by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic
e-mail: mercedesbenzblog@gmail.com

Mercedes-Benz TecDay: The new V-Class - The Mercedes among Full Size MPVs

The Mercedes among full size MPVs will be arriving next year in the form of the new V-Class. The successor to the Viano, the newest and largest member of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car family, will be arriving in 2014 – and with it a clear ambition to redefine the benchmark in this segment. The new V-Class therefore combines outstanding spaciousness and exceptional functionality with the sense of quality, the aesthetic appeal, the comfort and the safety that typically characterise the cars that bear the three-pointed star. All this together makes the V-Class the ideal vehicle for large families, for those who take part in active recreational activities and for shuttle service operators, all of whom desire to enjoy and offer only the best.

The interior of the new V-Class features high-quality appointments and reflects the style of Mercedes-Benz passenger car models. It thus very clearly embodies the unmistakable Mercedes-Benz passenger car design philosophy of 'sensual clarity'. The typical contrasting interplay of organic surfaces and clear lines, along with warm and cool colour tones, conveys an exceptional sense of harmony and serves to underline the high-class feel of the vehicle. The car offers a perfect synthesis of function and emotion. This sophisticated finesse is rounded off by discreet ambient lighting in three colour shades. By adopting passenger car design elements, Mercedes-Benz raises the quality and aesthetic appeal of the V-Class to a new level in this segment.

"The interior of our new V-Class combines a generous amount of space and maximum variability with elegance and a high-quality appeal that is on a par with that of the best passenger cars around. In my view, the new V-Class is a true multitalent that is unrivalled in this segment", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Interior design: visual breadth and high value

One of the most eye-catching features is the cockpit. The dynamically shaped dashboard is based on a two-section design with the emphasis firmly on breadth. The upper and lower sections are separated by a large, three-dimensional trim element that creates an impression of breadth and conveys a high sense of value. The lower section is sculptural in design. This emphasises the car's spaciousness, whilst also giving a sense of lightness. For the first time in this class, there is the option of a leather-look cockpit upper section with lavishly finished topstitching. High-quality topstitching also features on the leather seats, on the armrests and in the centre section of the side panelling, emphasising the high-value appeal of the entire vehicle interior.

The high-quality and sophisticated impression is reinforced by the control and display components that are a hallmark of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars: the free-standing central display, the circular ventilation outlets, the 12-button multifunction steering wheel, the DIRECT SELECT lever including shift paddles if an automatic transmission is fitted, the central control panel with Controller (rotary pushbutton), and an innovative touchpad that can be used to operate all telematics functions by means of gestures or letter and number input as on a smartphone. The leather steering wheel fitted as standard is another first in the V-Class segment.

Exceptional comfort and wellbeing thanks to intelligent climate control system

The enhanced and uprated THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control likewise ensures a unique and individual feeling of comfort and wellbeing. It sets new standards in terms of the automatic mode's ability to adapt to individual passenger requirements. The V-Class is the only vehicle in its segment to offer three different ventilation modes for personal climate control, automatic air recirculation when a tunnel is detected and cooling air distribution to both the driver's and the front-passenger side, the intensity of which is automatically adjusted according to the position of the sun.

Separately opening rear window and second loading level

For easy loading and unloading, the V-Class features another first in this segment in the shape of the separately opening rear window attached to the upper tailgate frame. It can be opened and closed independently of the tailgate. This makes loading and unloading easier in two respects: on the one hand, it allows a second loading level; on the other hand, particularly in tight parking spaces, there is no need to open the large tailgate.

Latest COMAND Online generation and Burmester® Sound system

The new V-Class comes with a choice of three infotainment systems, offering a bespoke state-of-the-art solution for all budgets and requirements: Audio 20 USB (standard), Audio 20 CD and, at the top of the range, COMAND Online, which is a fully integrated multimedia system with 80 GB hard-disc navigation, DVD player, internet access and numerous additional functions. The latest generation of COMAND Online features a photorealistic map display, a series of useful apps, an additional Bluetooth® profile that allows internet access, for example from an iPhone®, and the relaying of traffic data in real time.

A superb audio experience comes courtesy of the optional Burmester® Surround Sound system. Optimised for the vehicle, this sound system features 16 high-performance speakers including a bass reflex loudspeaker and a 10-channel DSP amplifier with a total output of 640 watts for first-class "feelgood sound". With COMAND Online and the Burmester® Surround Sound system, the V-Class raises the bar in its segment in terms of navigation, internet use and the enjoyment of music.

