With a touch of glitz and glamour, MercedesBenz launched the latest generation Sprinter range, recently, including an attention- grabbing, allelectric model.
WITH A TOUCH of glitz and glamour, Mercedes-Benz launched the latest generation Sprinter range recently, including an attention-grabbing, all-electric model. Cobey Bartels reports.
THE NEW GENERATION of Mercedes-Benz light commercial vehicles is headed for Australia in the fourth quarter of this year – already a market leader down under, but with even more to offer this time.
Since the Sprinter was first launched in 1995 about 3.4 million units have been sold, but Mercedes-Benz isn’t complacent, aiming to deliver the most technologically advanced light commercial vehicles to market. With a focus on connectivity, user experience and efficiency, Mercedes-Benz showcased its updated range of powertrains, interior technology and an all- electric offering.
The holistic systems approach taken for the new Sprinter saw the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) and telematics functionality, better equipping the vehicle for commercial fleet use. A high level of vehicle customisability is offered, with a total of 1734 different variants based on combinations of body type, powertrain, cab configuration, length and cargo space height.
Ultimately, this allows for a better off-the-shelf fit for a range of commercial applications, including small buses and passenger-transport vans.
The maximum load capacity within the new model range is 17 cubic metres, with tonnages of up to 5.5 tonnes depending on the configuration.
Two exciting new additions to the Sprinter line-up are front-wheel- drive models and the all- electric, zero- emission eSprinter. The front-wheel- drive Sprinter is available as a 9-speed automatic and 6-speed manual and offers 50kg in increased payload and lower- cost base models, adding to the manufacturer’s rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive staples.
In addition to the increased payload, the front-wheel- drive options have 80mm lower loading edges, taking the strain off operators.
The 9-speed automatic torque converter transmission is a first in the large van segment, bringing a wider range of gears to improve engine economy and driveability.
By van or small bus standards, the safety features on the new Sprinter are top notch, with Distronic radar-based cruise control, active brake assist, active lane-keeping assist, attention assist, rain sensor, and 360- degree visibility.
EMPHASIS ON STYLE
During the launch event in Germany, a point consistently mentioned was that MercedesBenz believes a vehicle represents a fleet’s image and so exterior design is an important factor.
The Sprinter was designed to perform but also look the part and, based on initial impressions, it shares styling cues with the passenger car range. The interior was a cut above on the new Sprinter, with a connected user experience generally reserved for high-end cars – optional extras include a parking package that offers a 360-degree view.
The MBUX multimedia system the third-gen Sprinter scores - which was only just unveiled on the new A- Class - offers connectivity via a 10.25-inch HD touchscreen display. Hardly technology you’d expect in a commercial vehicle, according to Mercedes-Benz, but it’s all about providing a better user experience for drivers.
MBUX has voice control and something like running low on fuel means the system suggests nearby petrol stations and the best route to take. A telematics-style system is also built into the range, called Mercedes PRO, offering vehicle and driver location, digital driver’s logbook, vehicle logistics, fleet communication, and maintenance management.
The all- electric eSprinter was a hit at the launch event, and will become available in some markets for ordering from November 2019. It is aimed at delivering unparalleled efficiency within the last-mile delivery industry.
When asked whether the electric model would make its way down under, Mercedes-Benz
Top: The new Sprinter, showcased in a range of configurations highlighting the model’s versatility Below: The focus for Benz is on providing the ultimate work space for drivers, from ergonomics and comfort through to the Mercedes-Benz User Experience...
Above: The all-electric, zeroemissions model was immensely popular at the German launch. Far right: It’s no Fruit Ninja, but eVan Ready is still pretty cool.