Mercedes has taken the wraps of its latest eight-seat MPV – the all-new V-Class –at a special event in Munich, Germany. The company claims that it will bring new levels of luxury, technology and safety kit into this value-driven segment.
The V-Class is essentially a replacement for the Viano, but it has been designed to move away from its roots as a commercial vehicle and repositioned within the brand’s passenger car range, alongside the C-Class and S-Class.
It shares around 20 per cent of its chassis components with the Viano, and from the outside it keeps the same boxy silhouette, but designer Gordon Wagener told Auto Express: “The idea was to move it away from the one-box design, which to me is outdated, and comes from the late nineties.”
The biggest styling changes are at the front, where the V-Class uses the same full LED ‘Intelligent’ light system as the S-Class, and entire front-end has a smoother, more car-like appearance. At the back, the tall, narrow lights look more Peugeot than Mercedes but Wagener said they are designed to keep the boot space intact.
“Good design cannot ignore functionality. We could have made the lights bigger, more three-dimensional, but if it compromised functionality the design has failed.
Inside, the cabin has been totally transformed, with the same floating dash as the new C-Class, with a tablet-style central display, that it controlled by a touch pad, which uses gesture controls to pinch and zoom like a smartphone.
The rear compartment comes with the option of four plush seats that face each other, or two forward-facing three-seat benches, depending on your needs. The seats themselves are quite heavy, but moving them around the cabin has become a lot easier – with simpler levers and a smoother sliding action.
Practicality is still paramount, so there is space for full-size adults in every single row of seats. The boot has also been cleverly designed so you can either open the small glass tailgate, placing small items onto a mounted shelf that can carry up to 50kgs of weight, or open the whole thing to store bigger items of luggage.
In the UK we’ll get two different engines to choose from, the V 220 CDI and the V 250 BlueTEC. The latter is a replacement for the old 3.0-litre V6, and produces an identical 187bhp and 440Nm of torque, but also emits up to 28 per cent less CO2.
In fact, the V250 will be the first eight-seater MPV to meet the stringent Euro 6 emissions regulations, and comes fitted with a 7G-tronic automatic gearbox and shift-paddles as standard. Adaptive dampers are fitted as standard to all versions and automatic cars also get a system called ‘Agility Select’ with four different driving modes that alter engine, throttle and gearbox response to suit the driver.
Customers will be able to chose between either a long or extra long wheelbase, and one of the engineers we spoke to said Mercedes was considering building a V-Class using the diesel-hybrid engine from the E300 BlueTec to drop the CO2 emissions even lower than the 149g/km of the cleanest V220 CDI manual car.
Only one trim level will be available when the V-Class goes on sale in March next year, with the option of either an interior or exterior design package, and safety kit like lane keep assist, radar-guided cruise control, blind-spot assist and 360º parking cameras are all optionally available too. In Germany the prices start at around £35,000 – but no official UK prices have been released at this stage.
The V-Class will be built alongside the all-new Vito – which is due to be launched at the end of this year – at the brand’s plant in Vitoria, northern Spain. The plant has recently been given a €190m investment to improve the quality and finish of both of these new cars.