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29.10.2004 Mercedes-Benz Viano and Vito Available with Particulate Filter

Viano Vito
  • First vehicles in this segment with a particulate filter
  • Further improvement in exhaust quality
  • Filter system without additives; very high operating mileage

Diesel models of the Mercedes-Benz Viano and Vito now have no smoke emissions: with immediate effect, the variants equipped with a diesel engine are the first vehicles in this segment to become available with a particulate filter. The particulate filter can initially be ordered for the Viano 2.0 CDI (80 kW/109 hp) and Viano 2.2 CDI (110 kW/150 hp), as well as the corresponding models Vito 111 CDI and Vito 115 CDI with an EU 4/III classification. Deliveries will commence in January 2005. The additional cost for the particulate filter is 695 Euro plus Value Added Tax.

Controlled combustion of the particles without additives

The new emission control system consists of a combined oxidation catalytic converter and a silicon carbide particulate filter. Temperature and pressure sensors monitor the load status of the filter. The filter is regenerated by controlled combustion of the filtered particles at regular intervals. During the process the exhaust temperature is increased to more than 550 degrees Celsius, either automatically a high engine loads and engine speeds or by metered post-injection of diesel fuel.

No additives are required for regeneration of the filter. No filter replacement is necessary as part of the vehicle’s service intervals. The particulate filter system developed by Mercedes-Benz remains effective over a very high vehicle mileage, a major difference versus other processes. Since their presentation in summer 2003 the new Mercedes-Benz Viano and Vito have remained the only vehicles of their type which are optionally available with an EU 4/III exhaust emissions classification.

Text & photos: DaimlerChrysler

09.07.2003 The Mercedes-Benz Viano - In Depth

For family, leisure or business - and much more

- A successful combination of comfort, quality and safety
- Two wheelbases, three vehicle lengths
- Two diesel and two petrol engines developing between 80 kW (109 hp) and 160 kW (218 hp)

If you're looking for variability, versatility and a large number of variants, look no further than another "v", the Mercedes-Benz Viano. Three equipment lines - FUN, TREND and AMBIENTE, plus the MARCO POLO camper van version - provide the wide range of variants. Three vehicle lengths and a total of four different engines - two CDI and two V6 petrol-driven units developing from 80 kW (109 hp) to160 kW (218 hp) - make the Viano extremely versatile. And a seat-rail system, a broad spectrum of possible seating configurations and a choice of equipment packages - from Bike to Business - ensure that the new MPV also boasts impressive variability.
Designed and developed from a totally clean slate, the Viano fills the position in the model range vacated by the V-Class. The new model will be built in Vitoria, Spain, where DaimlerChrysler's plant has been expanded significantly and adapted specially for production of the new Mercedes-Benz. Versatility and spaciousness in one

An extremely wide range of possible uses influenced the development process as early as the basic concept stage. The noticeably higher number of available variants sets the Viano apart in its class, a status reinforced by its striking design, well thought-through interior, wide range of engines and dynamic yet safe and smooth driving characteristics, which set new standards in this vehicle category.

The Viano will be available in two wheelbases (3200 mm and 3430 mm) in conjunction with two overhang variations, creating vehicle lengths of 4748 mm, 4993 mm and 5223 mm. The wheelbase of the basic Viano is 200 mm longer than that of the outgoing V-Class and the overall length is 88 mm greater.

The bonnet of the Viano, which is likewise longer than that of its predecessor, can point to a considerably greater energy absorption potential, which the driver and front passenger will appreciate in the event of a frontal impact. In the interior, the extra vehicle length has been put to good use in allowing substantially greater space between the seats and larger luggage capacity. As a result, comfort and practicality have grown in equal measure.

The FUN version comes as standard with five seats, rising to as many as seven in its extra-long variant. The bed extension allows the rear bench seat to be converted into a comfortable bed. The TREND and AMBIENTE lines are fitted with six individual seats, which can be increased to eight with the use of three-person bench seats (optional). The MARCO POLO camper van has four seats as standard, and an additional seat can be fitted if desired. An optional double bed can be accommodated in the pop-up roof, which can be operated electrohydraulically with the optional Easy Up function.

Sporty, practical and ready to do business: the Viano is available with three equipment packages - BIKE, LIFE and BUSINESS - which put the focus on three different areas. The BIKE package includes a rear bicycle carrier and a bicycle tool set; LIFE gives the Viano the extra benefits of a second sliding door, folding table and a 12-volt refrigerator box, among other things, and the BUSINESS package features the control and display system COMAND, mobile phone pre-wiring and an office bag offering secure storage for a laptop computer and accessories.

A choice of four engines and two transmissions

The Viano driver can choose from two CDI diesel and two V6 petrol engines, all of which are longitudinally mounted in the front of the vehicle. The diesel units both have a 2.2-litre displacement, and develop 80 kW (109 hp) or 110 kW (150 hp). The petrol-driven powerplants, meanwhile, have a 3.2-litre displacement and deliver 140 kW (190 hp) or 160 kW (218 hp).

