Like the Ford Transit and Tourneo, there’s little shame in sharing roots with the latest crop of commercial vehicles, and you’ll do well to spot those CV underpinnings here. The cabin is plush with soft-touch materials all around the cabin.
The V-class sports a range of new-to-the-class technology, including an advanced Comand system that incorporates a rather unintuitive track pad in addition to the familiar dial, and a self parking system that, when specified with an automatic gearbox, takes care of the throttle and brakes as well as steering.
The interior is an undeniable improvement in materials used, fit and finish than the Viano. Seven seats are standard, but two rows of three seats and a four-seat arrangement allowing occupants to face each other will feature on the options list. Tactile materials that are soft to the touch are used on pretty much every exposed panel, but bizarrely the Comand system surround feels rather low-rent.
Other useful additions include a split opening tailgate, storage crates in the rear parcel shelf and a range of cameras that can provide 180-degree views front or rear and a 360-degree bird's-eye view
The V250 model tested here replaces the V6 turbodiesel offered in the Viano, which is a significant improvement on that model’s torque output but at the same time matches its 0-62mph time. The engine is refined and smooth, and while we’ve been critical of the 2.1-litre engine in a similar tune in the new C-class, the refinement offered here is still class leading.
Agility Select, an option on automatic models, allows the driver to select from three throttle and gearshift maps, the sportiest of which offers 13bhp and 30lb ft of overboost.
While the steering is vague, the ride is comfortable, however our first drive was on the generally smooth roads of Germany. We'll reserve full judgement until the UK models arrive, which will feature standard-fit adaptive damping rather than the steel springs on our German-spec test car. What did impress us, though, is the precision of the 7G-Tronic transmission and the firm and progressive brake pedal.