The V- Class fills a unique niche, as it is an S-Class of the vans. Review of the strongest version Mercedes V 250 BlueTec, with 190 HPin long version.
Mercedes V-Class is found in the cars section of the Mercedes catalog. It is a clear statement that the new V-Class has other targets and comfort standards, as it is completely different from the cargo and passenger version of Vito van.
For the test, we had at hand the strongest V 250 BlueTec version, standardly available with a 7-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, in the long version and the Edition 1 top equipment line.
This provides 190 HP an 440 Nm out of the well-known 2,1-liter biturbo diesel engine, an overboost function delivering extra 14 HP and 40 Nm in a short run, meaning almost as much as the same engine has in the C 250 BlueTec (204 HP and 500 Nm). It is very likely that this engine will stay the strongest, because Mercedes will gradually give away the V6 engines, favoring the straight-six ones and these do not fit under the hood of the V-Class in a longitudinal layout.
The extra long version and the short version are available as well as an all-wheel drive for the V 250 BlueTec (3,927 euro extra).
- High-class comfort
- Mercedes saloon worthy road holding
- Luxurious interior set up for the Edition 1
- Skillful 4-cylinder engine
- Very good modularity
MAX vs MIN
- Unrefined and relatively noisy engine
- Expensive options
- High driving position
- Heavy seats
If by the Viano, Mercedes offered a luxurious and comfortable passenger transporter, the new V-Class has the demands of a limousine. From this point of view, the V-Class can cover also the seat left empty by the ill-fated R-Class, a groundbreaking model the market never truly understood.
Looked at from the front, the new V-Class absorbs the main language design features of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range, as the front part is similar to that of the C-Class or even of the S-Class. But not only the looks are the ones trustifying the V-Class in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car line.
Beyond the engine, which can be found in many Mercedes models, set up in a longitudinal or transverse mounting, I believe that the greatest achievement of the Mercedes engineers is the drive train.
The Edition 1 model tested by us carried the sports suspension and 19-inch wheels, shod with 245/45 R 19 tires, which provided a very good compromise between comfort and road holding. Actually, this 1.880 mm high “bus”, as long as an S-Class, with a 2.145 kg kerbweight and able to carry a 905 kg payload, is extremely easy and pleasant to drive and the bodyroll on bends is low. Not for a single moment should you feel that you are seated behind the wheel of a highly barycentered car, even if the electrical steering does not have the natural feedback of a classical hydraulic steering.
Surprising as can be, the sports suspension and the large wheels with sporty tyres do not touch the comfort. The firm suspension permissevely takes in the short bumps and does not jolt the passengers. Mercedes optionally offers the Agility Control adaptive drive train, a premiere in this class, which adjusts not only the gearbox, engine and steering feedback, but also the setup of the suspension.
Mercedes states that the biturbo 4-cylinder engine has a dynamical performance worthy of a V6 and a fuel consumption similar to one with 4 cylinders. The statement is 100% true, because the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h happens in exactly 9,1 seconds, the same as the former Viano CDI 3.0, and the 206 km/h maximum speed is by 5 km/h higher than that of the Viano. Also the fuel consumption is much lower than that of the former Viano: 6,0 l/100 km apart from the 8,4 l/100 km in the former V6. But in reality, the 6,0 l/100 km figures are just utopian, because there is no way you can get a fuel consumption lower than 8,5 l/100 km, no matter how cautious you drive.
What Mercedes does not mention in the press kit is that there is a refinement difference between the former V6 and the current 4-cylinder one. The current 4-cylinder engine is quite noisy in vigorous accelerations and does not have the refinement of the V6. In cruising speed, not much is heard, but in accelerations, its diesel origin is obvious.
For the 4-cylinder diesel being quite noisy, the very silent rest of the car goes a long way, so the engine noise takes the foreground. With a cursive lines profile, Mercedes rightsized the aerodynamics, as the Cd value is of only 0,31, an exceptional figure for the segment, and the wind noise is low despite the large front area. For the V 250 BlueTec, the engine is standardly mated with the 7-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission, that suffers from the same shorts we’ve come across in the Mercedes saloons. It shifts smoothly, but it delays when you want to overtake and it is reluctant in downshifting.
The V-Class comes with a 6-seat standard configuration, as the ones in the second and third row can be repositioned in any way along the sliding rails. Covered up in Nappa leather and fitted with armrests in the Edition 1 top equipment line, all passengers benefit from the first class comfort.
Unfortunately, the repositioning of the seats around the car and especially the 180-degree spin of the ones in the second row to shape a mobile conference hall, is a back-breaker, because they are very heavy. Mercedes has mitigating circumstances meaning that these seats have integrated safety belts and provide all the typical comfort of the Mercedes saloons seats. The optional folding table for the rear seats is also hard to handle, as it needs two people to move it, because of the two blocking devices it features at its base. You can optionally order three seats benches in the second and third row and even a bed package, which includes a 3-seat bench, turning into a comfortable bed, plus an individual seat in the third row.
The long version is probably the best transportation solution, because at the back of the three seats rows, there is still enough space for luggage. In addition to that, the access to luggage and the setup of the boot benefits from two useful innovations:
- The rear windscreen can be open independently from the tailgate and the boot benefits from a suplimentary shelf that can bear up to 50 kg, placed half way up in the trunk, accommodating two folding baskets, very useful in shopping (as standard in the Edition 1).
- The electrical tailgate can be set in any position you may want (optional).
The driving position is relatively high and for a long distance drive, we would have desired a somewhat lower position, as in the VW Multivan. Alternatively, the large well configured front seats, ventilated (standard for the Edition 1) and electrically adjustable memory function, are very comfortable.
The dashboard has nothing to do with any Mercedes van, as it is inspired from the C-Class. Just like in the C-Class, the 7-inch display seems set up after market, but, beyond this purely subjective impression, surfing the menu is relatively simple, as the touchpad and the touch screen come in hand. Especially for the Edition 1, the two sliding doors are electrically controlled by two buttons in the dashboard or two buttons placed in the door frame, making the access inside easy. Also standard at Edition 1, an extra heating system is offered, very useful for such a large interior space car. But for the Comand Online unit (2,654 euro), the Thermotronic climate control (568 euros), the adaptive cruise control (812 euros) and electrically adjustable and memory front seats (1.951 euros), the Burmester audio system (922 euros) and the LED headlights (1,844 euros) can be optionally purchased, so the Edition 1 price, 59,560 euros, comes close to 65,000 euros. But if we see the bright side of it, it is still cheaper than a similarly equipped S-Class.
Foto: Ovidiu Tăbăcaru