First Class West Coast weekend with the Mercedes V300d

Habari Media content director Mark Keohane reflects on the luxuries of weekend travel in South Africa’s most opulent people-mover, the Mercedes V300d.

My eldest kids both drive – and are now both overseas – and my youngest, Paikea, is about to turn three years old. My partner, Gillian, and I could, at least for now, get away with smaller cars with a baby booster in the back, while I’m used to the rather rugged, engaged drive of the old family Defender as my daily. So to see me pull into the garage in a seven-seater Mercedes mini-bus (again) was a comical affair for the family.

I say again, because I had the Mercedes V300d once before, for a short stint, and definitely didn’t play to its strengths during a busy week, as it shipped up and down Vredehoek’s streets and took me to work and back for. I knew, then, that we didn’t make the most of our time with the luxury van, so when we were afforded the chance to use it again, we made sure to use all that space and luxury a bit better.

We had to make sure to fill more than three seats this time! Gillian, Paikea, and her friends Penny and Pink Penny

I always found Langebaan to be an overpopulated beach stretch, this was until we stumbled upon the Beach Towers on a spontaneous weekend booking. It is self-service, which is a joy, the staff interaction, led by Marilee and Phillip, is world-class and the care when we were arriving – whether we had our keys, whether we needed anything – is something you don’t get in the bigger escapes.

The towers have become a second home to us. We went there the first time, went back and went back again very quickly. The speed aided the third time around by the 174 kW and 500 N.m pushed out by the 2,0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine in the V300d. These figures are far higher than you will see from any competitors in the Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV)/People Mover segment, and being able to tap into that power was a big change this time around. The V300d, despite having been around for a while, still sets the standard for comfort and performance in its segment.

Image: Peet Mocke

I found the driving experience, despite the sheer size of the vehicle, to be responsive. Although the braking is not as sensitive as most other Mercs I’ve been in, one would have to attribute the different response to the amount of weight being bought to a stop each time. It’s not quite an A-Class hot-hatch.

The view from the deck (Image sourced from

By now, Paikea knows her room at the Towers, recognises the view and thinks that Langebaan itself is Beach Towers. While the newer rooms are at 36, we stay at 46 every time, it has such soul. The breakfasts, served at 36, are superb and another great dining option in the area is Marc’s Beach Bar, right next to Mykonos. We’ve eaten brunch, lunch and dinner there on many occasions and the Laguna Mall offers everything we’d need at Cape Town’s Waterfront, only at a much calmer pace.


The specs don’t change the second time you drive a car, but the actual travel experience was what emphasised the quality of the V300d, especially getting to cruise the open West Coast roads and feel such a refined drivetrain do its thing. Gillian could not believe the difference in being able to travel as if there were two beds in the vehicle and Paikea had as much luxury as she does on the couch back home.

The V-Class boasts ample boot space, with 542L at your disposal, and plenty of space inside. All the seats are upholstered in black leather, come with heating options and, while we’re on the subject of temperature, there is a mini-fridge compartment between the front seats. This vehicle is the ultimate family getaway if you can afford it, and if you can, you ain’t thinking price, but comfort.

Image: Peet Mocke

We were lucky enough to not be thinking price for the weekend, but with a current recommended retail value of R 2 099 120 (June 2024), the V-Class range is the most expensive of the people movers. There are of course the V220d and the V250d, which sit below the V300d, and recently the most premium offering, the V300d Special Edition, which comes kitted with an AMG roof box and a host of other distinctive features (for an even higher price).

I didn’t think you could need more after the V300d we drove!

Image: Peet Mocke

Comfort and Sport driving options are offered, and the infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (which you still have to connect via a cable), with the sound delivered through a beautiful Burmester Surround Sound System. The 3D camera system is a welcome function in a vehicle that is so big, even just for reversing out the garage and navigating the Vredehoek Spar.

While there are several great vans in South Africa at the moment, what separates this beautiful boat from the rest is the grandeur available to both driver and passengers and the immense speed, power and driving refinement.