Stuttgart - The Mercedes-Benz V-Class luxury bus and camper range has been given a comprehensive makeover that includes new engines and driver assist gadgets.

It’s been given an exterior facelift too, which follows the usual redesigned front bumper script, but the most interesting change in our book is the AMG Line styling grade, which gets a single-slat grille with chrome pins, just like the company’s AMG Line passenger cars.

Two new colours - Graphite Grey and Hyacinth Red - and fresh alloy wheels, up to 19 inches and with high-sheen finishes, have also been thrown into the mix for good measure, while the cabin has been glammed up with turbine-look air vents, redesigned instrument dials and a new leather colour called Tartufo.

A luxurious trim grade called Exclusive Line joins the range, featuring S-Class inspired second-row seats with massage, climate control and full recline functions.

Brawny new diesel engine

Beneath the bonnet, the Vito is now offered with the new-generation OM 654 four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, available in two output levels: in the V250d it produces 140kW and 440Nm and in the V300d it’s good for 176kW and 500Nm, with an additional 30Nm on command in overdrive.

Furthermore, Merc’s 9G-Tronic automatic transmission is now available for the first time.

There will also be a fully-electric version of the V-Class, which Mercedes will announce at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March.

In terms of driving gizmos, Active Brake Assist, which can reduce the severity of a collision with the vehicle in front, is available for the first time, as is a new Highbeam Assist Plus system.

Crosswind Assist and Attention Assist are standard features.

The new V-Class is set to go on sale in South Africa in the third quarter of this year.

IOL Motoring