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Mercedes-Benz introduces new Vito mid-size van; up to 41.3 mpg US, new front-wheel drive option

New Vito. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its new Vito model series for the mid-size van (2.5–3.2 t GVW) segment. Among the variants is the Vito 116 CDI BlueEfficiency, offering fuel consumption of 5.7 l of diesel per 100 km (41.3 mpg US).

The new Vito is also the first van in the mid-size segment to offer three different drive system variants—rear-wheel, all-wheel, and, new, front wheel drive systems. The Vito also and incorporates a broad range of innovative safety and assistance systems.

The new front-wheel drive Vito is a very light vehicle, and is being marketed at a very attractive price. The proven rear-wheel drive system is suited for jobs involving heavy loads or trailers, and situations where very dynamic handling is required. The all-wheel drive system is the ideal choice when a high degree of traction is required, especially in tough driving conditions and on unpaved roads.

OM 622 diesel for front-wheel drive. The variety of diesel engines available in the new Vito is also unique in the model’s segment. The front-wheel drive variants are equipped with a compact, transverse-mounted four-cylinder engine with 1.6-liter displacement (OM 622 turbodiesel engine). This engine is available in two performance classes: 65 kW (88 hp) and 84 kW (114 hp).

With double overhead camshaft and direct injection the turbocharged four-valve engine is an advanced design with crossflow cylinder head, low-friction coating for the cylinder liners and steel pistons with stress-relieved, and therefore low-friction, piston rings. Common-rail injection technology works with an injection pressure of max. 1600 bar; piezoelectric injection nozzles with seven holes respond exceptionally fast and with precision.

A VNT turbocharger ensures an immediate response and fast build-up of output in the lower engine speed range along with appealing performance at high revs—the compact engine behaves like a large one in terms of power delivery. An almost square design with 80 mm bore and a stroke of 79.5 mm creates the conditions for high pulling power and revving ability.

Smooth and quiet with low vibration levels, the engine is deployed with all three lengths and the three weight variants: 2.5 t, 2.8 t and 3.05 t permissible gross vehicle weights.

Emission control comes via exhaust gas recirculation, a diesel particulate filter and an oxidation catalytic converter. The engine meets the requirements of the Euro 5b+ emissions standard as they currently stand. It is already ready for the future Euro 6 emissions standard.

The new OM 622 is available with two power ratings:

  • Vito 109 CDI, 65 kW (88 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 230 N·m at 1500–2000 rpm
  • Vito 111 CDI, 84 kW (114 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 270 N·m at 1500–2500 rpm

OM 651 with rear or all-wheel drive. In cases where demands on performance are high, use will be intensive, high gross vehicle weights are required, trailer towing will be demanding or plenty of traction is needed to deal with lots of weight, the new Vito with rear-wheel drive and the powerful Mercedes-Benz OM 651 engine is the option. It works in practically every car or van from Mercedes-Benz—all the way up to the S-Class. The engine has been substantially upgraded for use in the new Vito.

With a 83 mm bore and a stroke of 99 mm, the four-cylinder unit with a displacement of 2.15 liters is a long-stroke design for high pulling power. The double overhead camshaft operates a total of 16 inlet and exhaust valves and is driven by a combination of gearwheels and a short chain. Common-rail injection technology works with an injection pressure of max. 1800 bar. Fuel is injected by solenoid injectors and injection nozzles with seven holes. For all three power ratings, there is a two-stage turbocharging system. A small high-pressure turbocharger ensures good responsiveness right from low revs barely above idling. The large low-pressure turbocharger is responsible for high output at higher revs.

A Lanchester balancer with two counter-rotating shafts, moving the camshaft drive further back and a two-mass flywheel contribute to the engine’s smooth running.

The bottom two power ratings for this engine likewise meet the requirements of the Euro 5b+ emissions standard as they currently stand. Emission control comes courtesy of exhaust gas recirculation, a diesel particulate filter and an oxidation catalytic converter. In its highest power rating the engine already complies with the future Euro 6 emissions standard.

