Four years since its introduction to the South African market, the W447-generation V-Class has undergone a mild facelift. Although its mechanicals remain the same, the luxury MPV sports aesthetic updates all-round, optional luxury rear seats and added safety features.
Given the refreshed range’s lofty starting price (of in excess of R900k) and the shrinking market for conventional MPVs (let alone full-sized luxury ones), the V-Class’s customer base appears small. However, Mercedes-Benz Vans SA vice-president Nadia Trimmel says the firm “remains convinced that families who place value on an active life, leisure time and a good work-life balance”, as well as “leisure-activity enthusiasts who have the need for a vehicle to transport the most varied types of equipment” are potential customers.
The V-Class boasts what is arguably the sportiest front bumper ever fitted to a people-mover (straight off the showroom floor).
Even if Mercedes-Benz Vans SA might be a bit ambitious in terms of its hopes for significant private-buyer sales of the updated V-Class, we anticipate the newcomer will definitely appeal to companies that provide VIP transport, luxury hotels (shuttle services), high-end tour operators and business owners who need their vehicles for work as well as private use.
In terms of its exterior treatment, the updated V-Class facelift sports a broader-looking front end by virtue of a new front bumper design with revised air inlets, while the grille sports a pair of silver slats and a revised black mesh. If you opt for the AMG-Line trim, the big Benz's grille gains diamond-pattern chrome pins that imbue the V-Class with a decidedly sportier, punchier look.
An updated instrument cluster and modernised trims further enhance the V-Class' luxury car feel from behind the 'wheel.
What’s more, a range of new exterior colours and revised wheel designs (ranging from 17- to 19-inches in size) has been availed to customers. The 17- and 18-inch light-alloy wheels in tremolite grey or black, come with a 5 twin-spoke design and, at the upper end of the new-wheels portfolio, are black-painted 19-inch 10-spoke light-alloy wheels with a high-sheen finish.
As for the bus' interior, the Benz's instrument dials have been refreshed, as have the air vents (they now sport a turbine-look, which will be instantly recognisable to owners of the new A-Class, for example) and the fascia panelling features a twin-stripe look. What's more, various upholstery (including Tartufo Nappa leather) and trim accent (such as piano lacquer, ebony wood, carbon-fibre and brushed aluminium) options are available.
The contoured (optional) middle-row luxury seats offer a host of creature comfort functions...
For buyers looking to specify their V-Class to offer ultimate occupant comfort, middle-row luxury seats can now be specified (at extra cost, of course) in the local market... These seats can be fully reclined and offer a range of massage, as well as heating (and cooling) functions.
Furthermore, the Benz’s suite of safety features has been bolstered with the addition of Active Brake Assist, which detects impending collisions and, if necessary, will intervene by automatically applying the brakes if a driver fails to react to visual/acoustic warnings.
High-Beam Assist Plus, meanwhile, provides optimised illumination of the road. In the event of vehicles in front or oncoming traffic, the LEDs of the main-beam module are partially deactivated, creating a U-shaped cut-out in the cone of light. The remaining areas of the road continue to be illuminated with the main-beam headlamps (partial main beam).
As a limited introductory offer, Mercedes-Benz Vans SA is offering the facelifted V-Class with a 6-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.
Other notable safety features include Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, as well as the fitment of 6 airbags, ABS with EBD and electronic stability- and traction control.
In the South African market, the V-Class continues to employ the 2.1-litre turbodiesel engine paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Buyers still have the choice between the V200d with 100 kW/300 Nm, the V220d with 120 kW/380 Nm and the V250d with 140 kW/440 Nm. The latter is claimed to accelerate from 0 to 100 kph in an unmatched 9.1 seconds.
Lastly, whereas the V-Class is usually covered by a 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan, Mercedes-Benz Vans SA is offering all V-Class derivatives with a complimentary top-up to a 6-year/100 000 km plan as a limited special launch offer (August 2019).
Mercedes V-Class (2019) pricing in SA:
V200 d R913 951
V220 d R955 518
V250 d R 1 027 686
V220 d Avantgarde R1 247 819
V250 d Avantgarde R1 292 474