At the world premiere of the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in Duisburg, Germany, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Dieter Zetsche stated: “Sprinter is to Mercedes-Benz Vans what the S-Class is to Mercedes-Benz Cars: An Icon.” He highlighted the important features such as ABS, ESP and Crosswind Assist that have been introduced with each new generation of the record-breaking selling van. Sprinter was first introduced in 1995, and to date over 3.4 million have been sold in over 130 countries. Its particularly notable that for each of the last four years, Sprinter has delivered record sales – with 2017 being its best year ever.
Mercedes-Benz has invested over €200 million developing new Sprinter and much of that R&D has been directed towards meeting customer’s needs. The development of Sprinter was strongly influenced by its customers which included businesses from the services, parcel deliveries, on-line food shopping and passenger transport sectors, each with differing, though equally important demands. It is worth mentioning that some of these sectors did not actually exist when the first-generation Sprinter was launched.
Since ‘95, the world in which Sprinter operates has changed dramatically, and there is little doubt that this third generation of Sprinter will encounter even greater change in the future. To address this Mercedes-Benz’ engineers is future proofing new Sprinter under the acronym of ‘CASE’ – Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. This includes the Mercedes PRO Connect and the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system which comes directly from the passenger car division. In total, there are eight connectivity packages operators can choose from.
The third generation does get an update to the front profile, and internally there is greater choice of trim and a wide selection of driver assist systems. The designers would seem to have accounted for all needs and tastes, from couriers and service engineers, to passenger transport and the expanding leisure sector with camper vans. The important aspect of safety is also prominent with a number of innovative driver assist options such as a parking package featuring a 360-degree camera system.
Sprinter will be available in six body variants, on a variety of wheelbase lengths with capacities from 3.0 to 5.5 tonnes (GVW) and 17cu m. In addition to the standard height options in 4×2 and 4×4 configurations, the new front-wheel drive Sprinter can benefit from a floor height reduced by 80mm, and a weight reduction of 50 kgs. Overall, there are over 1,700 different configurations available across the range of panel van, dropside and bus.
A choice of three power outputs from 84 kW to 130 kW (110hp to 180hp) and torque ratings up to 400 Nm are available, and helping to reduce running costs, service intervals are increased to 60,000 kms for some drivelines. In addition to the 7-GTronic transmission, driveline options are enhanced with a newly developed 6-speed manual transmission, and what has been described as a “first in the van segment – a 9-speed fully automatic.”
We can expect to see new Sprinter in Ireland around July this year and then look forward to a full electric eSprinter which is expected during 2019 as part of Mercedes-Benz’ move towards electrification of its complete van range. Paul White