The use of turbochargers with variable nozzle turbines and an increase in the injection pressure to 1600 bar have pushed the output and torque of the diesel engines far beyond the figures recorded by their predecessors with the same displacement. The market launch of the Viano will make diesel engines available for the first time in this vehicle segment which already meet the stricter EU4 exhaust emissions standards yet to come into force.

The petrol power units, which have already proved their credentials in various Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series, demonstrate outstanding agility combined with impressively smooth running characteristics. They already meet the latest exhaust emissions control standards (EU4/I), thanks to dual ignition, exhaust gas recirculation and two catalytic converters.

The diesel engines are linked up as standard with a six-speed manual transmission, whilst the petrol variants come with a five-speed automatic as standard. The automatic transmission is available as an option with the diesel engines.

The standard-fitted active service system ASSYST and the lower number of parts requiring service result in noticeably reduced maintenance costs, especially for the CDI variants. On average, the Viano only has to go in for service every 30,000 kilometres (or once a year).

Customers will also welcome the advantages of the Viano in terms of insurance costs. An easy-repair construction, cost-effective repair methods and the lack of high-cost components in key collision areas pave the way for a favourable insurance rating and reasonably priced minor-damage repairs.

Enhanced comfort and pleasure, combined with safety:
a great driving experience comes as standard

Engines which demonstrate exceptional agility across the whole performance range combine with carefully spaced transmission and final-drive ratios to form the basis for responsive driving characteristics. The switch to rear-wheel drive has helped optimise driving pleasure, improving the traction and directional stability compared with the predecessor model in all road conditions and with any type of load. Added to which, passenger-car driver assistance and safety systems such as ESP, ABS, ASR, BAS and electronic brake force distribution (EBV) are fitted as standard and also play a significant role. An exceptionally comfortable rear-axle self-levelling air suspension system can be ordered as an option in conjunction with comfort-optimised steel suspension for the front axle. This chassis package comes as standard with the AMBIENTE line.

Indeed, the Viano can boast a high level of standard equipment in every respect, with tinted glass all round, power windows at the front, power vent windows at the rear, steering column with adjustment for reach and height, driver and front-passenger airbags, central locking with radio remote control and attachment points for roof-mounted carrier systems all on the list. Thorax sidebags and windowbags are optional extras.

The design:
Distinctive, but still a typical Mercedes

Stylistically, too, the Viano is a totally new vehicle and easily distinguishable from its predecessor. Its profile view has taken on an extra dynamic edge, with its wedge-shaped contours rising up from front to rear. Striking wheel cut-outs support the powerful styling of the wide-set chassis.

"The design of the Viano meets the standards we have set ourselves and fits into a pre-defined vision. The design of our full-size van successfully blends an exemplary use of space with a level of emotional appeal which exceeds the norm in this vehicle class. The Viano's silhouette exudes excitement and energy," explains Peter Pfeiffer, head of design at Mercedes-Benz.

The side view of the Viano may underline its distinctive identity within the model range, but from the front the new MPV bears all the hallmarks of a Mercedes. The headlamps, grille, harmonious lines from the bumper to the front windscreen and the flowing transition into the sides are all unmistakeable. Plus, the integrated bumpers, flush-fitting glass with concealed C-pillars and the design of the rub strips all identify the Viano immediately as a born-and-bred Mercedes-Benz.

The Viano's striking rear end is characterised by the large, vertically arranged light units, which enhance the styling of the generously sized load compartment opening with its low sill.

Body and safety:
Always a step ahead

The Viano has a self-supporting unitised body structure and the body forms a single load-bearing unit with the vehicle frame. The two wheelbases are created by alterations to the length of the side members from the C-pillars back. Overhangs of two different lengths account for the three vehicle lengths. The sliding doors - on the driver's side, or on the driver's and front passenger's sides - and the rear door, which is available either as a tailgate or with hinged doors, provide additional body variants

Smooth, rounded forms merge into the flush-bonded windows to ensure not only stylistic homogeneity, but also a Cd value of 0.33 - extremely impressive for its class.

The safety of the vehicle occupants took top priority in the development of the Viano. Detailed simulation-based calculations ensured that the crash resistance, rigidity, strength and flexural and torsional characteristics of all the vehicle variants were optimised as early as the design phase. Before the first vehicle could take to the road in prototype form, powerful computers had completed a process of virtual optimisation on all body structures to provide the best possible protection in frontal, offset, lateral and rear-end impacts, as well as in the roof drop and rollover tests. Subsequent real-life testing using test vehicles was therefore simply a matter of fine-tuning.

The seat mountings are anchored on the side members and the cross members, which are welded to the floor plate. The A-, B- and C-pillars, side walls and rear wings, sides of the roof frame and side door sills join forces to create an extremely robust passenger compartment. The rigidity of this safety cell has been designed to complement the enormous potential energy absorption of the front-end structure.

The front section of the body consists of a front-end assembly containing two deformation boxes, which are fixed to the front ends of the side members. In the event of an impact, these absorb maximum kinetic energy and in minor collisions prevent damage to the side members of the frame. Behind the front-end assembly is the engine, mounted longitudinally on a subframe, and the front-axle module including the steering and suspension.