Extensive safety equipment

Another USP of the V-Class is its extensive package of safety equipment, including numerous innovative driver assistance systems based on sophisticated radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors, first introduced under the name "Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive" in the new E-Class and S-Class. They reduce the risk of hazards such as strong crosswind gusts, the blind spot or insufficient distance to other vehicles to an absolute minimum. The new full size MPV is even as easy to park as a compact car. The assistance systems enhance both comfort and safety.

Standard equipment for the V-Class includes ATTENTION ASSIST, which warns against drowsiness and inattention, and Crosswind Assist. The latter can compensate for the effects of wind by applying the brakes on the front and rear wheels on the side of the vehicle facing the wind. Further assistance systems include Blind Spot Assist, Active Parking Assist, which allows automatic parking in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces with active steering and brake actuation, a 360° camera, radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist and Traffic Sign Assist with wrong-way warning function.

II. Interior design: Sophisticated style and high-class appeal

A progressively dynamic design idiom full of lightness and elegance, coupled with exquisitely finished high-grade materials – unmistakable passenger car styling for the new Mercedes-Benz V-Class. With this the Stuttgart-based premium brand is raising quality and aesthetic appeal to a new level in this vehicle class. The V-Class is a confident statement of an independent lifestyle.

Like all current Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the V-Class interior provides an inviting feeling of wellbeing. It follows the new design idiom, which embodies sensual clarity. The typical contrasting interplay of organic surfaces and clear lines, along with warm and cool colour tones, conveys an exceptional sense of harmony and serves to underline the high-class feel of the vehicle. The car offers a perfect synthesis of function and emotion. This sophisticated finesse is rounded off by discreet ambient lighting in three colour shades.

Curved cockpit for a generous sense of space full of lightness

One of the most eye-catching features is the cockpit. For the front passengers, it is like sitting in a typical Mercedes passenger car. The dynamically shaped dashboard is based on a two-section design with the emphasis firmly on breadth, allowing different surface structures. The upper and lower sections are made of hard-wearing soft-touch materials. For the first time in this class, there is the option of a leather-look cockpit upper section with lavishly finished topstitching.

The upper and lower sections are separated by a large, three-dimensional trim element that creates an impression of breadth and conveys a sense of high value. It is available in a high-gloss piano-lacquer look, a matt anthracite wave-look, a high-gloss dark brown ash wood-look or a dark anthracite ebony wood-look. The lower section is sculptural in design. This emphasises the generous sense of space whilst also giving a strong sense of lightness.

Free-standing central display and central control panel with touchpad

This high-quality impression is reinforced by the free-standing central display. Standard equipment for the V-Class includes a 17.8-centimetre display with a frame in high-gloss black. A full-glass 21.3-centimetre display with bonded glass and a frame in galvanised silver shadow is available as an option. This new and particularly elegant looking display provides an even more detailed and high-contrast image.

There is another new feature located below the central display: the central control panel that features in Mercedes passenger cars with a Controller (rotary pushbutton) and, for the first time, a multifunctional touchpad (see "Control and display concept" section). The size, design and ergonomics of the central control panel were adapted specifically for the V-Class. It blends harmoniously into the dynamism of the dashboard, further emphasising the sporty shape and lightness of the cockpit.

Multifunction leather steering wheel as standard

Another sporty, elegant touch is provided by the circular nozzles that are a hallmark feature of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Their design is inspired by aviation. All four ventilation outlets are galvanised in silver shadow, creating a metallic surface impression with "cool touch" effect – and an exciting contrast with the warm wood or leather look.

Standard equipment for the V-Class also includes the 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons and the DIRECT SELECT lever plus shift paddles if an automatic transmission is specified. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and angle, improving ergonomic posture and allowing the seat occupant to relax. The V-Class is the only vehicle in its segment to offer a leather steering wheel as standard.

