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
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.