It is Mercedes Van day here at Car-Revs-Daily!
We’ve spent a few hours this morning learning about the MB van ranges — and came away fairly perplexed but very impressed overall.
Confusing? Slightly. The Metris mid-size commercial and tourer (with seats) vans that are coming to America in September are part of a 40-strong lineup of vehicles from this platform. There is the Euro work-van Vito, the family hauler Viano, luxury V-Class and the campers called Marco Polo.
Not just lots of names — we counted at least 10 engines available, and options for front-drive, rear-drive or AWD. That is a ton of variety for one platform indeed!
The V-Class luxury variant is not planned for the USA at this time, as the Metris will be sold alongside Sprinters in stand-alone MB Vans dealerships. So this recent PHEV powertrian and executive shuttle concept ‘V-ision-e’ is not directly previewing anything headed to American shoppers.
But the powertrain under that swanky cabin is possible. The Metris will arrive in September priced from $28k with a standard 204-horsepower gasoline turbo four — which is also the likeliest engine for a hybrid model.
So while the PHEV might not be on the radar for the Metris’ launch, it is likely to arrive a few years into the vehicle’s rollout — perhaps around 2019. The PHEV powertrain would also be a welcome setup for the Marco Polo camper variants, where it would have far more accessory power than a conventional car battery.
As far as how a PHEV turbo van might benefit buyers globally… Imagine hauling 8 people and hitting 75-mpg! That may be possible in the very near future via this wildly versatile MB van platform.
2015 Mercedes-Benz Concept Vision-e
Mercedes arrived in Vegas with a surprising four-pack of minivans this year — confusing spectators and commentators alike!
Though the vans they brought are all customized in various flavors, they clearly share much with the new V-Class sold in Europe and elsewhere. Our USA-bound versions will be called the Metris and are not the luxury V-Class – Mercedes clarifies — despite the new Metris being offered in passenger and cargo versions.
What does this mean? When is a V-Class not a V-Class?
It comes down to distribution channels and luxury content. The Metris will be sold alongside Spinter vans in the commercial vehicle side of the business, versus sharing a posh showroom with the new S-Class and others.
It also comes down to content and technology: the Metris is simplfied and made more affordable than the V-Class, which is billed in Europe as a true Mercedes-Benz in mini-van shape.
A little bit.
We have yet to see exactly how decontented the Metris will be for the US — but expect harder materials all around the cabin, less NVH material, firmer and commercial-grade shocks and a more utilitarian bumper and trim setup than the posh V-Classes in silver below. Grey plastic bumpers are almost a sure thing to keep a respectful distance from Mercedes’ US passenger crossovers.
The Metris will slide in under the Sprinter in both size and price, and is likely to offer a variety of turbodiesel engines and may match the 2015 Sprinter by offering four-wheel-drive as well. Stay tuned for more details ahead of the Metris USA launch in Fall 2015.
2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris – SEMA Concepts
V-Class concept car with a PLUG-IN HYBRID drive: Mercedes-Benz Concept V-ision-e – Higher Performance at Lower CO2 Emissions
Stuttgart – Mar 03, 2015
At the Geneva International Motor Show the Concept V‑ision e from Mercedes-Benz presents a preview of the great variety of development potential offered by the V-Class. The concept vehicle combines environmentally friendly performance with the lightness of modern luxury. The most advanced PLUG-IN HYBRID technology available ensures extremely powerful propulsion in the model, as the highly efficient drive-system duo consisting of a gasoline engine and an electric motor delivers total system output of 245 kW (333 hp) and system torque of up to 600 Nm. This guarantees sporty driving performance, even as rated fuel consumption amounts to less than 3.0 liters per 100 km. The vehicle can travel up to 50 km in the all-electric mode, making short daily trips a locally emission-free delight. The interior of the Concept V‑ision e offers a unique feeling of comfort in a modern loft-like atmosphere. The biggest panoramic sliding roof in the mid-size-van segment floods the spacious interior with light. In combination with bright white appointments and a brown real-wood floor, this creates a previously unattained feeling of expansiveness, freedom, and lightness. Additional possibilities for personalizing the V‑Class are offered by numerous new comfort features, such as rear executive seats with calf support, a massage function, and footrests, as well as a large center console with thermal cup holders and a five-liter cooler.
