At the International Exhibition for Caravanning, Motoring and Tourism (CMT) 2016, Mercedes-Benz Vans is presenting a range of new features to enhance the appeal of their popular vehicles for further target groups. From spring 2016, the new AMG Line for the V-Class will also be available for the Marco Polo. The striking AMG bodystyling with redesigned front and rear aprons, 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and expressive spoiler lip brings a hitherto unknown element of sporty design to the compact camper van segment. The Marco Polo AMG Line can be ordered from February. Another novelty: the Marco Polo is available with customised ex-factory solutions for people with restricted mobility. These solutions range from a knob for turning the steering wheel and hand-control units for accelerating and braking through to the relocation of the accelerator pedal. Mercedes-Benz Vans is also continuing to extend its efforts in the market for individual camper van bodies. The rear-opening SCA pop-up roof is now available for both the V-Class and Vito. It opens up new opportunities for converters and bodybuilders to create individualised layouts.
“The new features allow us to set individual highlights and reach out to further target groups”, according to Jochen Dimter, Head of Sales Mercedes-Benz Vans Germany. “The new Marco Polo was successfully launched last year and has significantly exceeded our expectations. The same is also true of the V-Class and Vito, which continue to grow in popularity as base vehicles for individual conversions and bodies. Over the course of 2015 a further twelve conversion and bodybuilder companies around the world have opted to use the V-Class or Vito – the presence of our midsize vans in the camper van market has never been as varied or as international in scope as it is today.”
The new Marco Polo AMG Line – sporty and individual
The Marco Polo AMG Line exudes sportiness and dynamism at first sight. The expressive bodystyling elements of the performance and sports car brand Mercedes-AMG reinforce the progressive design of the compact camper van. The front apron with its prominent air inlets, diamond-pattern mesh and chrome trim, the expressive spoiler lip and the diffuser-look rear apron emphasise the muscular character of the Marco Polo. 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a seven-twin-spoke design round off the sporty appearance. The Marco Polo AMG Line – just as the V-Class AMG Line – furthermore features a 17-inch braking system, brake callipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering and a sports suspension lowered by 15 millimetres with a taut spring and damper setup. The AGILITY CONTROL suspension with frequency-dependent variable damping is available as an option.
The interior, too, reveals signature AMG traits. These include air vents in silver chrome, brushed aluminium sports pedals and carbon-fibre-look trim. The AMG Line is available for all three engine variants (100 kW/136 hp, 120 kW/163 hp and 140 kW/190 hp) as well as for the 4MATIC variants of the Marco Polo.
In addition, the first six months of 2016 will bring a range of further new features that add extra individual flair and enhance the already high-class appeal of the Marco Polo even more. The removable awning, for instance, will in future also be available in anthracite, while the cockpit can be fitted as an option with the ambient lighting feature already familiar from the V-Class. The subtle LED illumination can be dimmed in five stages and, with three different colour tones, allows the setting of an individual lighting mood: neutral (white), solar (amber) and polar (ice blue).
Customized driving and mobility aids for the Marco Polo available for the first time ex factory
For the first time, Mercedes-Benz offers a comprehensive range of driving and mobility aids for the Marco Polo ex factory. These make the popular camper van the ideal vehicle for people with physical handicaps or age-related restrictions. The installation of these driving and mobility aids is undertaken at the Car Modification Center within the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. They are also available for the V-Class.
Various solutions are offered to accommodate operation of the steering, accelerator and brake pedal. A rotating knob on the left or right-hand side of the steering wheel, for instance, allows steering with one hand. Further control devices enable one-handed acceleration or braking. With the “Classic” model, turning the knob accelerates the vehicle, pushing it forward applies the brakes. With the “Easy Speed” hand control unit, the same effect is obtained by pulling and pushing the lever. The conventional accelerator and brake pedals remain usable for drivers without limitations. If need be a pedal cover is available in conjunction with the hand control unit to prevent unintentional operation of the pedals. Another option: upon request the control stalk and cruise control stalk can be operated from the right-hand side of the steering wheel, by means of additional levers.
Also available is the ergonomically shaped “MFD Touch” multifunction knob. This is fitted to the left or right-hand side of the steering wheel and serves as a steering wheel turning knob with additional radio remote control for low beam, high beam, indicators, horn and windscreen wipers. All functions can be performed with one hand, without the driver needing to let go of the steering wheel. At the CMT Mercedes-Benz is presenting a Marco Polo with the “Easy Speed” hand control unit for the accelerator and brakes, an accelerator pedal relocated to the left and a pedal cover.
More extensive modifications to meet individual customer requirements are undertaken by specialist companies that are affiliated to Mercedes-Benz Vans through the so called VanPartner programme (www.vanpartner.com). “VanPartner by Mercedes-Benz” is an international platform established by Mercedes-Benz for a wide variety of van body solutions. The participants in this programme are body manufacturers who meet the high quality requirements of Mercedes-Benz Vans and are correspondingly certified.
