One for all: choice of front, rear or all-wheel drive

Jul 28, 2014
  • New: OM 622 turbodiesel engine for the Vito with front-wheel drive
  • Upgraded: OM 651 engine for the Vito with rear or all-wheel drive
  • The first engine in this class to meet the future Euro 6 emissions standard
  • Six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed automatic transmission with torque converter
  • Auxiliary units: driving down fuel consumption
  • BlueEfficiency package lowers consumption
  • Vito 4x4 with new all-wheel drive: coming through!
  • Optimised suspension with new electromechanical steering
  • NVH – the new Vito goes quietly
"One for all" is something that applies to the new Vito's drive system in particular. It is the first vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio to be available with a choice of rear-wheel, all-wheel and now front-wheel drive. Another first for vehicles bearing the star is the associated use in one and the same body of engines installed lengthwise for rear-wheel and all-wheel drive systems, as well as transverse-mounted engines for front-wheel drive.
The correlation is clear: the new front-wheel drive system in the range is very light when used in conjunction with a compact turbodiesel engine. The payload advantage is 120 kg compared to the previous model and some 60 kg on the new Vito with rear-wheel drive. When unladen or carrying only a light load, front-wheel drive offers better traction. The purchase price is also highly attractive.
Proven rear-wheel drive is the right solution for all applications involving heavy weights, high towing capacities (up to 2500 kg in vehicles with automatic transmission), as well as the need for plenty of traction under these conditions and exceptional driving dynamics. The turning circle is smaller because no drive shafts limit the steering angle. The new Vito with rear-wheel drive is available in higher output ratings and can also be combined with an automatic transmission and the BlueEfficiency package. To make the work of converters easier, the load compartment is the same on the rear-wheel drive Vito as the front-wheel drive version.
All-wheel drive is necessary when high traction is required, including in tough conditions or off surfaced roads. The new Vito with all-wheel drive benefits from a high level of driving dynamics and stability. Due to the new integral design of the all-wheel drive the vehicle height, load compartment sill and boarding height of the new Vito 4x4 are almost the same as on models with front and rear-wheel drive.
Mercedes-Benz supplies the new Vito with diesel engines across the board. This is a "must" for commercial vehicles where the focus is on economy as well as delivering high traction at low engine speeds.
New: OM 622 turbodiesel engine for the Vito with front-wheel drive
The new Vito with front-wheel drive and transverse-mounted Mercedes-Benz OM 622 engine is tailor-made for the following profile: predominantly solo operation with maximum payload at low to medium gross vehicle weights. Keeping purchase and maintenance costs as low as possible is also a priority.
Small but mighty: the compact four-cylinder unit with a displacement of 1.6 litres is the epitome of systematic downsizing for low fuel consumption. At the same time it offers a favourable weight with a suitably high payload and an attractive purchase price. 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.
Precisely tuned to the requirements of a van bearing the star
In terms of power ratings and performance characteristics the engine in the Vito is tuned precisely to the requirements profile of a Mercedes-Benz van. From the air ducting and mass air flow sensor to the exhaust system, the engine is designed specifically for the Vito. Power delivery and driveability, cold-starting properties and control of injection, noise characteristics and exemplary exhaust gas quality, as well as the measures employed to optimise fuel consumption, are all as you would expect from Mercedes-Benz and the new Vito.
Long maintenance intervals of max. 40,000 km or two years reduce costs and attest to the engine's robustness. It has the same service life as the larger and proven Mercedes-Benz OM 651. The new Mercedes-Benz OM 622 is not only compelling for its low costs but also its efficient performance and very high comfort. Smooth and quiet with low vibration levels, it 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 courtesy of 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.
Two power ratings for the new OM 622
The new OM 622 is available with two power ratings:
- Vito 109 CDI, 65 kW (88 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 230 Nm at 1500–2000 rpm
- Vito 111 CDI, 84 kW (114 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 270 Nm at 1500–2500 rpm
Because the maximum pulling power of the OM 622 is supplied from low revs, there is more than enough performance with the new engine. The Vito 109 CDI (figures for the Vito 111 CDI are provided in brackets) accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 18.9 (14.4) seconds and reaches a top speed of 157 (169) km/h.
