Aston Martin Makes a Van?
It’s black and features lots of leather inside. Sure, it could be an Aston Martin but it has seating for six and uses the diesel pump at the filling station. Yes, I know, it’s just a boring Mercedes Viano but with the 3.0-liter oil-burner, it is pretty impressive.
I’m in Germany with Aston Martin for the Nurburgring 24 hour race. Upon arrival into Frankfurt at around 7:30 this morning, a nice gentleman picked me up at the airport in the Mercedes van with an Aston Martin logo on the doors. It is a holiday in Germany today so traffic was light. In the derestricted sections of the autobahn, we cruised along at 170 km/h (105 mph). I told the driver that I was quite impressed that the big van could go that fast. He laughed and said he was rolling along at around 200 km/h (124 mph) on the way to the airport. I was skeptical so I looked up the specs on the Mercedes UK site (my German isn’t so good, hence the use of the UK site for Euro specs). The 3.0 CDI model I rode in uses a similar turbo diesel V-6 engine that is used in the ML, GL, and R320 CDI in the USA. In the Viano, it makes 204 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque. The listed performance numbers clearly state that our driver was no liar. Zero to sixty-two mph is 9.7 seconds and top speed is listed at 122 mph. With a bit of speedometer error, 200 km/h should be no problem with the big Mercedes.
I’m not sure there is a market for an expensive Mercedes van in the USA but it’s always fun to drive and ride in vehicles we can’t get in America. Sure, the Viano isn’t as exciting as an Aston but interesting nonetheless.
Stay tuned for more from Germany and the Nurburgring 24 over the weekend. There are some very interesting cars running the race. For a bit of background, here is the link to the event website: http://adac.24h-rennen.de/en.html