Because this emissions standard cannot be attained by engine modifications alone, Mercedes-Benz deploys SCR technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) with BlueTEC engine technology and injects AdBlue into exhaust gases to control them.

The AdBlue tank on the new Vito has a capacity of around 11.5 litres. To fill the AdBlue tank a filler neck is conveniently located underneath the opening for diesel fuel.

The OM 651 is available with three power ratings:

  • Vito 114 CDI, 100 kW (136 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 330 N·m at 1200-2400 rpm
  • Vito 116 CDI, 120 kW (163 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 380 N·m at 1400-2400 rpm
  • Vito 119 BlueTEC, 140 kW (190 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 440 N·m at 1400-2400 rpm

Transmissions. A six-speed manual transmission transmits power in the new Vito with front-wheel drive and OM 622. The ratios are tuned specifically to the new Vito and cover a range from i=4.182 to 0.549 along with the need for high starting performance when laden and for less revving—and therefore more economical, quieter driving—at higher speeds.

The ECO Gear six-speed manual transmission is standard in conjunction with rear-wheel drive and the Mercedes-Benz OM 651 engine. With its wide spread and ratios from i=5.076 to 0.675 it ensures maximum traction when moving off as well as low revs—and therefore a quiet, fuel-saving driving style—at higher road speeds. Due to lifetime filling with low-friction oil the transmission now runs more smoothly and thus more economically.

The optional 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with torque converter is likewise designed for maximum fuel economy. It is available as an option for the OM 651 with the bottom and mid power rating and as standard for the most powerful version, as well as the Vito 4x4 with all-wheel drive.

The world’s only automatic transmission with torque converter and seven gears for vans is employed for the first time in the Vito. Here too those seven gears provide a wide spread with high traction at low road speeds and fewer revs at high speeds. The automatic transmission is combined with an ECO start/stop function that responds fast. Low slippage with the lock-up clutch creates a direct connection at the accelerator pedal and thus high agility.

At the same time fuel consumption is lowered. Shift points are precision-tuned to the engine characteristics. A torsional damper ensures operation is comfortable even at very low revs and provides slip control for the torque converter lock-up clutch from a low load. The development engineers have also optimized the way the oil heats up during cold running and the torque converter’s hydraulic system. This means that the oil heats up quickly to minimise friction losses after a cold start.

Fuel efficiency. The developers of the new Vito made the model extremely fuel efficient. Average NEDC diesel consumption has been reduced by around 20% compared to the predecessor model. The Vito with BlueEfficiency package is especially fuel efficient. The BlueEfficiency package can be ordered with the new rear-wheel drive Vito. It is also standard in all Vito Tourer models that have an automatic transmission, are registered as passenger cars, or are variants equipped with the model series’ most powerful engine.

All the different new Vito engine variants also benefit from a long maintenance interval of up to 40,000 km (25,000 miles) or two years.

Auxiliaries. The steering and auxiliary units were also optimized with an emphasis on low fuel consumption. The new electromechanical power steering system, for example, requires energy only when the steering wheel is turned. Because it is speed-dependent, power consumption decreases considerably at high speed.

Due to intelligent management the alternator is preferentially charged in overrun mode. When accelerating or travelling at a constant speed, therefore, all engine power is available to the drive system without restriction. The electric fuel pump controls the fuel supply on a demand basis so the rated flow is variable. The same applies to the engine oil pump. Finally, the belt-driven supercharger for the optional air conditioning is one-way and is therefore only active when the unit is switched on.

BlueEfficiency. Given all these specific measures the new Vito is intrinsically very economical. The BlueEfficiency package is available for the new Vito with OM 651 engine and rear-wheel drive and is already standard for all Vito Tourers with automatic transmission and a car registration, as well as all models with the most powerful engine (140 kW/190 hp).