Braked towing capacity at the lower power rating is up to 1200 kg (1000 kg for a gross vehicle weight of 3.05 t). The more powerful version of the new Vito with front-wheel drive can take up to 2000 kg. The maximum total traction weight is 4800 kg.
Upgraded: OM 651 engine for the Vito 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 exceptionally powerful Mercedes-Benz OM 651 engine is the right choice. 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 litres 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.
That is why the substantial peak torque is available from extraordinarily low revs and over a broad engine speed range – a prerequisite for excellent driveability and great smoothness whatever the conditions. The engines attain a high specific output as well as sumptuous torque. This downsizing is necessary to achieve low consumption and the associated low emissions along with a favourable weight.
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 first engine in this class to meet the future Euro 6 emissions standard
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.
Over a period of ten years or so this technology has fully proven itself on several hundred thousand commercial vehicles from Mercedes-Benz ranging from the Atego to the Actros – and over billions of kilometres. The same applies to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as used in Europe for a year now and before that in North America. The new V-Class and a number of cars bearing the star use SCR with BlueTEC engine technology to ensure the cleanest exhaust gas.
BlueTEC engine technology reduces oxides of nitrogen in exhaust gas after combustion by injecting the watery AdBlue solution, which swirls in the exhaust gas flow. Heat converts AdBlue into ammonia. In the downstream SCR catalytic converter nitrous gases and ammonia turn to water and nitrogen (harmless elements of the environment) in a chemical and catalytic reaction. 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 price is just under half that of diesel fuel.The technology's success is tangible: the Vito 116 CDI BlueEfficiency with an engine output of 120 kW (163 hp) and truck registration attains a certified optimum of 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres and is thus unmatched in this vehicle category.
The OM 651 is available with three power ratings:
- Vito 114 CDI, 100 kW (136 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 330 Nm at 1200-2400 rpm
- Vito 116 CDI, 120 kW (163 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 380 Nm at 1400-2400 rpm
- Vito 119 BlueTEC, 140 kW (190 hp) at 3800 rpm, max. torque 440 Nm at 1400-2400 rpm
Most noteworthy is the engine in the Vito 119 BlueTEC – it delivers the commanding performance of the previous six-cylinder unit with the fuel consumption of a four-cylinder version. With its exciting torque, low emissions and efficiency, the most powerful design sets new benchmarks for four-cylinder engines in this vehicle class.
Performance to satisfy the most demanding requirements
In terms of performance, the new Vito with rear-wheel drive satisfies even the most exacting drivers. The Vito 114 CDI (figures for the Vito 116 CDI are provided in brackets) accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.8 (10.8) seconds. With a top speed of 184 (196) km/h the Vito is also ideal for long-distance use. Due to superior performance for its type the Vito 119 BlueTEC will win over even the fastidious. The Vito 119 BlueTEC completes the sprint to 100 km/h in just 9.0 seconds and reaches a speed of up to 206 km/h.
The OM 651 is deployed with all three lengths and weight variants of the new Vito: 2.5 t, 2.8 t, 3.05 t and 3.2 t permissible gross vehicle weights. The most powerful design is reserved for the top three weight versions.
With rear-wheel drive the new Vito has a towing capacity of 2000 kg. An increase to 2500 kg is available if needed. The maximum total traction weight is 5550 kg in conjunction with the automatic transmission.
Six-speed manual transmission or seven-speed automatic transmission with torque converter
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. Joystick control is effortless and precise.
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. Thanks 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 optimised 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.
Rear axle: new differential designed for economy
The meticulousness that the engineers applied when designing the new Vito for maximum fuel efficiency is apparent from the differential for the Vito with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Due to optimised geometry for the tooth surfaces the new assembly runs smoothly and is therefore also quiet. A low-friction oil developed specially for Mercedes-Benz and exceptionally low-friction ball bearings also play a part.