Individualisation through light, materials and colours

The three-dimensional design of the dashboard trim is echoed on the sliding door and the side wall. This creates a feeling of security and further emphasises the generous sense of space. From front to rear, the interior appears to be cast from a single mould. In the rear, discreet ambient lighting below the trim on the side walls and the sliding door ensures a pleasant, homely light. As soon as the doors are opened, the LED fibre-optic cables are activated and offer a "welcome home" effect. In addition to this, the ambient lighting is activated and deactivated with the exterior lighting, is dimmable in five stages and has three colour shades for creating an individual lighting mood: neutral (white), solar (amber) and polar (ice blue). The convenient overhead control panel likewise features only LED lights as standard: an interior light with fibre-optic cable and reading lamps for the driver and front passenger.

An exclusive choice of materials and colours for the seat covers also provides great scope for individualisation. As is the case for all Mercedes-Benz passenger car models, optional interior design packages are available. The newly developed comfort seats in the V-Class are upholstered in fabric as standard. As an alternative, leather is now joined for the first time by nappa leather upholstery as an option in this class.

Likewise new is the sporty seat upholstery layout, allowing an expressive two-tone concept for the fabric seats and, consequently, further emphasising the feeling of lightness throughout the entire interior. With the leather upholstery, topstitching in a contrasting colour lends the seats a degree of aesthetic appeal that is unparalleled in this segment. High-quality topstitching can also be found on the upper section of the dashboard, on the armrests and in the centre section of the side panelling, emphasising the high-value appeal of the entire vehicle interior.

The perfectly coordinated concept, comprising contrasting shapes, materials and colours, produces an exclusive interior with high-class appeal and underlines Mercedes-Benz's premium claim. The overall impression is a unique combination of hallmark Mercedes elegance with a high-quality feel and sophisticated, sporty lightness.

III. Under the microscope: look and feel - "The most spacious Mercedes-Benz passenger car"

Compared to its predecessor, the new V-Class offers a vastly enhanced interior in every respect. Kai Sieber, Head of Design Mercedes-Benz Vans and Trucks, and Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design Mercedes-Benz Cars, explain the design philosophy and the requirements that need to be met by the Mercedes-Benz V-Class.

Mr Sieber, why revolution rather than evolution?

Kai Sieber: When designing and developing the new V-Class, it was a case of coming up with something completely new rather than upgrading a functional interior. We wanted to give our full size MPV real passenger-car character. And in every respect: high-class appeal, material and colour concept, control and display concept, seating and climate comfort – in short, everything that makes the interior of a Mercedes passenger car stand out.

Hartmut Sinkwitz: Mercedes-Benz Design stands for "sensual clarity". This means that our design showcases high-tech, in other words the state of the art, and also arouses emotions. We want to give our customers an emotional home. The interior of a Mercedes must take into account the striving for a sense of wellbeing, security and enjoyment. We have therefore greatly enhanced the quality of the interior in all our model series in recent years.

Kai Sieber: With the V-Class we are now also bringing state-of-the-art design and high-class appeal to the Mercedes model series for large families – and therefore setting a new standard in this segment. We create a feeling of wellbeing and a level of comfort on a par with Mercedes passenger cars – without forsaking the traditional functionality and variability of a full size MPV.

What makes the V-Class a true Mercedes?

Hartmut Sinkwitz: The cockpit alone has absolute passenger-car character. One particular Mercedes hallmark is the overall concept consisting of sculptural forms, the emotional contrast of sensuality and clarity, and the intelligent use of space. Rounded forms flow into clean lines like organic waves. High-grade materials and colours with warm and cool looks blend harmoniously together. This design idiom allows the V-Class to convey a refined and pleasantly generous sense of space – without appearing oversized or large. On the contrary: it conveys a feeling of freedom and independence. The V-Class is a stylish saloon for discerning families and individualists. Or, in other words: The most spacious Mercedes-Benz passenger car.

Was the V-Class developed by passenger car designers?

Kai Sieber: We assembled a team of designers from the passenger car and van sectors and worked together to develop perceptions of the ideal vehicle, explore extremes and then find a way of getting these ideas into series production. The V-Class therefore has much in common, but also much that sets it apart from current and new Mercedes passenger cars. By way of example, the new touchpad is designed differently for the V-Class. Likewise the shape and design of the dashboard, as well as the material and colour concept, is adapted to suit the character of the V-Class.

Hartmut Sinkwitz: On the other hand, the design of the circular instruments, the ventilation outlets and the free-standing central display are already familiar features seen in many Mercedes passenger car model series. And the inclusion of control logic and switch elements from the S-Class meets the highest of requirements. The aim was to develop an interior design that makes the V-Class recognisable as a member of the Mercedes passenger car family yet has its own unique character. I am confident that it will be very well received by our customers.

