The Mercedes V-Class has had an interesting life, to say the least. First introduced in 1996, the V-Class has undergone more name changes than Diddy himself. It was first called the V-Class before being rebranded as the Viano when the second-generation model arrived in 2004. Then in 2014, the third-generation model was introduced and with it, Mercedes went back to the van’s roots by bringing back the V-Class name. Depending on where you are in the world, iterations of the van have also been called the Vito, Marco Polo, and most recently in the US, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris.

The current 2014 Mercedes-Benz V-Class, or at least the one sold in Europe, is considered as one of the plushest people carriers in the market. The interior, for instance, is a picture of luxury, providing the same aura of elegance as some of Merc’s luxury sedans.The popularity of the V-Class is a big reason why Mercedes is trying to parlay that success by introducing the new V-Class AMG Line package for the people-mover.

Like most packages of this sort, the AMG Line features plenty of exterior and interior updates, all created with help coming from Merc’s performance division. It’s actually the first time AMG will get its hands on a model from Mercedes’ van division, so expect it to be dressed to the nines with plenty of new components, features and tech additions.

The V-Class AMG Line will be showcased at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Once it’s done turning heads at the exhibition floor, the AMG Line package will then head to dealerships where it’s set to become available in markets where the V-Class is sold.

Continue reading for my full review of the V-Class AMG Line.

Exterior

2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line High Resolution Exterior
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The exterior of the V-Class is like looking at two different pictures. The front end looks unmistakably like a Mercedes.

If you can get past the fact that it can’t escape the boxy character of a van, you might come to realize that overall, the V-Class actually looks good.

Everything else looks like a van, and a very long one at that. If you can get past the fact that it can’t escape the boxy character of a van, you might come to realize that overall, the V-Class actually looks good.

The newly styled front bumper now features a different take on the air intakes. The side sills are also more pronounced, an improvement from the almost non-existent ones on the standard V-Class.

Even the rear bumper gets a new styling. The addition of a new lip spoiler and a new set of 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels complete the exterior AMG makeover of the V-Class.

It’s really not much, but then this is still a van for all intents and purposes. Any upgrade, no matter how subtle, goes a long way in turning it from an upright hauler to a refined ride worthy of its Silver Arrows badge.

Interior

2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line Interior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line Interior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line Interior
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Step inside the cabin and you’ll be greeted by a well-appointed interior that has Mercedes’ stylish imprint all over it. The dashboard is arguably the most elegant of any dash you’ll see in a van.

The dashboard is arguably the most elegant of any dash you’ll see in a van.

The top half of the dash can be dressed in faux leather with accent stitching. Ambient lighting separating the two dash sections creates a relaxing ambience that draws away from the busy center console.

The most prominent feature of the console is the freestanding display screen. This can be controlled by a touchpad that recognizes a variety of finger movements like scrolling, swiping and zooming.

The new V-Class AMG Line package takes it up to the next level with its own set of updates. The silver chrome air vents, carbon-fiber-look trim, and black headliner are all part of the package. But the real score of the kit are the optional extras, which include a new center comfort system with a chiller compartment, LED-illuminated thermo-cupholders, two iPad holders in the rear, and the largest panoramic roof in the mid-size van segment, measuring 6.23 feet x 3.67 feet.

Drivetrain

About the only thing the AMG Line package doesn’t touch is the engine of the V-Class. That said, the V-Class still has plenty of engine options to choose from, beginning with a 2.1-liter four-cylinder that’s been used on a number of Mercedes models already.

Mercedes made the necessary tweaks to get it up to the standards of the V-Class, resulting in variety of output numbers, beginning at 136 horsepower and 244 pound-feet of torque for the V 200 CDI, 163 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque for the V 220 CDI, and 190 horsepower, and 325 pound-feet of torque for the range-topping V 250 BlueTEC.

The V 200 and V 220 each come with an ECO Gear six-speed manual transmission while the V 250 BlueTEC will receive a 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission as standard.

There’s still no word on whether a V63 AMG is in the pipeline.

Prices

Mercedes has given no indication on how much the V-Class AMG Line package is going to cost, opting only to announce that the program will become available in the last quarter of 2015. Based on what Mercedes charges for other AMG packages, my best guess is that the package will cost around €5,000, which would be around $5,700 based on current exchange rates.

