By Khulekani Dumisa
Recently we travelled to Spain to attend the international launch of the updated Mercedes-Benz V-Class. Introduced in 2014, the V-Class has attracted good numbers for Mercedes-Benz being virtually the only luxurious MPV on offer in the market. Minor tweaks have been made to ensure that Mercedes-Benz maintains its lead in this arena.
The interior receives subtle tweaks to the dashboard with new S-Class like air-vents in a sportier turbine look as well as new dials in the instrument cluster. Other changes are the addition of new interior finishes. These include the addition of the new upholstery and equipment colour tartufo nappa leather. Making the interior even more striking will be the new trim element in twin-stripe look which is used on the instrument panel and side panelling. The trim elements in the piano lacquer, ebony wood, carbon fibre and brushed aluminium looks remain.
The big interior change (which hasn’t been confirmed for South Africa yet) is the introduction of new luxury seats for the middle row. These seats have a reclining, massage and heating function. We were driven in the V-Class with these seats and felt that although the ride quality of the V-Class doesn’t match that of the S-Class, the addition of the luxury seats certainly increases the lavish appeal of the V-Class. Your boss will want them.
On the exterior, the V-Class benefits from new front bumpers which extend outward to make the V-Class appear wider and sportier. The new AMG line gets a new diamond grille which makes the vehicle stand out. Those looking for more style will appreciate the addition of new colours – graphite grey metallic, selenite grey metallic steel blue and hyacinth red metallic. We are particularly fond of the latter colour. Finally, four new light-alloy wheel designs complete the chic exterior look of the updated V-Class. These include 5-twin-spoke 17-inch light-alloy wheels painted in black with a high-sheen finish, 18-inch light-alloy wheels in tremolite grey with a high-sheen finish and 5-twin-spoke design, or in black with a high-sheen finish and 5-spoke design, and black-painted 19-inch 10-spoke light-alloy wheels with a high-sheen finish.
New engine and transmission
The range gets a new four cylinder OM 654 diesel engine in three power outputs: V 220 d with 120 kW/380 Nm, V 250 d with 140 kW/440 Nm and V 300 d with 176 kW/500 Nm. Unfortunately, the new V 300 d engine is not coming to South Africa. The reason given is that the certification standard is ahead of what is offered in South Africa. This means South Africa loses out on the new 9 speed transmission as well. The engines that are currently in use in South Africa will continue in the updated range.
We did get to drive the V300 and there’s a noticeable power difference between it and the V250 that is now on offer in Europe. Surprisingly the difference does not feel so vast as to justify going for it unless you really need the extra power. The difference is most noticeable at take-off and when overtaking, both which can be done quite quickly in the V300. Once you get going on the highway, things feel relatively the same, and this includes acceleration when you get to high speeds. The 9 speed transmission works well and shifts accurately but almost the same can be said about the transmission that’s available in the South African market at the moment.
Overall the updates to the V-Class will give the vehicle more appeal. Only time will tell if South Africa eventually gets the new engine and transmission, and the luxury seats at the back.
The V-Class will launch in South Africa during the third quarter of 2019.
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