IV. Interior: A new dimension of comfort and variability

Featuring numerous innovations such as active seat ventilation with reversing fans, the separately opening rear window and a second loading level, the V-Class sets new standards in its segment in terms of comfort and variability. The interior concept meets the individual requirements of the different target groups. Be it for family, business or leisure – the V-Class offers a uniquely wide range of options and independence when using a full size MPV.

The seats were developed with the focus on cosy comfort and intuitive control. High-grade materials and a new seat structure with optimised lateral support ensure an exceptionally comfortable sitting position in all seats – even on longer trips. The seat cover materials are exceptionally hard-wearing. Thanks to enhanced technology and control logic, the luxury individual rear seats can be folded forward intuitively to afford fast and easy access to the rear. Very little effort is required to push the individual seats forwards and backwards in the further optimised seat rails, allowing almost unlimited seating configurations for practically any requirement. In addition to this, the seats can be folded down to load compartment height or removed completely to create space for luggage or sports and leisure equipment.

Front seats with 4-way lumbar support and active seat ventilation

For the first time in this segment, the driver and front passenger get 4-way lumbar support, which provides additional back relief. It is easily controlled at the push of a button. There is also the option of power-adjustable front seats.

Another USP in terms of comfort is the active seat ventilation with reversing fans for the driver and front passenger, introduced as a world first in the S-Class.

Climate control – individual and intelligent

The enhanced and uprated THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control, available as an option to the standard-fit TEMPMATIC system, likewise ensures individual comfort and wellbeing. It sets new standards in terms of the automatic mode's ability to adapt to individual passenger requirements.

For the first time in this vehicle segment, three different ventilation modes with different airflow and air distribution characteristics are available for personal climate control: "FOCUS", "MEDIUM" and "DIFFUSE". "DIFFUSE" is configured to minimise airflow and ensure that air is not aimed directly at the occupants. By preference the air flows out of the defroster vents and footwell openings. "FOCUS", on the other hand, works with higher airflow, with the air mainly coming out of the ventilation nozzles. "MEDIUM" ensures balanced, uniform climate control with medium airflow.

A further new feature is the 2-quadrant solar sensor for automatic adjustment of the interior temperature. It monitors the sun's rays and, if the rays intensify, the blower speed and temperature are adjusted automatically in the affected quadrant. If the sun is more intense on the driver's side, for example, the air conditioning increases the airflow on this side only. The set climate style is retained on the front-passenger side. This improves thermal comfort as and when required, especially in stop-and-go traffic.

Further outstanding features of the new THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control include automatic pre-entry climate control with the vehicle key if the V-Class has been parked in the sun for a while, the integrated demisting sensor and automatic air recirculation. The demisting sensor checks the humidity and, as soon as there is a risk of the windscreen or side windows misting up, fresh air is fed in automatically and the air distribution is adjusted accordingly. Consequently, there is no longer any danger of the windows misting up, which helps to enhance safety. When the V-Class drives through a tunnel or the windscreen is cleaned, THERMOTRONIC switches to recirculated air automatically to minimise the odours and pollutants entering the passenger compartment.

THERMOTRONIC is configured as front and rear automatic climate control for three zones. The automatic climate control is operated using the air conditioning control panel or the central control panel with touchpad if Audio 20 CD or COMAND Online is fitted.

Easy loading thanks to separately opening rear window

For easy loading and unloading, the V-Class features a first in this segment in the shape of the separately opening rear window attached to the upper tailgate frame. It can be opened and closed independently of the tailgate. This makes loading and unloading easier in two respects: on the one hand, it allows a second loading level, for the weekly supermarket shop, for example; on the other hand, particularly in tight parking spaces, there is no need to open the large tailgate.

The convenient load compartment divider is easy to install and remove. It is covered in hard-wearing dilour carpet and has two recesses, each of which contains a removable, folding shopping basket. The load compartment divider weighs around 18 kilograms and can be loaded with up to 50 kilograms. The loading height beneath it is 445 millimetres.

V. New control and display concept: Multifunctional touchpad with gesture control

The Mercedes-Benz V-Class sees the arrival of the very latest control and display concept in this segment. The major innovation is the multifunctional touchpad on the dashboard. Like a smartphone, it can be controlled using gestures or by inputting letters and numbers. In addition to this, control and display elements that have already been used successfully in numerous Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series are celebrating their premiere in this segment, including COMAND Online with COMAND Controller (rotary pushbutton), the DIRECT SELECT lever on the steering wheel, the central display and the colour display in the instrument cluster.