Auxiliary units: driving down fuel consumption
It is not just the drive system that is systematically designed to achieve low fuel consumption and thus favourable costs and reduced emissions. The steering and auxiliary units have been optimised too. 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.
What look like small changes to the auxiliary units have resulted in big savings. Thanks 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. Last but not least, the belt-driven supercharger for the optional air conditioning is one-way and is therefore only active when the unit is switched on.
BlueEfficiency package lowers consumption
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 optimised for greater efficiency. The same is true of the fuel pump which controls the supply pressure and flow rate as needed. Tyres optimised for minimum rolling resistance require less energy to rotate them. What's more, underbody panelling improves the aerodynamics, thereby reducing fuel consumption further.
Vito 4x4 with new all-wheel drive: coming through!
From construction and the building materials industry to utility companies and hotels in snowy areas – all-wheel drive is often indispensable on commercial vehicles that do demanding jobs. Permanent all-wheel drive as found on the Vito 4x4 is among the most powerful all-wheel drive systems there is; its control systems break new ground. As part of a modular strategy, in-house development at Mercedes-Benz is closely linked to that of corresponding drive systems for SUVs and cars bearing the star.
The Vito 4x4's all-wheel drive system is based on the well-proven 4ETS electronic traction system with ESP and ASR dynamic handling controls. On surfaces with good traction 4ETS splits torque in a ratio of 45:55 between the front and rear axle. If one or more wheels lose traction, 4ETS slows them down and distributes power to the wheels with good roadholding.
A double-disc clutch is fitted to the central differential on the Vito 4x4. This achieves a basic locking torque of approximately 50 Nm between the front and rear axle. The clutch pack is permanently preloaded. In the case of spinning wheels on one of the two axles, friction torque is transmitted to the axle spinning more slowly by relative movement of the discs. This variable torque shift improves traction and driving stability. The traction and stabilising effect of this pre-lock clutch are clearly noticeable, particularly in the case of low coefficients of friction between the tyres and the road surface.
A compact, lightweight and highly efficient design with lengthwise engine and a block design for the main gearbox and transfer case creates clear advantages with regard to payload and fuel consumption. One example is the compact type of construction used for the transfer case and lateral output to the front axle: the rear universal joint on the prop shaft to the front axle was integrated into the transfer case's output gear, which sharply reduces the amount of space required for the transmission sideways. As a result of these combined measures, the Vito 4x4's additional weight is only around 70 kg.
Conventional lengthwise and crosswise differential locks are superfluous on the Vito 4x4. This saves weight while boosting both handling safety and ride comfort.
The new Vito 4x4 comes with the most powerful engine by default: the OM 651 with a 2.15-litre displacement, an output of 140 kW (190 hp) and 440 Nm of torque. Power is transmitted by the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with torque converter. The all-wheel drive transfer case is integrated into the main gearbox.
Standard equipment on the Vito 4x4 also includes 17" wheels with appropriately larger brakes on the front axle. By contrast with previous models, all versions of the Vito 4x4 come in under the important two-metre height limit.
Optimised suspension with new electromechanical steering
The previous Vito models already stood out for their exemplary dynamic yet comfortable suspension. On the new Vito the developers have enhanced this aspect further following a complete rework. The starting point is the new steering system with electromechanical power assistance and changes to the kinematics. Assistance is speed-dependent: when manoeuvring or driving slowly the steering is effortless yet at high speed it is taut for commendable straight-line stability. The return torque makes steering easier for the driver.
As before, the new Vito's front axle is based on McPherson struts with lower wishbones. However, the front axle and engine are mounted more rigidly in their subframe. The drive unit is therefore effectively isolated from vibration. Likewise as before, on the rear axle the Vito boasts an independent suspension on semi-trailing arms and coil springs for sophistication. The spring and damper tuning on the rear axle is new though. The shock absorbers on the rear axle have been repositioned. Anti-roll bars at the front and rear reduce the roll angle on bends.