Detailed analysis has allowed the roof structure, which consists of a front and rear roof frame and horizontal roof bows, to be optimised and reinforced against the effects of shaking and vibrations. The attachment of roof-mounted carrier systems was a consideration in the development of even the entry-level model. Roof rails, and glass tilting/sliding sunroofs in the front and rear compartments are all available as an option.

The generously-sized front, side and rear windows are flush-bonded. The windscreen is made of laminated glass and is a load-bearing element of the passenger compartment. The side windows come with tinted glass as standard and the passenger compartment can also be ordered with a dark-tinted option.

Like the sliding door and tailgate, the wide-opening driver's and front passenger doors have been designed with a steel sandwich construction which optimises rigidity and keeps weight to a minimum. The large side sliding door - 985 mm in width x 1240 mm in height - makes loading and unloading even bulky goods that much easier. It can also be locked and unlocked by radio remote control in the same way as the tailgate. A new feature allows the sliding door and tailgate to be locked and unlocked independently of the front doors.

The tailgate has an opening angle of around 90 degrees and is fitted on both sides with dual-purpose gas-filled struts, which serve as a limiter for the opening angle and aid the closing process. The tailgate is also perfectly equipped to accommodate the Mercedes-Benz bicycle rack available as an accessory.

Engines, transmissions and chassis:
Creating a powerful impression

The Viano can be ordered with one of two four-cylinder in-line CDI diesel engines or one of a pair of V6 petrol-driven power units.

The V6 engines

The torquey and flexible V6 power units feature two intake valves and one large exhaust valve (41 mm in diameter), plus a balancer shaft. They have already made a name for themselves in various Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series, displaying smooth running characteristics and adding extra pleasure and verve to the driving experience. The 140 kW (190 hp) variant develops torque of 270 Nm over an engine speed range from 2750 rpm to 4750 rpm, whilst its 160-kW ( 218 hp) sibling pushes this figure up to 305 Nm between 2800 and 4750 rpm.

The compact crankcase in the V6 engines (with a cylinder angle of 90 degrees) is constructed out of an environment-friendly smelted aluminium alloy in a new process known as High Pressure Die Casting (HPDC) and weighs only 26.7 kg. HPDC is significantly more precise than conventional methods and reduces the number of subsequent processing steps otherwise required. Also new are the cylinder liners, which are made from Silitec - an aluminium-silicon alloy - and reduce exhaust emissions and oil consumption with their homogenous surface structure.

The petrol engines available for the Viano are equipped with the Bosch Motronic ME 2.8 system, which communicates with the control units in the transmission and the ESP dynamic handling system. Dual ignition works in tandem with large valve cross sections to cut fuel consumption, thus improving emissions figures, and also helps push replacement intervals for the long-life spark plugs up to 100,000 km.

The Viano V6 engine can cope with exhaust gas recirculation rates which lower fuel consumption and deliver improved emissions quality accordingly. The stable combustion also happens to produce an extremely high ignition retard potential, which helps to heat up the catalytic converters quickly in the warm-up phase with the result that their effects are felt sooner. With two catalytic converters close to the engine and two in the underfloor area, the V6 power unit already meets the EU4/I emissions control standards yet to come into force.

An integrated quality assurance concept which begins with engine production - at the Mercedes-Benz engine plant in Bad Cannstatt, Stuttgart - lays the foundations for a low-maintenance and extended service life. For example, automated leak test rigs are integrated into the assembly process. The concept also includes innovative testing processes, which carry out checks on the engine's mechanical system, ignition, injection and full range of sensors in a matter of 60 seconds. When out on the road, an on-board diagnosis system monitors the signals sent out by the sensors and any faults can be noted when the vehicle goes in for a service. Finally, the active service system ASSYST constantly monitors the oil level when the vehicle is in operation and uses the information it collects to calculate how much oil is required and how many kilometres remain until the next oil change is due. Depending on how the vehicle is used, oil change intervals can stretch to as much as 30,000 km (or once a year).

The CDI engines

The Viano can be ordered with a choice of four-cylinder in-line diesel engines with second-generation CDI technology which have already proved their mettle in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. In both of the variants available for the Viano, the engine output is considerably higher than in the predecessor models, rising from 75 kW (102 hp) to 80 kW (109 hp) and, most noticeably in the more powerful diesel variant, from 90 kW (125 hp) to 110 kW (150 hp).

The driver senses the hike in output at lower engine speeds in particular, thanks to the extra agility of the engine and the added driving pleasure it provides. The entry-level diesel unit places 270 Nm at the driver's disposal from 1600 rpm to 2500 rpm, whilst the range-topping engine develops 330 Nm from 1800 rpm to 2400 rpm.

In both engines the higher output ratings can be attributed mainly to the use of a turbocharger with a variable nozzle turbine. The blades are adjusted via a logic-controlled electronic system, which significantly reduces backpressure as the engine nears its rated output. The adjustment of the blades also produces improvements in the build-up of charge pressure, which the driver senses in the form of increased responsiveness. Added to which, "turbo lag" is significantly reduced, thanks to an increase in the charge pressure at engine speeds under 1800 rpm.

Injection pressure of 1600 bar is another reason for the improved performance figures, with the necessary fuel injected at high speed through the small nozzle openings necessary to control emissions. Longer injection times would lead to a greater build-up of heat and thus less efficient combustion.