The newly designed control and display concept is easy and intuitive to use. The control logic and various switch elements have been taken from the new S-Class and are therefore based on the highest levels of user-friendliness and ergonomics. These include the elegant rocker switches on the air conditioning control panel, the pull/push switch modules for the power windows in the door panels and the rotary light switch.

Innovative touchpad with new recognition technology

The touchpad newly developed by Mercedes-Benz is available for vehicles equipped with Audio 20 CD or COMAND Online. It is located together with the central control panel and the COMAND Controller below the central display on the dashboard. The touch-sensitive area, made of scratch-resistant plastic in high-gloss black with a silver shadow real metal surround, blends stylishly into the interior design concept and has the look of a high-quality tablet PC. All telematics functions can be controlled intuitively using gestures or by handwriting. The touchpad therefore offers an additional input option over and above the COMAND Controller and the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control.

The multitouch sensor system recognises one and two-finger gestures such as scrolling, swiping or zooming by spreading or bringing together the fingers. To prevent incorrect entries and increase operating safety, the Mercedes-Benz engineers have developed a new recognition technology that evaluates the sensor signal three-dimensionally. Particular importance was attached to correct identification of the speed when developing the gesture recognition. The V-Class driver can therefore use slow or fast gestures, which lead to different but also reliable movements of the cursor.
Furthermore, users can input letters, symbols and numbers in their natural handwriting thanks to the character detection feature. The touchpad recognises the characters and uses them automatically - for navigation destinations, for example. This speeds up input and generates high added value. There is another advantage: the new telematics control concept with touchpad allows a reduction in the number of buttons in the head unit, making for a tidier appearance.

Ease of operation is also enhanced by three touch-sensitive buttons behind the 65 x 45 mm touch surface, which can be used to call up key functions quickly and directly: the "Back" function, the "Favourites" menu and the short audio menu. The user receives clear haptic feedback when using the operating area or the buttons. To make the system easier to use at night, both the symbols and the borders of the operating area are illuminated indirectly.

Neat and tidy command centre: instrument cluster with multifunction colour display

The instrument cluster consists of two large, analogue circular instruments, each with one small bar graph. The multifunction colour display for the on-board computer information is located between the two circular instruments and displays control and warning messages, especially those from the numerous driver assistance systems such as DISTRONIC PLUS, Traffic Sign Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. There are also comfort indications, the trip computer and messages about operating states.

Central display: high resolution and colour

The information from the telematics system is shown on a high-resolution central display. As in numerous new Mercedes-Benz passenger car models, it is free-standing and located above the central ventilation outlets and the air conditioning control panel.

Two display variants are available, depending on equipment: In combination with the Audio 20 USB or Audio 20 CD system, the monitor diagonal measures 17.8 centimetres. The frame is finished in high-gloss black. A display with a 21.3-centimetre diagonal and high-brilliance resolution is installed in combination with the COMAND Online system. In this case, the frame is galvanised in silver shadow. This display is equipped with special, bonded cover glass. The anti-glare mineral glass is directly joined to the surface of the TFT display using an optical adhesive and a lamination process, so ensuring that no air or dust can get between the display and the glass. This added complexity reduces optical distortion and reflections to almost nothing. The resulting image is particularly detailed and high in contrast.

In addition to manual brightness setting via the COMAND Online menu, both displays have a light sensor for automatic brightness control. As well as displaying telematics functions, the screen available in combination with COMAND Online can display photos and allows manual scrolling similar to a slideshow. New display forms also allow easy control when listening to music. The Coverflow function, for instance, sorts the cover images of the stored music albums in carousel-like form so that the V-Class driver can easily scroll through their music collection. This collection can be very large as there are 10.8 gigabytes of memory available for compressed audio files (mp3, wma, aac).

VI. Infotainment programme: Unique selection that caters to every need

The new V-Class comes with a choice of three infotainment systems, offering a bespoke state-of-the-art solution for all budgets and requirements. At the top of the range are the optional COMAND Online fully integrated multimedia system and the Burmester® Surround Sound system. With these, the V-Class raises the bar in its segment in terms of navigation, internet use and the enjoyment of music.

