We go whole hog with Mercedes-Benz’s V 300 d real thing
A minibus is an absolute essential for a road trip. Or so we decided when it worked out that we had a Mercedes-Benz V 300 d on fleet, just when we needed it most.
It proved a dream test. We set off on our late, if hard-earned break through the Karoo and up the Garden Route and lived every possible driving environment in this fine executive bus. South Africa is a still stunning place. What better way to experience among the best of it, than in this limousine bus?
Mercedes of Minibuses V 300 d Fits the Bill
Whether it was gliding down Route 62 oblivious of the heat outside, exploring a road with no name’s port secrets en route splendid overnight hideaway, V 300 d did it all in the literal lap of luxury. Then it really came into its own buzzing about the beach resort, driving, just to drive and heading out for a splendid lunch or three.
Our slick silver bus looked the part. Those smart Intelligent LED headlights even adapt to oncoming traffic to leave you to drive on high beam. Striking 10-spoke 19-inch light alloys have pressure monitoring. 19-inch wheels on a bus? Yup, you heard that right! The handsome V 300 d perfectly fits the bill as the Mercedes of minibuses.
V300 d Has it All. And Then Some
To say V 300 d has it all and then some is another understatement of note. A 2019 restyle and refresh brought enhanced luxury and exclusivity. The streamlined cockpit gained elegant new upholstery and turbine air vents as part of its advances. That had hardly gone down before Merc added this latest, powerful four-pot V 300 d turbodiesel to the mix.
Front occupants are spoiled in S Cass splendor. Everything is rendered in typical avant-garde Mercedes style. You want for nothing in there. V 300 d packs Mercedes-Benz MBUX ‘My Mercedes’ 10.25 inch touchscreen Infotainment with CarPlay, Bluetooth and Mercedes-Benz hard-disk navigation.
V 300 d Lap of Luxury Under a Panoramic Roof
Add top-drawer multichannel tech Burmeister 16-speaker surround sound. It even has integrated voice amplification to ensure that the driver and front passenger can comfortably converse with the rear passengers. All under a neat double rear panoramic roof.
Two climatised black leather command chairs pamper middle row passengers with reclining and back massage. With armrests both sides and a centre console drinks cooler, they’re served by tabletops that fold out of the front seatbacks. Far easier than those picnic tables all the rage in this neck of the woods.
So Many Special Little V 300 d Touches
Anyway, our V 300 d also had auto-opening power sliding rear doors with child locks. The boot is proper, too. Closed by a remote power tailgate, it has an easy-pack shelf. The shelf really is a boon that allows you to store and pack smaller items into a pair of collapsible boxes with great ease and in reasonable security.
Powerful and efficient, the 176 kW 500 Nm two-litre four-cylinder OM654 turbodiesel has a 30 Nm overboost. Turning Merc’s tried and trusted paddle shifting 9G-Tronic automatic with Dynamic Select, it switches between comfort and sport as seamlessly as it shifts gears.
A Hoot to Drive With a Little Verve
V 300 d runs and performs as impressively as you’d expect from a Mercedes – like a dream! We were impressed to record a nine second 0-100km/h run. Overtaking agility is properly elastic for a two-ton plus bus. Performance was considerably better than anticipated and it’s a hoot to drive with a bit of spunk.
Economy is another V 300 d plus. We averaged 8.2 litres per hundred in a fair bit of mixed driving, and over 1,000 km on the open road. That’s better than claimed. Despite a load that grew and grew with wine boxes, trinkets, and acquisitions as we progressed. All gobbled up by that voluminous V cabin and boot.
Very Little to Fault on Merc’s V 300 d
This bus doesn’t miss a safety trick. It gets full Driver Assist with Distronic Cruise, Pre-Safe, Lane Keeping, Blind Spot and Active Brake, as well as Active Crosswind, High beam and Attention Assistants. Add a 360 degree camera, driver and co-driver front and thorax, front window, A to B and B to D pillar airbags.
It stars on luxury. We found very little to fault on this bus of buses. If you’re looking to shuttle up to seven people in the absolute lap of luxury, there are a few compromises you can make. But what the hell, why not go the whole hog and get the real thing? We did. It made our road trip adventure all that much more of a pleasure… – Michele Lupini
ROAD TEST: Mercedes-Benz V 300 d Avantgarde Engine: 176 kW 500 Nm 2-litre turbodiesel I4 Drive: 9-speed Automatic RWD ROAD TESTED: 0-60km/h: 4.11 sec 0-100 km/h: 9.05 sec 0-120 km/h 12.37 sec 0-160km/h: 22.42 sec 400m: 14.4 sec @ 139 km/h 80-120km/h: 6.08 sec 120-160km/h: 10.04 sec CLAIMED: VMax: 220 km/h Fuel: 8 l/100 km CO2: 205 g/km Warranty/Service: 5y 100 /7y 140K km LIST PRICE: R1.84M RATED: 9