Despite the increased output and significantly more stringent emissions standards, the CDI engines are now even more efficient than ever. This has been achieved in part by reducing friction losses around the mechanical camshaft control and improving the efficiency of the high-pressure pump governing fuel supply. In a class-leading development, the CDI engines can be ordered with a catalytic converter near the engine and a large underfloor catalytic converter as an option to meet the EU4/III exhaust emissions standard.

The transmissions

The diesel-powered variants of the Viano are fitted as standard with a six-speed manual transmission, with the V6 power units accompanied by a five-speed automatic transmission, which can also be ordered as an option for the diesel models.

The manual transmission has already proved particularly successful in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and its gear ratios have been optimally matched to the performance characteristics of the diesel engines.

The automatic transmission - also an established star of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range - is electronically controlled and fifth gear has an overdrive ratio. The electronic control unit processes a range of different signals relaying information on the engine speed and torque, the position of the accelerator pedal, the kickdown switch and wheel speed. Shifting is calculated for extra comfort and measured according to the situation in hand. The electronics step in to prevent manual downshift if this would push the engine speed to excessive levels.

The manual and automatic transmissions are operated using an ergonomically positioned shift lever/selector lever located in the centre console of the cockpit area. The automatic transmission offers two additional safety functions: the ignition key can only be removed if the selector lever is in position "P" (parking lock) and the selector lever can only be moved from position "P" when the ignition is switched on and the brake pedal depressed.

The chassis

The Viano, with its longitudinally mounted engine and rear-wheel drive, offers two major benefits over its predecessor model (laterally-mounted engine, front-wheel drive): improved traction regardless of the load on board and optimised passive safety - the front axle and front structure play an even greater role in energy absorption in the event of an accident. And that's not to mention the well-balanced weight distribution of 50:50 between the front and rear axles.

The front module features a McPherson front axle. The load-bearing element is a subframe with a lightweight sheet steel construction, which absorbs the wheel location forces through the wishbones. The subframe also boasts effective deformation properties, helping it to aid energy absorption as well. Linked directly to the suspension strut and attached to the subframe is a torsion bar stabiliser which is matched to the different vehicle variants.

The driven diagonal swing rear axle comes as standard with steel suspension, whilst the AMBIENTE equipment line is delivered from the factory with the extra comfort of self-levelling air suspension on the rear axle. This construction can be ordered as an option for the other models and also features a rear-axle torsion bar stabiliser.

The Viano is fitted as standard with 6.5Jx16 wheels with 205/65 R 16 tyres. The AMBIENTE model leaves the factory with light-alloy wheels in the same dimensions. 225/60 R 16 tyres are available as an option for the light-alloy wheels and 7Jx17 light-alloy wheels with 225/55 R 17 tyres can also be fitted on request. In the event of a puncture, the Viano comes as standard with the TIREFIT system, complete with electric compressor. A full-size spare wheel can be ordered as an option (not available in the compact version).

The brakes

The brake system in the Viano has been adapted to the dynamic engines. The vehicle has been fitted with a proven dual-circuit hydraulic brake system in conjunction with a standard-fitted driving dynamics and brake control assistant system. The vacuum brake booster offers considerably greater brake force support than the predecessor model, allowing the Viano to boast class-leading stopping distances.

The Viano is fitted with disc brakes on all wheels; 300 mm in diameter and internally ventilated at the front axle, 296 mm in diameter at the rear. All models are equipped as standard with the dynamic handling system ESP, in which ABS (prevents the wheels from locking under braking), ASR (acceleration skid control, improves traction and assists the driver when moving off, especially on slippery road surfaces), electronic brake force distribution (prevents overbraking at the rear axle) and the hydraulic Brake Assist system (builds up full brake pressure under emergency braking, cutting stopping distances) are integral parts. The Electronic Stability Program ESP can brake individual wheels separately in critical driving situations, thus nipping oversteer or understeer in the bud.

The steering

The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering in the Viano stands out with its sensitive and comfort-oriented setting. Even small movements of the steering wheel are translated onto the road, allowing extremely precise driving. Little effort is required from the driver when cornering, parking or manoeuvring, with rear-wheel drive keeping the turning circle small - 11.8 metres in the case of the short-wheelbase variant and 12.5 metres with the longer-wheelbase model. Added to which, the steering shaft is constructed with two telescopic elements, allowing the steering column to "give" by up to 60 mm in the event of an accident.

The steering wheel can be adjusted for reach by up to 40 mm and for tilt by 4 degrees. The four-spoke steering wheel is easy to reach and, with a diameter of 390 mm, contains a full-size airbag. The steering wheel can be trimmed in leather and/or ordered as a multifunction variant as an option (fitted as standard in the AMBIENTE). The multifunction steering wheel allows the driver to carry out a range of functions without taking his or her hands off the steering wheel, including operating the radio, scrolling up and down the menu in the multifunction display and operating one of the telephones available as an accessory.

