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Mercedes-Benz V-Class

Motoring Review

MERCEDES-BENZ has launched a new people-mover… the V-Class. The new V-Class is the youngest and largest member of the passenger-car family from the Mercedes-Benz stable.

Not just a fancy van

The vehicle sets new benchmarks in its segment with its design, as well as a host of innovations and unashamedly presents itself as a member of the Mercedes-Benz passenger-car family and embodies the brand-distinguishing design philosophy.

The front-end design stresses the affinity to the Mercedes-Benz saloons and strengthens the brand identity of the V-Class. The upright radiator grille and the progressive headlamp design are its dominant features. The new V-Class also combines room for up to eight people and exemplary functionality with high-class appeal, comfort, efficient driving pleasure and safety.

Work and play

The new V-Class provides optimum flexibility when it comes to the interior. There are two equipment lines, namely: the V-Class and the V-Class Avantgarde, which offer different seating configurations. For instance, the Avantgarde model that I drove had an office-style seating setup. The second row of seats can rotate so that they face the rear. A small table rises from the centre console, which is able to accommodate laptops, files, blueprints and even lunch! It's great for people who need to work on the move. Actually, it's just great - full stop! You could play Monopoly with the family while driving to your holiday destination - provided you have a driver.

Will a driver want to drive it, though?

Yes, I'm sure you won't have any difficulty sourcing a willing chauffeur for the V-Class. The interior provides an inviting feel-good ambience and follows the new design idiom, which embodies sensuous clarity. High-quality materials can be found throughout the cabin and the warm and cool colour tones convey a sense of harmony and serve to underline its high-class feel.

The driver will also be entertained thanks to the tech offered. As with many new Mercedes-Benz vehicles the V-Class also benefits from the central touch-pad interface controller. A tablet-like colour screen is mounted to the raised dashboard and displays media, navigation and vehicle information.

What about the engines, are they any good?

Mercedes-Benz is offering a host of its proven four-cylinder diesel engines for the V-Class. The entry level V200 develops 100kW and 330Nm of torque. There’s plenty of low down grunt and it wasn't as lazy as I thought it would be. There are two specifications of the V220 model: a Standardand an Avantgarde variant. Expect the V220 to develop 120kW and 380Nm.

I got to sample the range-topping V250 BlueTec Avantgarde model. Sure, it carries a larger price tag, but it develops 140kW and a more than sufficient 440Nm. It features the fancy seating setup and with the exterior trim options added, it looks really good.

Final thoughts

It drives nicely and sure is built for a long trip. Look, at the end of the day, it's a van, a veryluxurious, well-built van but a van, nevertheless. I most definitely see the appeal for a vehicle like this within the corporate segment. A luxury hotel looking for a vehicle to transport VIP guests couldn't get better.

As for a family car… well, it is practical and it makes sense but would a South African walk past an ML or GL SUV for one of these? Most wouldn't. Those who do, however, will experience a whole new world of possibilities.

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