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Date: 06 Nov 2017 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
When Mercedes Benz launched their all new V Class range last year, it brought a fresh new concept in to the luxury MPV - multi-purpose vehicle – and set new benchmarks in its segment with its design and host of innovations. Like the Viano it replaces, the new V-Class is based on Mercedes-Benz’s volume-selling commercial van, the Vito, however, in its bid to appeal to buyers of not only the previous Viano it takes a dramatic step upmarket. The derivative featured today is the V250 BlueTec Avantgarde.

The press vehicle was fitted with sporty 8-spoke alloy wheels wrapped in very low profile 245/45R19 Conti radials, twin aluminum roof rails and a rear wash/wipe system for the tailgate glass. The V-class 250d Avantgarde comes standard with seven seats; two up front, two in the middle and three across the back. You can opt for more elbow room and six seats exchanging that third row for two individual seats with arm rests or maximum carrying capacity of eight replacing those two single middle seats with another set of three. The interior is enormous and there’s a lot of space for oddments, and even with all seats up, luggage space is plentiful. Getting in and out of the V-Class is effortless as the side doors open and closes electrically, as does the large rear tailgate.

The new "Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive" delivers a high level of driving comfort and safety based on state-of-the-art radar, camera and ultrasound sensors. Standard equipment includes; Crosswind Assist, which helps to stabilize the V-Class in strong crosswinds, Attention Parking Assist, which makes parking of the new MPV as easy and convenient as parking a compact car. On the options list are a 360° camera, Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control with Collision Prevention Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and the LED Intelligent Light System, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, and the PRE-SAFE® system, plus other features such as 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.

Other safety features include six airbags, ESP stability control, ASR traction control, vented disc brakes up front and solid discs at the rear, with ABS, fog-lights, daytime running lights, Hill Start Assist, automatic wipers, auto-dimming mirrors and tyre pressure monitoring.

The interior of the V-Class is a completely new MPV experience with the nicely padded dash and the liberal use of matte metal finishes that liven what is already a stylish and functional presentation. The door-mounted seat adjusters and the large color touch-screen is a feature of the upper dash. The finishes are excellent, with leather trim throughout and the vision from the driver’s seat is very good for the most part, though the rear head restraints can eat in to rear-view mirror vision. The V-250d comes with the Burmester surround sound system and free-standing 7-inch central display, piano-lacquer-look trim, and 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons and sporty Direct Select selector lever with steering wheel shift paddles, a steering column adjustable for height and tilt, luxury front seats with side-bags, electric parking brake and active arrest for the rear sliding door.

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. V-Class 250d Avantgarde automatic is powered by Mercedes new 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with two-stage turbo-charging, specifically prepared for the MPV. It develops 140 kW of power at 3 800 rpm and of 440 Nm of torque from 1 400 rpm and drives the rear wheels through Mercedes 7G- Tronic 7-speed automatic transmission.

The V-250d is far more potent than you’d expect for a large MPV. In performance tests, with the Auto in drive mode, floor the accelerator and with a slight “chirp” from the rear tyres it pulls smartly away, changes up at the 4 200 rpm red line, and gets to the 100 km/h mark in 9.3 seconds after three smooth gear changes. It goes on to a top speed of 206 km/h.Mercedes claim a fuel consumption of 7.1 lt/100 km but over the week I had the “V”, the best I got was 10.8 lit/100 km. The tank holds 75 litres.

On the road, the V250 drives very much like a car. The steering is light and quick to react too, which makes for easy urban driving, and the mirrors allow you to make sure you’re not going to bash into parking pylons or the like, and it never feels cumbersome to drive. On the freeways with the automatic in comfort mode, the V250 travels comfortably at the 120 km/h limit with the motor turning a low 2 300 rpm or when pressed, it hits the 160 km mark at just on 3 200 rpm. When overtaking at a speed on the freeway, throttle response feels a bit low in Comfort mode, but select S for Sport mode, and the gears are held longer before an up-shift, which makes the overtake much easier. However when the road starts to twist and turn, there’s no escaping the V250’s commercial roots, yet despite its sheer size, the suspension soaks up bumps and lumps with ease, and there’s a great level of stability to the vehicle at high speeds, even in side winds – which is rare for a slab-sided van. If you drive at a reduced speed, it also manages to swallow mid-sized potholes and speed humps without any problems.

While the V250 can be hustled with surprising swiftness, its forte is accommodating up to eight people and their luggage in comfort and luxury. There is some tyre roar over rougher surfaces, but the cabin is still quiet enough to let you enjoy the excellent 640-Watt, 16-speaker Burmester surround sound system on the move.

From the few days I spent with the Mercedes Benz V-Class 250d Avantgarde Automatic, there is no doubt that if you’re prepared to pay for the privilege, it does that better than any other people-mover in its class. The recommended retail selling price is R1 158 686 which includes Mercedes-Benz Premium Drive 6 year/100 000 km maintenance contract with no customer contribution.

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