The good news is that Mercedes is making the AMG Line package available for all engine variants and body lengths of the V-Class.

The good news is that Mercedes is making the AMG Line package available for all engine variants and body lengths of the V-Class.

Pricing for the Mercedes V-Class begins at €42,000 ($47,500) for the V 220 BlueTec SE, going all the way up to €47,550 ($53,750) for the long-wheelbase V 250 BlueTEC Sport. Mercedes hasn’t announced the pricing details for the Metris, the V-Class-based mid-sized van that will be sold in the U.S. and Canada.

Safety

AMG will set up the spring and dampers on the V-Class to make them firmer than those on the standard model. The kit will also add a 17-inch braking system, as well as lowering the suspension by 0.59 inches. The Agility Control suspension can also be added to the AMG Line pack, providing frequency-dependent, variable damping capabilities to help the V-Class maintain its smooth riding on any kind of surface.

AMG will set up the spring and dampers on the V-Class to make them firmer than those on the standard model.

Competition

2016 Volkswagen T6 Multivan

2016 Volkswagen T6
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How does a van with the pedigree of Mercedes find a competitor? None of Merc’s usual rivals have vans of their own and the companies that do can’t compete with the style and elegance of the V-Class. So there’s really just one viable competitor to the V-Class and it comes by way of Volkswagen. It’s called the Multivan Transporter.

The exterior of the Multivan isn’t as provocative as that of the V-Class. The front profile, specifically the headlight configuration, looks impressive, but everything else looks the part of a van. The absence of a Mercedes badge might have something to do with that.

But everything changes when you step inside the cabin. Just like the V-Class, the Multivan’s interior is awash in luxury trim and state-of-the-art technology. The dashboard doesn’t illicit the same level of awe, but it still gives you that feeling of being inside an interior that’s been well-prepared with the finest materials available. The Multivan also provides wireless Internet access and the bench-style seat in the third row provides space to fit as many as eight people inside. The VW van also has an accessible table that can be taken out for meetings.

The Volkswagen Multivan only has one engine option: a 2.0-liter TDI that produces 148 horsepower. Other engines are scheduled to be added in the future, but for now, this is all the Multilvan has at its disposal.

Unfortunately, the Multivan isn’t being offered in the U.S., which is why the V-Class’ U.S.-bound version, the Metris, might have to find other competitors to measure itself against.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-Benz V-Class AMG Line Interior
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AMG purists might scoff at the notion of a van - a van! - being associated with the high-performance division, but I actually think that this move should’ve happened a long time ago. Now that it’s here, I’m even more convinced that Mercedes made the right decision of tapping into AMG’s aftermarket prowess to breath some new energy into the V-Class. Give credit to AMG for not filling the van up with fluff.

  • Leave it
    • Not available in the US
    • Costs a lot in other markets
    • Could suffer from van "stigma" in the face of the crossover revolution

Press Release

At this year’s International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz is presenting the V-Class with new appointments: these are setting additional, individual highlights and make the MPV attractive to further target groups. From the end of 2015 the model is available with the AMG Line equipment package. The striking design features of the Mercedes-AMG performance and sports car brand include newly styled front and rear aprons, distinctive side sill panels and 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels, as well as an additional spoiler lip. This AMG bodystyling emphasises the unique, progressive design of the V-Class even more strongly, and immediately conveys sportiness and dynamism.

At the same time the already high comfort level in the V-Class can be enhanced with further, new appointments. Options include the panoramic roof, the large centre console with an integral cooler compartment and LED-illuminated thermo-cupholders, two iPad holders in the rear and rear seat air conditioning.

With this extended range of features, Mercedes-Benz offers discerning customers even more scope for configuring their V-Class as a private vehicle or business saloon according to their needs and preferences. It was in March, at the Geneva Motor Show, that the premium brand already provided an outlook on the AMG Line and the new comfort features with the ’Concept V-ision e’ study.

"The response to the Concept V-ision e was decidedly positive. Our customers prefer that something ’extra’. That is also confirmed by the individual orders. The majority of customers order their V-Class with numerous exclusive, high-quality optional extras", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "All this confirms that the V-Class has redefined the MPV segment – as a very high-quality, comfortable, extremely functional and dynamic passenger car for up to eight occupants. With the V-Class AMG Line we are now addressing further target groups who are looking for even more individuality and emotional appeal."