“The Concept V‑ision e demonstrates the potential the Mercedes among MPVs will offer in the future when it comes to accommodating our customers’ wishes — and market demand — by offering greater exclusivity and more personalization options,” says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “Our pioneering Mercedes-Benz PLUG-IN HYBRID technology has enabled us to increase the output
of the most powerful V‑Class at the moment by 105 kW, even as we’ve lowered fuel consumption to the level of a compact. That’s what I call forward-looking performance enhancement.”
PLUG-IN HYBRID: Sporty performance at the highest level of efficiency
The Concept V‑ision e utilizes the same advanced drive system that ensures the extraordinary dynamic handling and efficiency in the new Mercedes-Benz C 350 e. Its four-cylinder gasoline engine has an output of 155 kW (210 hp) and develops a maximum torque of 350 Nm, while the electric motor delivers 90 kW and 340 Nm of torque. This results in a system output of 245 kW (333 hp) and a system torque of up to 600 Nm. The Concept V‑ision e sprints from 0–100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, which makes this hybrid even faster out of the box than the current V 250 BlueTEC top engine variant — and more than well equipped to overtake other vehicles quickly. The model’s top speed is 206 km/h. Its NEDC fuel consumption of 3.0 liters per 100 km corresponds to CO2 emissions of 71 g per km. The MPV concept can travel up to 50 km in the all-electric mode if driven at a maximum speed of 80 km/h. This means that short daily trips to work, for example, can be driven completely emission free, which offers a major environmental benefit in cities especially.
Energy for the electric motor is stored in a high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a total capacity of 13.5 kWh. The high-voltage battery can be recharged using an external power source and thus makes a very effective contribution to the model’s low fuel consumption and emissions. The vehicle’s intelligent drive-system management program automatically selects the ideal combination of combustion engine and electric motor. The range of options here includes a nearly silent electrical start (silent start), use of the electric motor to support the gasoline engine during acceleration, for example (boost), and energy recovery (recuperation) during braking and when the vehicle is coasting. All recovered energy is stored in the battery and can later be used for electric driving or for the boost function. Drivers can also manage hybrid interaction manually, in which case they can choose from four different modes (Hybrid, E-Mode, E-Save and Charge) that can be selected using a switch.
Sporty exterior and a modern, loft-like interior
The extraordinary handling and efficiency of the high-tech hybrid drive system is underscored by the exterior design of the Concept V‑ision e. The concept vehicle has a fascinating designo titanium alubeam paint and a sporty-aerodynamic styling. Sporty side skirts and bumpers, a rear spoiler and multi-spoke 20-inch wheels with a high-sheen polish give the V‑Class a distinctly athletic and agile look.
The interior of the Concept V‑ision e brings to mind the atmosphere of a modern loft — sun-drenched luxurious spaciousness. Virtually the entire roof of the vehicle is made of glass. The 1.92 x 1.12-m panoramic sliding sunroof is divided into two sections and lets in an extraordinary amount of light. Combined with the white nappa leather and white DINAMICA microfiber material that seem to float above the contrasting dark floor made of English walnut, the roof creates an incomparable feeling of expansiveness, freedom, and lightness.
Executive seats, comfortable tables and a large center console
Along with the panoramic sliding sunroof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL, the Concept V‑ision e also includes other new equipment features that make for even greater comfort and more varied personalization options for the V‑Class as a private or business vehicle — and for even more exclusive tastes as well.
The executive seats in the rear offer outstanding additional comfort, especially on longer journeys. As is the case in the S‑Class, these seats are ideal for either concentrated work or relaxation. The push of a button is all it takes to recline the seats into a lying position with an inclination of up to 49 degrees. With their integrated calf supports, separate footrests, and additional pillows, the seats offer the highest degree of sleeping comfort or relaxation when fully reclined. The executive seats are also equipped with a three-stage heating and ventilation system and a relaxing massage feature. Because the V‑Class interior is so spacious, the executive seats can be combined with standard individual seats or optional seat benches as well. They thus expand the wide variety of seating configuration options in the Mercedes-Benz MPV in a most exclusive way.
