INDIANAPOLIS. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC revealed that it will make a “segment-exclusive” four-wheel-drive system available in the U.S. next year on its 2015 model-year Sprinter commercial vans, which are sold by authorized Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner dealers. The announcement was made here at the NTEA Work Truck Show.
Klaus Tritt, gm of commercial vans for Mercedes-Benz USA, told FleetOwner that the 4X4 option will be offered on all Sprinter models ordered with the OEM’s optional 3.0L V6 BlueTEC clean diesel engine starting “in the beginning of next year.”
Tritt noted that 4x4 Sprinters are expected to appeal especially to “off-site customers, such as construction companies and oil-field operations.”
According to Mercedes-Benz, the Sprinter 4x4 is “not officially considered an off-roader,” but its all-wheel drive system can be activated “at the push of a button.”
Once the system is engaged, torque is distributed at a ratio of 35:65 between the front and rear axle, stated the OEM, and then the vehicle’s 4ETS electronic traction system “takes care of the rest for the driver in various conditions.”
Per Mercedes-Benz, the standard load-adaptive ESP (electronic stability system) that is “unique to the Sprinter is always active when all-wheel drive is engaged” and that this combination of all-wheel drive technology and active safety will only available in the Sprinter in this U.S. vehicle segment.
The Sprinter 4x4 can also be equipped with an optional button-operated low range gear. Once engaged, gearing is shortened by 42% and “tractive power increases accordingly.”
Noting again that the Sprinter 4x4 “may not be an off-roader,” the OEM pointed out that its body is lifted by 4.3 in (110 mm) at the front and 3.1 in (80 mm) in the rear— hiking its “slope climbing ability by up to 20% higher than a Sprinter with conventional drive.
Depending on body style, the all-wheel drive system will add about 265 lbs of weight for “only a minimal effect on payload. “
Previous versions of the Sprinter 4x4 have been sold in such markets Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy and Australia.