The latest generation of COMAND Online has fast 80 GB hard-disc navigation, a DVD player, internet access and numerous additional functions. It features an improved photorealistic map display, relaying of traffic data in real time, useful apps and an additional Bluetooth® profile allowing internet access using an iPhone®, for example. It is controlled using the innovative touchpad, the COMAND Controller or the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control.

Real-time traffic reports and easy internet use

In conjunction with COMAND Online the latest traffic information is transmitted to the vehicle in real time by Mercedes-Benz Live Traffic. Thanks to a special communication module, which ensures permanent connectivity to the cloud, the driver of the V-Class receives early information about problems such as traffic jams, traffic volume or other possible delays along the route, allowing them to adjust their route planning in good time.

Internet access via COMAND Online provides substantial added benefit: customers can either browse freely when the vehicle is stationary or call up a Mercedes-Benz app with pages that load extremely quickly and are also easy to use whilst driving. The integrated apps include Google™ Streetview, Google™ Panoramio, Google™ Local Search and Weather as well as the option of downloading a route previously configured on the PC using Google Maps and sent to the vehicle. Further apps can be enabled via the Mercedes Online Shop (www.shop.mercedes-benz.com).

Audio 20 USB and Audio 20 CD

There are two further audio systems to choose from in the shape of Audio 20 USB (standard) and Audio 20 CD (optional). Standard features on the entry-level Audio 20 USB radio include the twin tuner for interference-free reception and a universal interface for Bluetooth, USB, AUX-in and SD cards. It allows mobile audio devices such as MP3 players or iPods® to be connected to the vehicle's telematics architecture.

The Audio 20 CD system also has an MP3-compatible CD player and, as an option, can be combined with the Burmester® Surround Sound system, Convenience Telephony in the centre console and digital radio (DAB). For the navigation system there is also an optional pre-installation package with GPS receiver, interlinked satellite navigation and aerials.

Burmester® Surround Sound system for an exceptional music experience

The optional Burmester® Surround Sound system offers music lovers an acoustic experience that is unparalleled in this segment. Optimised for the vehicle, this sound system features 16 high-performance speakers including a bass reflex loudspeaker and a 10-channel DSP amplifier with a total output of 640 watts for first-class "Feelgood Sound".

VII. Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive: Safety assistance systems on board

Like all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the new V-Class features an extensive range of safety equipment, including numerous innovative driver assistance systems based on sophisticated radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors, first introduced under the name "Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive" in the new E-Class and S-Class. They reduce the risk of hazards such as strong crosswind gusts, the blind spot or insufficient distance to other vehicles to an absolute minimum. The new full size MPV is even as easy to park as a compact car. The intelligently inter-networked assistance systems enhance both comfort and safety – and make the V-Class the safest vehicle in its class.

The new full size MPV is equipped as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn against inattention and drowsiness, and Crosswind Assist. With a relatively large and long side area compared with other passenger car models, full size MPVs are more susceptible to the effects of strong crosswinds. Crosswind Assist counters these effects to protect those inside the new eight-seater V-Class. It assists the driver and can compensate for the effects of wind by applying the brakes on the front and rear wheels on the side of the vehicle facing the wind.

Further assistance systems are available as optional extras. Like Crosswind Assist, most of these are available in this segment for the first time.

Parking made easy: Active Parking Assist

The V-Class makes parking a full size MPV an easy and stress-free affair. Active Parking Assist enables automated parking with active steering and brake intervention in both parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. It is an enhanced version of the PARKTRONIC system with Parking Guidance. What's more, the system is also able to manoeuvre the vehicle out of parallel parking spaces all by itself with automatic steering and brake control, assuming the vehicle was parked there automatically previously. This system makes the V-Class unique in its segment.

Everything in view, everything under control: the 360° camera The 360° camera is another USP for the V-Class within its segment. It can be set to switch on automatically when reverse gear is engaged. Four networked short-range cameras are used to provide a bird's-eye view of the V-Class on the central display, allowing a realistic all-round view when parking and manoeuvring. Consequently, even obstacles located below the window line of the V-Class and outside the driver's range of vision can be detected. This helps when approaching kerbs, for example. One camera is mounted centrally at the front end in the radiator grille, plus there is one camera in each of the exterior mirrors and a further camera in the tailgate handle. The virtual viewpoint calculated based on the camera images covers an area of around 3 metres ahead of and behind the vehicle and 2.5 metres on either side of the vehicle.