The interior:
Your wishes are granted

The Viano leaves little to be desired with an extensive range of standard equipment. Customers wishing to give their Viano an extra individual edge can choose between the TREND and AMBIENTE equipment lines or take up the option of the FUN or MARCO POLO leisure-oriented versions. Plus, there are also the BIKE, BUSINESS and LIFE equipment packages to consider - and, of course, a host of optional extras which the customer can request to add a personal touch or two to their Viano, whichever variant they have plumped for.

The driver and front-passenger area

Spaciousness starts in the front in the case of the Viano, which sets new standards in terms of ergonomics. The driving position has been set out for a 1.94-metre-tall man, in accordance with internal Mercedes-Benz design standards. A wide range of adjustment for the seats, a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel, a comfortable pedal arrangement and the optimum positioning of all controls within easy reach ensure a relaxing and, indeed, quite majestic driving experience.

The cockpit

The newly designed instrument cluster of the Viano has been further refined to offer flawless ergonomics. It houses three analogue displays - speedometer, rev counter and fuel gauge - a multifunction display and 24 indicator lights and, like the controls themselves, reflects in both form and function the philosophy of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.

On the left of the steering wheel (on left-hand-drive models) is the characteristic Mercedes-Benz rotary-type headlamp switch and the headlamp range adjuster. The radio system is located centrally in the middle of the cockpit just above an open stowage compartment. Above it are ventilation outlets and rotary-type switches for the heater and blower, or - depending on the equipment levels - the air conditioning system. On the right is an illuminated glove compartment, complete with recesses on the inside of the lockable lid designed to hold cans of drink and coins for car parks.

Much importance was attached to creating a stowage system which fulfilled customers' numerous and varying wishes and requirements. A new feature is the stowage compartment with lid located on top of the instrument panel, which can even accommodate documents in A4 format - an important addition given the wide range of possible uses for the Viano. Additional stowage areas are positioned on the left under the headlamp switch, in the lower part of the instrument panel and in the area around the radio. Plus, there is the 11-litre capacity of the lockable glove compartment with pen holder and integrated stowage space for the cigarette lighter. A cup holder is located on the passenger side of the cockpit as well as in the generously sized centre console, which can also accommodate a cassette box or CD insert, for example. A spectacles box in the overhead control panel and large compartments in the driver's and front passenger doors, which can also accommodate a 1.5-litre bottle, round off the range of stowage facilities in the front of the car.

The driver's seat console is fitted with a ruffled pocket, whilst the on-board tool kit can be found in a polystyrene box in the area of the rear side panelling. The FUN and MARCO POLO model variants are fitted with a pull-out stowage compartment in the bed extension. The passenger compartment is equipped with folding multifunction units offering a can holder, ashtray and a holder for drinks glasses, and - in the rear - with a 12-volt power socket.

The seats

The driver's and front-passenger seats are adjustable for reach and fully adjustable for height, backrest angle and seat cushion angle. A swivel seat can be ordered as an option (standard in the MARCO POLO), as can an electrically adjustable seat with memory function.

The battery is housed in the console of the driver's seat. The optional CD changer is located in the front-passenger seat console, which houses the auxiliary battery in the MARCO POLO. In addition, the seat consoles in the passenger compartment also serve as stowage areas.

There are numerous different ways in which the variable seating in the passenger compartment can be configured, including individual seats, two and three-person bench seats (which can be converted into beds in the FUN and MARCO POLO versions), and a face-to-face configuration. The individual seats with integrated 3-point seat belts, 4-way head restraints and armrests weigh only 29 kilograms.

Similarly to the construction used in aircraft interiors, the seats are anchored to guide rails with quick-release locks and can glide along the rails to the required position. This allows the seats in the Viano to be adjusted or removed remarkably easily and the interior to be adapted quickly to changing requirements. In addition, the rail anchorage system allows the seats to be moved up and down the vehicle. The rails have closely spaced steps (2.5 centimetres) which mean that a table, refrigerator box or - with the seats removed - load retaining elements can be attached to them as well.

The luxurious individual seats are designed to provide comfort over long distances and are fitted with integral 3-point seat belts, armrests on both sides and 4-way head restraints. They can also be reclined to 38 degrees and converted into a table (with the backrest folded forward). The individual seats come with velour covers as standard, whilst leather upholstery is available as an option (standard in the AMBIENTE). In addition, they can be put into a "package" position - where the seat cushion and backrest are both folded vertically - and stowed away in this position without taking up much room. One of the features lifted from the predecessor model is the unique locking mechanism, which enhances safety for the passengers. Here, the backrest can only be unfolded again when the seat anchorage is locked firmly into place.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning

The TREND, AMBIENTE and MARCO POLO variants are fitted as standard with the TEMPMATIC air conditioning system. TEMPMATIC boasts a five-stage blower, automatic temperature control, a dust/activated charcoal filter and a residual engine heat utilisation function. Available as an option, meanwhile, is the THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system, which has a fully adjustable blower and allows the quantity and distribution of the air to be controlled automatically.

