgate.

Standard equipment: extensive and with stylish details

The new Mercedes-Benz MPV occupies the leading position in its segment thanks to its sporty character and comfortable appointments. Even the basic V-Class version features a comprehensive scope of equipment as standard. It includes the Audio 20 USB with free-standing 7-inch central display, piano-lacquer-look trim, 3-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 thorax/pelvis sidebags, electric parking brake and active arrest for the rear sliding door.

The V-Class AVANTGARDE design and equipment line features additional highlights as standard, such as leather seats, a leather steering wheel, ambient lighting, wood-look trim (also in the rear), LED High Performance headlamps with Intelligent Light System, separately opening rear window with second loading level, an additional sliding door on the left, laminated glass windows for additional noise reduction, and the AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system for even better agility and ride comfort.

At market launch in late May 2014, the new V-Class will be available as a long-wheelbase model with a length of 5140 millimetres and a wheelbase of 3200 millimetres. It will be available to order from all authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers from 6 March 2014. The available models are the V 200 CDI from 42,900 euros, the V 220 CDI from 43,911 euros and the V 250 BlueTEC from 49,183 euros (prices in Germany, in each case incl. 19% VAT). As such, the attractive price positioning within the segment which already characterised the preceding models has been maintained – despite the new design, new technologies and significantly enhanced range of equipment. The compact version and the version with extra-long wheelbase will follow at a later date.

Exclusive model at launch: V-Class Edition 1

Like every new Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series, the V-Class will also start out with a limited Edition 1. The distinguishing features of the 140 kW (190 hp) special model with 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission include sports suspension or optionally AGILITY CONTROL suspension with selective damping system, 19-inch 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, tinted glass in the rear compartment, marron nappa leather seats, a leather-look dashboard with contrasting topstitching, and dark anthracite ebony wood-look trim. Ensuring utmost comfort are the active seat ventilation for driver and front passenger, THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control plus separate TEMPMATIC semi-automatic air conditioning in the rear, COMAND Online, the Burmester® surround sound system, electric sliding doors on the right and left, the electric EASY-PACK tailgate with separately opening rear window and the Parking package with 360° camera. COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and the PRE-SAFE® system offer exemplary safety. The V-Class Edition 1 will be available in Germany from 67,378 euros incl. VAT.