Exemplary safety with the TÜV test mark “certified occupant protection”
The Marco Polo succeeds in fusing maximum functionality with aesthetic appeal, style and safety. The compact Mercedes-Benz camper van offers its occupants a standard of protection which goes beyond the statutory requirements for passenger cars – as attested by the test mark “certified occupant protection” awarded by the TÜV Rheinland technical inspection organisation. The Marco Polo is the first camper van to have proved in a crash test, over and beyond the conventional testing regime, how well the occupants are protected from the vehicle’s load as well as the stability of the vehicle’s fitted furniture in the event of an accident. In a collision at a speed of 56 km/h, the vehicle structure absorbed all the forces generated without any particular deformation in the interior. All the built-in units remained intact and the furniture doors closed, so ensuring that no pots, pans or other items fell out. As well as a kitchen area with a sink, double-burner gas stove, refrigerator box, drawers and a cupboard, the Marco Polo is furnished with a wardrobe, swivelling front seats, a folding table, an adjustable bench seat/bed and a bed in the roof.
The active safety of the Marco Polo is similarly exemplary, the aim being to prevent accidents. The compact camper van comes as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn of inattention and fatigue, as well as Crosswind Assist. Further driver assistance systems are available as options – for example COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, Lane Keeping Assist or Active Parking Assist, with which parking the camper van is as straightforward and easy as with a compact car.
Marco Polo experts with specially trained sales staff in selected dealerships
In order to ensure that its customers receive the most detailed and expert advice in relation to its camper vans, Mercedes-Benz is now able to offer the services of Marco Polo experts, as they are known. These are distribution partners within the Mercedes-Benz Vans network specialising in offering support to customers who consider buying a Marco Polo. The sales staff has received specific training with respect to recreational vehicles and camper vans. Mercedes-Benz is thus able to cater better than ever to the very individual needs of camper van customers and to meet their high expectations. As well as having trained sales staff, these selected commercial vehicle dealers have a Marco Polo in their showrooms for demonstration purposes and are able to provide vehicles for test drives. Since January 2016, customers in Germany have been able to call upon 56 dealerships as Marco Polo experts. All specialist distribution partners are marked out as Marco Polo experts on the Mercedes-Benz website (www.mercedes-benz.de/marco-polo-experten).
Marco Polo once again wins reader’s choice award as “Compact Camper Van of the Year”
The popularity of the Marco Polo is also reflected in the outcome of the annual reader’s poll conducted by the German trade journal “promobil”. For the second time in a row, the magazine’s readers put the Marco Polo in first place in the “Compact Camper Van” category with 34 percent of the vote, so bestowing it the title “Compact Camper Van of the Year 2016”. The award ceremony will take place on 16 January 2016 during the CMT in Stuttgart.
New rear-opening SCA pop-up roof for V-Class and Vito
With the front-opening SCA 152 pop-up roof from C.F. Maier the V-Class and Vito were successfully introduced as base vehicles into the market for individual camper van conversions and bodies last year. A rear-opening version of this convenient pop-up roof is now also available with immediate effect, so extending the options for individual layouts for the V-Class and Vito.
The new rear-opening pop-up roof, with the designation SCA 153, is on offer for the V-Class and Vito models with a length of 5.14 metres. It is made up of a glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP) shell and rigid foam insulation. The inside is lined in addition with a cosy crushed velour fabric. This combination of materials is both light in weight and rigid and it ensures optimum heat and noise insulation. A bed with a surface area of 2.00 x 1.15 metres is installed as standard under the roof shell. The high scissor mechanism ensures plenty of legroom. If the bed is not in use while the roof is open, it can also be folded upwards with the help of two gas-filled struts. This function allows for a spacious interior with good headroom. The high-quality fabric roof bellows has three semicircular windows, each fitted with a double zip fastener. A useful folding mechanism with sewn-in plastic rods automatically retracts the fabric bellows when the pop-up roof is closed. This prevents it from becoming trapped between the vehicle body and the roof.
With its flat contours the pop-up roof blends perfectly into the silhouette of the V-Class and Vito. A roof spoiler – also of GFRP – above the windscreen ensures an optimum visual appearance with good aerodynamics. The roof is painted in arctic white as standard. A paint finish in the vehicle colour is possible on request. The roof is raised by a scissor mechanism at the front and a gas-filled strut to either side. The completely preassembled pop-up roof makes it easier for camper van bodybuilders to adapt it to the base vehicle.
Sprinter doubles sales in the European camper van market
The Sprinter, too, successfully extends its presence in the camper van market. Already the number-one model for comfortable, luxury-class motorhomes, it continues to grow in popularity as the base vehicle for partially and fully integrated camper vans. Its great versatility, high efficiency and exemplary safety, in particular, make it an increasingly attractive option for camper van manufacturers. The Sprinter, for example, is the only van that even as a base vehicle for camper vans is equipped with Crosswind Assist as standard. Sales of this popular van in the European camper van market doubled last year. The Sprinter is proving similarly successful in the US camper van market. A third of all Sprinter sold in the US are converted to campers. All in all, 30 conversion and bodybuilding companies around the world rely on the Sprinter.