The passenger compartment is well served by a front-to-rear vent with side-mounted outlets as well as a centrally-located air duct in the floor unit. The TREND and AMBIENTE variants are also fitted with a rear heater, which can also be ordered as an option in the other models and consists of a heat exchanger with three-stage blower. The heat exchanger is integrated into the water circuit of the front heater. The rear unit is operated using controls in the rear of the vehicle. An air conditioning system can also be ordered as an option for the rear of the Viano, which keeps the temperature at a constant, comfortable level. Ventilation ducts in the roof lining along the top of the windows are fitted with four adjustable vents and ensure efficient indirect climate control for the rear passengers.

Information and navigation

The SOUND 40 PRO system with integrated navigation function and Internet access via the Mercedes-Benz Portal is a new feature in the Viano. This innovative communications centre offers access to e-mail, fax and SMS and thus to numerous traffic information services. The business user can take advantage of a host of communications devices which he or she may previously have had to do without when on the move.

In addition, the Viano can also be ordered with a range of other radios and navigation systems, such as COMAND, which have become a familiar and trusted part of Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series.

Equipment packages

The BIKE equipment package turns the Viano into a practical service and transportation vehicle for bicycles. It includes a rear-mounted rack for two bicycles (can be extended to hold 4 bicycles as an option), a socket for connecting up the carrier (a removable trailer coupling is available as an option) and a high-quality tool set with open-end spanners and Allen keys as well as bicycle tyre-repair materials.

The LIFE equipment package is full of things which make travelling all the more pleasant. A second sliding door, for instance, helps enhance the comfort levels, whilst a practical folding table and stainless-steel vacuum flask with carry strap are handy details. The refrigerator box and rubbish box are the perfect companions for a long journey and the umbrella is within easy reach to keep the Viano passengers dry when they venture outside. The LIFE package is available for the compact and long versions of the Viano TREND and AMBIENTE and for the long version of the Viano FUN.

The BUSINESS package transforms the Viano into a company car for discerning individualists. The professional control and display system COMAND, mobile phone pre-wiring and elegant luxury details, such as the secure office bag for a laptop computer, make the Viano both the ideal companion on long business trips and perfectly equipped as a comfortable customer shuttle bus. The BUSINESS package is available exclusively for the Viano TREND and AMBIENTE lines.

Perfection under the Spanish sun

The Viano will be produced at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Vitoria. The used surface area at the plant, located in the heart of the Basque Country in the north-west of Spain, has more than doubled in size and now spans some 600,000 square metres. The new areas were set aside first and foremost for the construction of a new final assembly hall, which is spread over 83,000 square metres, and for the supplier park (I-Park), which covers 21,000 square metres. In addition, the paintshop has been extended significantly and a new administration building has been built.

The now state-of-the-art DaimlerChrysler plant in Vitoria was built in the early 1950s, but only the old office building now remains as a stylistic relic of an era when the DKW 800 S van was produced in Spain. After a period in which both Daimler-Benz AG, as was, and Volkswagen owned stakes in the plant, the facility was transferred into the full ownership of what is now DaimlerChrysler AG in 1976.

The V-Class and Vito have been produced here most recently, with combined unit figures hitting around 90,000 in the record-breaking year of 2001. Over 3500 people are employed at the Vitoria plant and DaimlerChrysler is the largest employer in this city of 250,000 people.

The bodyshop: clamping and fixing

The area of the plant used for the construction of the Viano bodies has been extended into two halls (on two levels) in order to accommodate state-of-the-art production robots and to make the projected capacity a viable proposition. First the side members are attached to the front and rear sections of the vehicle, and then the underbody is added. This assembly is fully manufactured at the subsidiary plant in Barcelona, where a further 700 people are employed. The side elements and roof are then welded to the floor unit, before the doors and tailgate are assembled in the final station of the bodyshop.

The right clamping and fixing concept forms the basis for a vehicle which provides all-round customer satisfaction. This concept is based on reference points which define the position in relation to one another of the metal panels which make up the body. This is essential if the interior appointments and all detachable body components are to fit together at the end of final assembly as required, without any problems and with the necessary precision.

An in-line process of checks has been incorporated into the production process in the interests of quality assurance, and these allow the body currently being worked on to be automatically inspected between the key stages of manufacture. A total of 23 inspection robots collect information from between 450 and 500 positions and compare the data with pre-determined figures. If pre-specified tolerance limits are exceeded, production is halted and corrective measures are put into action.

In order to ensure that this happens as seldom as possible, or preferably not at all, the level of automation in the bodyshop has once again been substantially increased - from 80 percent in the case of the V-Class to approximately 93 percent. Some 550 state-of-the-art robots, plus 500 welding tongs and a laser welding line work on the individual body components and produce around 7000 weld spots. The result is exceptional body rigidity. These are joined by three laser cutting machines, which cut away openings in the side and floor elements to accommodate windows and/or seating variants, according to the model variant. Having said all that, more than 400 people are still employed in the bodyshop alone, and they have been specially trained to monitor and maintain the complex machinery and installations involved.

The paintwork: a hair's breadth away

From the bodyshop, the body moves on to the paintshop. This is another area of the plant which has seen a complete overhaul over the course of the last two-and-a-half years and has been extended by almost 70 percent with construction of a new building. Despite this, operations in the paintshop continued at their usual level of precision whilst the building work was taking place. However, this is no place for grubby hands - with the entire application, from pre-treatment to the final coat of paint, no thicker than a human hair, even the slightest speck of dust would spoil the overall impression of the vehicle.

