While sitting in that watering hole I rarely visit, the conversation – as it does – turned to my chosen steed for the week and then towards its replacement and, upon learning that would be the Mercedes-Benz V-Class 300d, one soul suggested a lad’s trip to Cape Town.
While that would have been an easy call considering the Business Class level of luxury in the V300d, more practical considerations meant the idea had to be relegated to the ‘dream on’ category – still, a couple of the lads did venture out when the vehicle arrived to test the comfort and, having expressed their satisfaction, returned to the venue for a small libation.
The V300d in full luxury mode is not your normal ‘Mom’s Taxi’ type of people mover, having only four seats (option – standard is five seats) in the rear. Rather it is geared for an individual family that likes to travel or for more serious business use – and, given it has full wi-fi capability and a pop-up table/desk can easily become a mobile office.
The rear seats are easy to move and can be changed from ‘theatre’ style to conference (facing each other) in a matter of moments, with masses of leg and shoulder room in any of the configurations while, upfront, the driver and front passenger have much the same in terms of space even if their seats do not swivel.
With the panoramic sunroof open on a warm summer’s night, it does rather make you feel like you are reaching for the stars.
No question, it is a big vehicle – 5 140 mm long and 1 928 mm wide – but, kitted with the full surround system of cameras squeezing in and out of those miniscule parking bays favoured by shopping centres and parking garages is no problem at all.
From the height of the driver’s seat, you can see for miles and miles and, such is the ease of operation, it takes little time to forget you are driving a behemoth.
The V-Class was originally launched in 2015, facelifted in 2019 and then gained the 300d in the family, this equipped with the four-cylinder OM 654 engine, with a 2,0-litre displacement and offering 176 kW of power complimented by 500 Nm of torque.
In the acceleration phase, the V 300d delivers an additional 30 Nm of torque and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7,9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 220 km/h.
So, it is no slouch and we surprised a few ‘wannabes’ with the responsive acceleration and pulling power up the hills.
Driven through a 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission the Dynamic Select switch allows the driver to switch between ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ drive programs and customise the gear shifting characteristics. The ‘Manual’ mode allows the driver to shift manually using the Direct Select steering wheel paddles.
The Exclusive line comes standard with the customisation options such as the panoramic sunroof, rear climatised seats and centre console with a built-in drinks cooler. To complement the high level on individualisation the V-Class customers enjoy, the Night Package is available exclusively for the V 300d.
For the driver, Intelligent LED lights provide a practical application in real driving by adjusting the headlamp range when oncoming traffic is detected. The Adaptive High Beam Assist system continuously adapts based on the road condition and, combined with the automatic braking when cruise control is on, is but a short step away from fully autonomous driving.
Safety highlights include the Driver Assist package that features PRE-SAFE, Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist and Active Brake Assist.
In addition to the Driver and Co-Driver crash bags, Thorax bags for driver and co-driver and the front window crash bags from A-B pillar come standard and additional Window bags that extend from the A-D pillar can be ordered as an option. Child locks on the rear doors ensure that the little ones do not open the Electric rear sliding doors while on the move.
It also features the Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX and includes a 10,25-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Mercedes-Benz hard-disk navigation.
The standard Burmester sound system also comes standard on all V 300 d models. The 16-speaker surround sound system brings impressive sound to every seat in the V-Class thanks to the multichannel surround sound technology. The integrated voice amplification system also ensures the driver and front passenger can converse comfortably with rear passengers, regardless of the distance between them.
I was, however, a tad underwhelmed by the fuel consumption. Mercedes-Benz claim 8,8 l/100 km with an average of 796 km from the 70-litre tank. On my test route of tow, urban and highway calculated by the onboard computer, the best was 9,4 l/100 km.
Still, Cape Town from Port Shepstone would have needed only one stop.
Maybe one day!