BlueEfficiency comprises multiple components. The ECO start/stop function independently switches off the engine while the car is at a standstill provided that no gear is engaged and the clutch pedal is not being operated. On vehicles with the automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS in mode D it is enough to stop with the foot brake pressed.

In conjunction with ECO start/stop the new Vito is equipped with an additional buffer battery. This supports the power supply to electrical consumers when starting the engine. Alternator management has been optimized for greater efficiency. The same is true of the fuel pump which controls the supply pressure and flow rate as needed. Tires optimized for minimum rolling resistance require less energy to rotate them. Further, underbody panelling improves the aerodynamics, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

Safety and driver assistance. The Vito panel is the only van equipped with airbags and a seatbelt warning system for both the driver and front passenger. With its maximum eight airbags for the driver and passengers, the new Vito Tourer is now the new benchmark in this regard. Standard equipment in the new Vito also includes the Attention Assist system and a tire pressure monitoring system.

In a unique development in the mid-size van segment, the Crosswind Assist system is available as basic standard equipment in the new Vito model series. Crosswind Assist is able to compensate nearly fully for strong wind gusts. Additional assistance systems are available as options. Also new—and unique in the van segment as a whole—are the Active Parking Assist and Collision Prevention Assist systems. Also available is a Blind Spot Assist, which warns drivers of approaching vehicles when they switch lanes, and a Lane Keeping Assist, which prevents drivers from inadvertently leaving the lane.

The new Vito comes with halogen headlights as standard, but it can also be ordered with the optional LED Intelligent Light System (ILS). Previously, such a system was not available in the van segment. The ILS consists of LED blinkers and LED daytime driving lights, low-beams, high-beams, and cornering lights. These headlights can adjust the manner in which they distribute their beams in line with the speed of the vehicle and requirements on the road or highway.

The new Vito is scheduled to be launched in Germany in October 2014. The model will subsequently be introduced in other European countries. Prices for the Vito 109 CDI panel van will start at €17,990 (US$24,200) in Germany (excluding value-added tax).

We’re attacking in the mid-size van segment. We’re now offering new entry-level variants in our traditional markets. But we also plan to conquer new markets, such as North and Latin America, with the new Vito. The vehicle will follow in the footsteps of the Sprinter and become our second global model.

—Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans

Mercedes-Benz vans. Between the time of the Vito’s market launch in 1995 and the end of 2013 nearly 1.2 million units of the Vito have been sold. Like its predecessor, the new Vito is being built at the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in Vitoria, which is situated in the Basque region of Spain. The division invested around €190 million (US$255 million) in the plant for the model changeover in the mid size segment.

Overall unit sales at Mercedes-Benz Vans increased by +9% to 76,000 vehicles in the period April–June 2014. At €2.5 billion (US$3.4 billion), revenues were also up from the second quarter of last year (€2.4 billion). EBIT amounted to €242 million (US$325 million) (Q2 2013: €204 million), which led to an increase in the division’s return on sales from 8.4% in Q2 2013 to 9.7% in the second quarter of this year.

In terms of regional performance, Mercedes-Benz Vans achieved a significant sales increase of 17% in Western Europe, to 49,600 units. Increases were particularly sharp in Germany (+16%), the UK (+28%), and Spain (+96%). Sales development also remained positive in the United States and China. Sales in the US rose by 18% in the second quarter, to 7,200 units, and sales increased in China by 17% to 3,900 units.

One of the factors of success here was the new Sprinter, which, like its predecessor, is a bestselling model just one year after its launch. Sales of the large van spurred growth at the Vans division in the second quarter of 2014.

During this period 48,700 Sprinters were sold around the globe. This figure represents a 15% increase compared with the second quarter of 2013. Mercedes-Benz Vans also increased its second-quarter sales of vans in the mid-size segment, where the new Vito is expected to become a big hit. Global sales of mid-size vans increased to 22,300 units in the second quarter (Q2 2013: 20,800).


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