That explains why employees and visitors alike are given protective clothing to wear inside the paintshop, lending the place a laboratory-like atmosphere. And anyone entering the particularly critical areas first has to pass through air locks, where the dust in clothes and hair is blown away. A permanent overpressure is maintained here in order to prevent dirt from outside from forcing its way in and to keep the air as pure as possible.

The painting process begins with a dip pre-treatment through ten zones - instead of the previous six - in line with the latest technology. The body and cavities then pass through three zones (instead of one previously) to be sealed in cathodic drip primer coating, creating optimised corrosion protection. This is followed by the application of seam sealing and underfloor protection.

After a thorough process of exterior and interior cleaning using a newly installed blower, which removes loose particles with a pressure of 2000 bar, the paint itself can be applied. Around 200 different colours will be used over the course of a year, including everything from the six standard metallic shades for large-scale production to special finishes in company colours ordered by individual customers.

Final assembly: "Karola" and the "Trousers"

A new 83,000-square-metre hall which houses final assembly for the Viano is known as the "Trousers" on account of its appearance on the floor plan for the building. The suppliers' trucks dock in on the "inside leg", which allows them to unload their materials as close as possible to the assembly point where they are required. The suppliers do more than deliver "just in time" (in order to save on storage costs), they also run what you might call "just in sequence". This means that the equipment details ordered by the customer for the vehicle currently passing through the assembly point are ready and waiting. The most important suppliers are therefore based in the industrial park directly adjacent to the plant.

The "Karola" (from the German "Karosserielager" = body depot) is a storage facility located between the paintshop and final assembly with capacity for some 300 bodies. It serves as more than just a buffer store, re-establishing the sequence which started with the "laying of the foundations" in the bodyshop but was partly altered in the paintshop to take into account the different colour variants ordered. Maintaining this sequence with the Viano is a particularly exacting challenge: two different wheelbases and three vehicle lengths and body forms ensure that the Vitoria plant will see a previously unknown scope of standard-specification models hitting the assembly line, not to mention the equipment variants and countless accessories which may be added.

From the "Karola", the Viano models pass through the final assembly line in some eight hours, where they are given their finishing touches by 1100 workers (in two shifts) over 186 assembly cycles. In total, 1.5 million hours of training time were spent preparing the staff in Vitoria for final assembly alone in the case of the Viano and the Vito.

The assembly line moves in such a way that the right-hand side of the vehicle faces the main materials zone. This means that work can be carried out through the wide sliding door. Materials can then be delivered to the relevant areas without having to cross the assembly line. The majority of the suppliers produce their materials in the immediate vicinity of the plant. Indeed, six of these companies work in the "I-Park" on the DaimlerChrysler site in Vitoria.

Text & photos: DaimlerChrysler

14.05.2003 MB Unveils the Viano and the New Vito



The DaimlerChrysler product initiative continues: the unveiling of the Mercedes-Benz Viano heralds the arrival of a complete MPV range to replace the company's previous V-Class, Vito F and Vito Marco Polo models. The new Vito Panel Van and Crewbus models were also integrated into the overall development process. Compared to their predecessors, the new model series cover a far broader range of applications. As a result, there is a choice of three vehicle lengths (4 748 mm to 5 223 mm) and two different wheelbases (3 200 mm and 3 400 mm), with four engine models available for the Viano and five for the new Vito. The engine models on offer include either two or three CDI diesel engines, whose outputs range from 65 kW/88 hp to 110 kW/150 hp, and two six-cylinder petrol powerplants generating 140 kW/190 hp and 160 kW/218 hp, with power being transferred to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.

Active and passive safety

Achieving maximum levels of active and passive safety was given top priority during the integral development of the Viano and Vito. The new rear-wheel drive, for example, offers enhanced traction for all vehicle loads. The decision to mount the engines longitudinally opened up the possibility of further enhancing passive safety at the front end as early on as the design stage. Both Viano and Vito are equipped as standard with disc brakes all round (front: 300 mm x 28 mm internally ventilated, rear: 296 mm x 10 mm solid). The standard specification of all models also includes the ESPZ dynamic handling control system, incorporating the ABS Anti-lock Braking System, ASR acceleration skid control, electronic brake force distribution and the hydraulic Brake Assist system.

All occupants are kept firmly strapped in their seats by three-point seat belts. Belt tensioners and belt force limiters are also standard for the driver and front passenger, as is a full-size airbag on the driver's side and, depending on the model variant, on the front passenger side too. In addition to this, the list of optional extras includes a twin-size airbag for the front passenger side and windowbags, while the new thorax sidebags are available in conjunction with the optional luxury seats.

Characteristically Mercedes-Benz

The new design immediately gives away the characteristic Mercedes-Benz breeding of the new Viano and Vito. Compared to the models they replace, the side profile has taken on a noticeably more dynamic form. The headlamps, the radiator grille and the way in which the lines flow harmoniously from the bumper back to the front windscreen and blend smoothly into the side panelling are all unmistakable traits. At the rear of the vehicle, it is the vertical strips of large-sized taillights which really make the new models stand out.

