Mercedes-Benz V Class V300 d 237 Sport 5dr 9G-Tronic
Cast aside any notion of hotfooting it around the ‘Ring in one of these, because a) that’s faintly ridiculous in a van, despite what Sabine Schmitz might tell you, and b) IT’S A PEOPLE CARRIER NOT A SUPERCAR. It weighs 2,155kg for goodness sake.
You have a choice of two engines – well, one engine, two power outputs. The 2.1-litre diesel isn’t new, but it is refined. More so in the V than some other Mercs. The entry level V220d gets 161bhp and 280lb ft of torque, and is a handy, accessible thing. But it is grumbly, and if you push it – which you will have to considering the V-Class’s sheer heft – will rather make its presence felt. Not the noise you would associate with a Benz, even if it is a van.
No, better to go for the V250d, which uses the same engine but makes a handier 187bhp and 325lb ft of torque. The world of difference it makes is rather stark: no longer are you flooring it and grinding out the pistons like the 220, instead pushing along with a bit more purpose. Easy pace, basically. The seven speed dual clutch automatic gearbox – 7G-Tronic in MercSpeak – deftly switches through so you’re never aware of the noise, and it simply stops being an issue.
Though the number gains appear small, in the ‘real world’ (is there such a thing?), it’s just plain faster. 0-62mph, if you’re even bothered by such a statistic on a car like this, takes 9.1s. That’s 2.7s quicker than the 220d, and is thus better in every measure.
Guiding it around towns, through villages and along motorways is a doddle, largely because the steering is light and accurate and makes the van feel… twirlable. Is that a word? It is a word now. Twirlable. The visibility is excellent because you sit nice and high, and the AMG Line Extra Long version we drove rode decently enough. Be mindful though, that it gets a tad unsettled over some expansion joints. But otherwise a pleasant, refined and comfortable experience.
A word about the brakes: there's little 'bite' at the very top of the pedal, and only really engages about halfway down. There's certainly a reason for this, but in our eyes, more pressure at the top would be welcome. Not so you can engage in some Lewis Hamilton-esque late-braking high-jinx, but simply because you're in something so vast.
That point bears repeating: you are in a van, and therefore no amount of slow-in fast-out nonsense is applicable. IT’S A HIGH SIDED VEHICLE. Ignore what you’re read elsewhere.
(Though if AMG were to build a V63 proper, our minds might be open to change...)
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