The Concept V‑ision e provides a comfortable working environment with two foldable convenient tables and two iPad holders integrated into the driver and front-passenger seat backrests. Each of the tables is 35 x 35 cm, which offers sufficient space for documents. The table surfaces are covered in white nappa leather. The iPad holder can be tilted and rotated 90 degrees and is equipped with an integrated charging interface and two USB charging ports. Another new feature that benefits both the rear passengers and the driver and front passenger is the large center console. It offers several cup holders, a large stowage compartment, USB ports, an SD card slot, a five-liter cooler as well as a 220-V and a 12-V socket.
Concept V‑ision e: The V‑Class is becoming even more personalized
From its sporty exterior design to its exclusive comfort features and environmentally friendly PLUG-IN HYBRID drive system — the Concept V‑ision e makes it clear that the Mercedes among MPVs offers enormous potential in terms of the versatility required to meet varied customer requirements and wishes. Regardless of whether it’s used as a private vehicle by families and people who participate in a lot of leisure activities, or as a luxury business sedan, the V‑Class will offer even more personalization options in the future. The Concept V‑ision e thus underscores the V‑Class claim of being the ideal vehicle for anyone interested in a spacious model with its very own style — and one that offers the highest degree of comfort and an ultra-modern drive system to power it.
Expansion of the V-Class product range by new body lengths and all-wheel drive models
Since its market launch at the end of May 2014 the V-Class has been performing extremely well. In the second half of 2014 Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved sales growth of almost 20 percent for the MPV compared with the same period last year. “Our V-Class is well received by our customers. In 2015 we will continue this course for growth with the introduction of further body lengths and all-wheel drive models as well as new features“, says Volker Mornhinweg.
Already since January the V-Class is also available in the body lengths compact (4.895 mm length and 3.200 mm wheelbase) and extra long (5.370 mm length and 3.430 mm wheelbase with extended overhang). Moreover since March customers can not only order the top-motorization V 250 BlueTEC (140 kW/190 hp), but also the models V 200 CDI (100 kW/136 hp) and V 220 CDI (120 kW/163 hp) with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system. The all-wheel drive system is available for all three body lengths. This leads to an expansion of the Mercedes-Benz V-Class product range to a total of 18 different versions this year. Beyond that a heating for the comfort individual seats in the rear will be available on demand from September on.
Representatives from Mercedes-Benz and the following companies will be on hand to showcase their respective creative concepts:
RENNtech: Party/DJ Van
A definite show-stopper van, this van offers a mobile DJ van that looks as good as it sounds. Featuring a clamshell style roof that opens and acts as a backdrop for a DJ, this van is true form and function in one package.
HQ Custom Design: Luxury Van
Luxury Van conversions are nothing new for Mercedes-Benz vans. This design is an ideal example of an inspired executive shuttle van that also offers the best in audio/visual that is surrounded by the finest craftsmanship and attention to detail.
RADO: Fire Chief Concept Truck
Because Vans offer some of the finest dimensions for mobile command units for various local or national government agencies, this concept is a rolling communications center that could transport a Fire Chief to all locations in many situations.
Garmin: Mobile Golf Pro Shop
Golf lovers will love this rolling Pro Shop that features a high-tech golf simulator and infotainment system designed for both personal and merchandizing usage. Offering a Mobile Performance Center, this concept offers technology that helps players evaluate their golf game and simulate potential outcomes.
In the US full-size commercial van segment, sales of the Sprinter continue to be brisk, up 17.3% YTD. Model year 2014 brought new major enhancements such as a fresh and confident new front end exterior design, 4-cylinder BlueTEC clean diesel powertrain that already plays a similar role as its big brother, the V6, and upgrades of safety and infotainment.
Model year 2015 is even more exciting for the Sprinter, with the addition of standard Crosswind Assist on all 2500 models and increased service intervals of up to 20,000 miles (MY 2014 service intervals were up to 15,000 miles). An optional Sprinter 4×4 version of both cargo and passenger versions will also be added in Q1/2015, which will be the only ex-factory four-wheel drive system on the market for a commercial van in the USA. In addition to that, the option for a super high roof underlines the benchmark position concerning interior heights by offering an interior roof height of up to 7 feet. And the SULEV option for our standard 4-cylinder BlueTEC engine is the first SULEV diesel engine worldwide and underlines our ‘Green Leadership.’ All of these features highlight the position of the Sprinter as the most innovative large van in the segment.
Independent from the model year, up to 75% of all Sprinters have upfitter treatment on them, regardless of extra shelving or extensive Recreational Vehicle modifications.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class.
MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.