The interior specification of the two new models is as refreshingly new as the exterior. Whereas the interior design of the Mercedes-Benz Vito is geared more towards the practical requirements of commercial applications, motorists looking for a little more luxury will find exactly what they are looking for in the Mercedes-Benz Viano.

The Mercedes-Benz Viano

Thanks to the exemplary ergonomics of the dashboard's design and the logical arrangement of all controls, drivers will instantly be able to find their way around the Viano. The dash-mounted selector lever or gearshift lever is ideally positioned, while the clear gauges and displays of the instrument cluster are placed within easy view of the driver. A multifunction steering wheel is available as an option, and is even fitted as standard on the AMBIENTE line. The generous standard specification can be supplemented to include further optional extras, such as leather-upholstered seats, auxiliary heating or one of the radio and navigation systems on offer.

The passenger compartment is fitted with an extremely practical rail system, whose 25-mm hole pattern allows for simple fitting, fore-and-aft adjustment and flexible repositioning of the individual seats and bench seats. In addition to this, both the individual seats and the segments of the bench seats can be folded flat or tilted fully forwards. The seats can be positioned to face in any direction, meaning that a vis-a-vis seating arrangement is also possible.

The range of design and equipment lines on offer - TREND, FUN and AMBIENTE - offers customers models which have been specifically geared towards either the needs of families, recreational activities or professional use. The MARCO POLO camper van, which is perfectly suited to daily use too, rounds off the Viano product range. The choice of models for either day-to-day driving, recreational use or luxury motoring combines with the different vehicle lengths which are available to produce a highly versatile product portfolio. Customers are also able to opt for one of the equipment packages entitled Business, Life and Bike, which feature a selection of practical optional extras for specific applications.

The Mercedes-Benz Vito

The Mercedes-Benz Vito model series is available in either a Panel Van version for transporting goods and materials, or as a Crewbus for commercial passenger transport or for mixed applications. These two variants are joined by the Vito Mixto which has been specifically designed for carrying up to six people plus large quantities of material at the same time.

The three vehicle lengths and two different roof heights which are available increase the load capacity to as much as 6.49 m3 (previously max. 4.8 m3), whilst allowing the Vito to carry loads up to 2 897 mm in length. The Panel Van's sliding doors are also large enough to allow Euro pallets, for example, to be loaded from the side by fork-lift truck. The load width between the wheel arches is 1 277 mm, allowing up to three Euro pallets to be loaded one behind the other.

The Crewbus models in the new Mercedes-Benz Vito range are also available in a choice of three vehicle lengths. This means they can carry up to eight passengers plus driver, with a luggage capacity of up to 970 litres. The pleasant ambience of the interior, the comfortable seats with integral three-point seat belts, the flexible seat adjustment plus a host of other features make the Mercedes-Benz Vito an ideal means of transport, no matter whether it's to be used as a shuttle bus for the most discerning of hotel guests or simply as an addition to an existing bus fleet.

Market launch

The new Mercedes-Benz Viano and Mercedes-Benz Vito will make their respective public debuts at the International Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf (August 29 - September 7, 2003), the IAA in Frankfurt (September 13 - 21, 2003) and the RAI Commercial Vehicle Show in Amsterdam (October 17 - 25, 2003), with order books for both model series opening before then in mid-June. The Mercedes-Benz V-Class and the old Vito van will then be replaced successively in the markets, starting in autumn 2003. Production will take place at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Vitoria, Spain, where the manufacturing facilities have been practically doubled in size in preparation. A completely new body shop equipped with 550 state-of-the-art robots has been installed there, along with a new paint shop and a new assembly line. In parallel to this, a revolutionary quality management concept is now being practised at the plant.

Text & Photos: DaimlerChrysler

26.03.2003 New Name for New V class - Viano

New V class will be offered with new name - Viano. It will be launched in Spetember 2003. We can choose among 5 versions (there will also be available a version with high roof). The new V class will have at its disposal rear-wheel drive. When it comes to engines we will have 3 modern Diesel engines (output: from 88 to 150 hp) and two petrol engines (output: 190 and 218 hp)


13.09.2002 New V class Debut 2003

The Mercedes V-class comes in the May 2003 with five different car body-variants on the market (2 different wheelbases, 2 different roof heights as well as a type camping-version with sleep possibility). The long version offers room for nine persons, the short version offers seven single seats.The Design of front headlamps is very similar to headlapms of little brother Vaneo. Also the structure of drive is new: instead of front wheel drive now rear wheel drive will be offered, instead of diagonally the engines are incorporated now along. So now also six cylinders petrol engines and Diesel CDI engines will be offered. As a Top engine, a V6-Kompressor is planned


Photos: Auto, Motor und Sport

04.08.2002 New Mercedes V class

According to German Automagazin Auto Motor und Sport the next generation of V class W639 will debut in 2003.
The new car will have at its disposal rear-wheel drive and more powerful engines. The car may be sold with new name. The car should be more comfortable and more spacious than its previous model dispite the fact that 65% of parts will be taken from models like Sprinter and Vito. The new V class will be produced in two versions (wheelbases).

Photo: Auto Motor und Sport