Mercedes-Benz Viano and Vito Available with Particulate Filter
- First vehicles in this segment with a particulate
- 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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.
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 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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
MB Unveils the Viano and the New Vito
MERCEDES VITO GALLERY:
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Photos: Auto, Motor und Sport
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