The V-Class AMG Line – individual, emotional and sporty
The AMG bodystyling impressively enhances the dynamic appearance of the V-Class. The front apron with its prominent air inlets, diamond-pattern mesh and chrome trim, the expressive spoiler lip and the diffuser-look rear apron emphasise the muscular character of the MPV. The side sill panels visually lengthen the side aspect, adding even more dynamism. 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a seven-twin-spoke design round off the sporty appearance. The V-Class AMG Line also features a 17-inch braking system, brake callipers with Mercedes-Benz lettering and a sport suspension lowered by 15 millimetres with a taut spring and damper setup. As an option the AMG Line can be ordered with the AGILITY CONTROL suspension featuring frequency-dependent, variable damping.

The interior features likewise show the handwriting of AMG: they include air vents in silver chrome, a sports pedal cluster in brushed aluminium, carbon-fibre look trim and a black headlining.

This is the first time that an AMG Line has been available for MPVs from Mercedes-Benz Vans. The AMG Line is available for all engine variants and body lengths of the V-Class and V-Class AVANTGARDE.

The new comfort features – stylish, luxurious and functional
The already high comfort and functionality of the V-Class can be further enhanced with new features. Rear seat air conditioning will become optionally available from September. The panoramic roof, large centre console and iPad holders can be ordered as optional extras from the end of this year.

Largest panoramic roof in the mid-size van segment
The V-Class has the largest panoramic roof in the mid-size van segment. The 1.90 x 1.12 metre glass roof ensures that the interior is flooded with light for an increased sense of wellbeing. It is a two-piece construction, consisting of an electrically operated glass sliding roof at the front and a fixed glass section at the rear. In addition the panoramic roof features a two-section roller blind with which the interior can be completely shaded when required. This allows undisturbed work or relaxation in the rear, even in strong sunshine. If the vehicle is parked with the roof open and it starts to rain, the panoramic roof is automatically moved to the tilted position thanks to the rain sensor, protecting the interior. The panoramic roof and roller blind can be operated by a switch in the overhead console in the front and by a central overhead switch in the rear.

Large centre console with integral cooler compartment and LED-illuminated thermo-cupholders, plus iPad holders in the rear

As a further comfort enhancement for the occupants, the large centre console has a padded armrest and an integral cooler compartment. It has several stowage compartments, two cupholders at the front, two LED-illuminated thermo-cupholders for passengers in the rear and a five-litre cooler box. USB connections, a SD card slot, a 220 volt and a 12 volt socket are provided for mobile phones, notebooks, etc. This makes even long journeys a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

The V-Class can also be equipped with iPad holders on the front seat backrests. Once inserted, the tablet can be charged, tilted and rotated by 90 degrees. All connections, e.g. for headphones, remain fully accessible. This allows optimum use of the iPad. The power supply is in the seat. Further devices can be charged via an additional USB port on the holder.

The V-Class as a success story – AVANTGARDE line particularly popular
Since its market launch, the Mercedes among MPVs has become a true success story. In the first year after its introduction, 25 percent more units were sold than of the preceding Viano model in its first full year after the sales start in September 2003. In the first half of 2015, unit sales increased by 36 percent to 15 200 (prev. year 11 200) vehicles. With the new range of appointments, Mercedes-Benz is offering customers an even greater variety for individual configuration of their V-Class. The V-Class and V-Class AVANTGARDE lines, an Exterior Sport package, an Interior Design package and a wide range of optional extras are already available now. They include innovations in this segment, for example a separately opening rear window and Active Parking Assist, or the Driving Assistance package with COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE®. Two wheelbases, three vehicle lengths, three engine variants and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive are also available.

This variety and the high level of comfort combined with excellent functionality have decisively helped to ensure that the V-Class was immediately a success. Exclusive optional extras have proved particularly popular, as has the V-Class AVANTGARDE. Almost half of all customers opt for this high-quality equipment line, which has numerous normally optional extras already on board as standard – for example the separately opening rear window, leather seats, ambience lighting and all-LED headlamps with the Intelligent Light System.

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