There are two different rear-axle configurations for the new Vito. The Vito panel van and Mixto are designed for high loads. Meanwhile, a comfort suspension is provided as an option for the Mixto and as standard on all Vito Tourer models. In terms of passenger comfort the key features are less taut springs and more sensitive shock absorber control on the rear axle. This results in a greater ability to absorb the effects of unevenness and improved road roar and tyre vibration characteristics.
The widest selection: wheels with diameters from 16 to 19 inches
The standard 16-inch braking system has fade-resistance disc brakes all-round (internally ventilated at the front). On certain model variants with the most powerful engine, a gross vehicle weight of 3.2 t and in conjunction with all-wheel drive, the Vito even has a 17-inch braking system as standard. In addition to larger-diameter brake discs this includes larger brake callipers on the front axle.
The new Vito has standard 6.5 J x 16 steel wheels with 195/65 R 16 (2.8 t permissible gross vehicle weight) or 205/65 R 16 (3.05 t) tyres. 225/60 R 16 tyres are an option. 17" steel wheels are also available with 225/55 R 17 tyres (standard with the most powerful engine, 3.2 t gross vehicle weight and all-wheel drive). If desired, the new Vito can also be equipped with light-alloy wheels in the following sizes: 16", 17" and 18". The Mercedes-Benz Accessories range even includes 19" wheels. All wheels are stylishly designed as well as rugged and therefore suitable for poor road conditions.
NVH – the new Vito goes quietly
Another factor behind the new Vito's extraordinarily high level of quality is NVH. This abbreviation stands for noise, vibration and harshness. Acoustic experts were involved throughout the development of the new Vito. Considerations included the bodyshell and bodywork as well as the chassis and even the software calibration for the engines. These measures have resulted in a considerable 2 dB(A) reduction in noise level compared to the preceding version.
The new Vito's front axle and engine are more rigid and therefore less prone to vibration. In the Vito with rear-wheel drive, the subframe for the engine (which is installed lengthwise) is now more rigid and has tougher mountings. At the same time, developers have optimised the entire orientation of the drive system so that the prop shaft's angular offset is virtually nil. This prevents annoying vibrations and therefore sources of noise. The new rear-axle differential is also quieter and has new bearings.
In the new Vito with front-wheel drive the transverse-mounted engine has self aligning bearings with two support bearings and two additional swivel supports. With the transverse-mounted engine too, great emphasis was placed on using bearings with a high degree of rigidity on the subframe and body. Generally speaking, all drive types, engines and chassis elements have hydromounts for low vibration.
The positions of any necessary openings between the engine compartment and cockpit are optimised and located to the side where possible. They are also carefully sealed with plenty of insulation for the firewall to keep noise from the engine and transmission out of the interior.
On the Vito Tourer premium acoustic materials are used to provide further insulation. Here the passenger compartment benefits from baffles in the body cavities. These are plastic parts with foam seal strips which are fitted prior to painting, expand under the effect of heat and thus close off cavities which could transfer unwanted sound. Sound-deadening mats – some sprayed – with customised layer thicknesses also prevent bothersome vibrations and noise.
A new position for the shock absorbers on the rear axle stops thumping noises from the chassis. The springs and dampers have been redesigned for audible acoustic benefits, as well as to improve handling characteristics. Acoustics specialists also provided support during the suspension tuning process, including on test runs. During such trials some 60 to 70 vibration sensors are attached all over the vehicle to analyse disagreeable vibrations from the body, chassis and drive system and then, in stage two, to prevent them.
Extensive tests corroborate the experts' meticulous attention to NVH. Noise levels show that the new Vito is audibly quieter than its predecessor. This is apparent not just from measurements in dB(A): the developers also measure speech intelligibility by applying the specialist "articulation index". Although the new Mercedes-Benz Vito makes a powerful visual impression, in reality it is a quiet machine on the road.
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