The display can show various views in addition to the bird's-eye view, including PARKTRONIC information, additional guide lines and steering lines to make manoeuvring easier, and the vehicle's range of movement when the driver turns the steering wheel. If a trailer coupling is fitted, there is also a special view available when reverse gear is engaged to make it easier to manoeuvre the ball head up to the drawbar.

For an even better all-round view: Blind Spot Assist

Thanks to two short-range sensors in the rear bumper, the radar-based Blind Spot Assist can detect vehicles in the driver's blind spot – when changing lanes or overtaking, for example. In such situations, the system gives the driver an audible and visual warning. The warning zone (blind spot) starts near the B-pillar and extends around 3.5 metres to either side of the V-Class and 3 metres beyond the back of the vehicle. The system is activated when the speed reaches 30 km/h.

Prevention of rear-end collisions: COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST

The V-Class offers a further new feature in this segment in the shape of a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, which reduces the risk of rear-end collisions. At speeds above 7 km/h, the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST sensor system monitors the traffic area ahead of the vehicle - the distance to a stationary obstacle in the direction of travel up to a speed of 70 km/h, and the distance and speed of approach to vehicles in front up to a speed of 200 km/h. If there is a risk of a collision with moving or stopping vehicles, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST gives the driver a visual and audible warning, and calculates the braking power required to avert the collision in the best-case scenario. Braking is initiated at the moment the driver of the V-Class clearly presses the brake pedal.

The safest by a distance: thanks to DISTRONIC PLUS

The DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control system in the V-Class is the first radar-based assistance system to be offered in this segment. It makes the driver's job easier in heavy traffic and also helps to prevent rear-end collisions. To this end, the system controls the speed at the level preselected by the driver between 0 and 200 km/h when the lane is clear. If the radar sensor system detects a slower-moving vehicle within a range of around 200 metres, DISTRONIC PLUS reduces the speed and follows the vehicle in front, maintaining the pre-programmed desired distance. The adaptive cruise control accelerates the V-Class back up to the desired speed when the driver moves into a clear lane or when the vehicle in front increases its speed and the driver follows it whilst maintaining the desired distance.

DISTRONIC PLUS makes life easier for the driver of the V-Class, particularly in stop-and-go traffic. If the system detects the risk of a rear-end collision, it gives the driver a visual and audible warning, and it calculates the braking pressure required for the adaptive Brake Assist to stop the V-Class in time. This braking assistance is available as soon as the driver presses the brake pedal.

The DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control can brake the V-Class with a deceleration of up to 4 m/s² and – if required – to a standstill. The system is then reactivated when the driver either actuates the cruise control lever or briefly presses the accelerator. As DISTRONIC PLUS is a convenience system that only brakes the vehicle with moderate deceleration and also only accelerates the vehicle to a limited extent, the driver receives a visual and audible warning and is prompted to intervene if greater deceleration is required. If the driver applies the brakes following this prompt, adaptive Brake Assist (BAS) intervenes to assist the driver.

Helps to prevent unnoticed lane changes: Lane Keeping Assist

The camera-based Lane Keeping Assist can detect the risk of a vehicle leaving its lane unintentionally and warn the driver by making the steering wheel vibrate. To this end, the system evaluates the images provided by a camera positioned behind the windscreen, which monitors the lane markings. Based on these data and on the activity on the part of the driver that it registers, Lane Keeping Assist determines whether the vehicle is leaving its lane intentionally or unintentionally. The system is active at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h.

Wrong-way warning function to assist the driver: Traffic Sign Assist

Another system Mercedes-Benz uses to help prevent accidents is Traffic Sign Assist, available in conjunction with COMAND Online. The system detects speed-limit signs and no-overtaking signs and can warn the driver if it detects no-entry signs. To do this, the camera inside the windscreen monitors the road signs, including those on overhead gantries or at road works. The image data are compared with the navigation system information and can be displayed both in the instrument cluster and on the COMAND display map view.

If the camera does not detect any speed-limit signs or if a speed limit no longer applies, the legally allowed maximum speed based on the navigation data is displayed. If a no-entry sign is detected, the system's wrong-way warning function gives the driver a visual and audible warning – an effective way of helping to reduce serious accidents caused by "wrong-way drivers".







Credits: Daimler AG

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