If you daubed a red slash down the side of the Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport’s black edition and filled it with a crack commando unit of military fugitives, there would still be plenty of storage and load bearing capacity for an arsenal of weaponry, some heavy duty welding equipment, and a couple gallons of sedative-laced milk.
Empty, both the Vito Sport and its snappier sister the Sport X are practically echo chambers on alloy wheels. But the spacious interior is – along with the confidence-inspiring Mercedes-Benz grille – only the most immediately apparent of the Vito’s many charms.
Neither model could be described as an ordinary van, but the Sport X is truly extraordinary. The spec sheet promises 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds, courtesy of a 3.0 litre V6 turbo diesel capable of 221bhp and 325lb of torque. Combine that with the ferocious rear wheel drive and it’s small wonder the punch packed by the Sport X’s 1955kg heft prompted Top Gear to describe it as Mercedes’ “most deranged van.” It may look vast, but on the road it’s an absolute blast, sliding effortlessly through five gears and rounding tight corners like it’s having more fun than you.
Inside, the Sport X is plusher than a soft-toy-stuffed suite at the Savoy, with all the trademark trimmings we’ve come to expect from Mercedes-Benz. It’s not just the leather seats, it’s the leather armrests. It’s the better-than-it-needs-to-be dash, complete with Merc’s COMAND system. It’s the incredibly satisfying sliding side doors and the auto-adjusting xenon lamps. It’s the whacking great 18 inch Brabus wheels.
Ah, Brabus. In their constant quest for excellence, Mercedes-Benz has found the perfect partner in crime in Brabus, Germany’s premier high performance aftermarket tuning firm. A first look at an un-modded Vito will make you question how it could possibly be improved. Well, Brabus answers that question in such glorious, glamorous style you feel silly for even asking it in the first place. Dubbed “Project X”, Brabus’ mission is to help commercial drivers turn their Vito Sport into a concept vehicle that will give them a competitive edge in their industry. High-end audio systems, sport exhaust and steering wheel, lowered springs – Brabus does the lot, and does it well.
Such modifications don’t come cheap, but with the intact, factory-fresh Sport X costing only £35,000, some businesses might find the budget for a full makeover, especially if it turns an excellent commercial drive into a truly eye-catching driving commercial. Hit the motorway and watch those heads turn. Besides, with flexible finance options for both models available from S & B Commercials, the basic price becomes even less significant.
If the Brabus mods are beyond your needs, the Vito Sport pares down the bells and whistles of the X – but it’s barely noticeable. Any Brabus-branded touch ups (like the spoiler and wheels) are gone, as are the leather seats, but it still gives you the sheer class for which the Mercedez-Benz name is known. In both cases, this is very much a van emulating a car. If you need to seat five passengers, carry a shedload of heavy equipment, and still zip around the country as if you were in a car half the size, the Vito Sport is second only to the Vito Sport X. Find out more about both over on the Vito Sport’s website.