Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: The Van That Started the New Van Revolution Increases Standard Safety Features for 2016

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter initiated a modern van movement in the U.S. with its aerodynamic design, unibody construction, efficient, high-torque diesel engines and easy-to-drive manner. Mercedes-Benz safety technology remains a key advantage in these versatile trucks, and for 2016, all 2500 models and 3500 models rated at 9,990 GVRW gain standard window airbags and thorax airbags.

A locking glovebox is now standard on all Sprinter models, which are available in numerous cargo and passenger versions, as well as Cab Chassis/Cutaway models optimized for third-party upfitting. The 4x4 option introduced for 2015 returns and now for 2016 also offers available Downhill Speed Regulation.

All Sprinters sold in the U.S. are powered by BlueTEC clean diesel engines. The standard engine is a high-tech turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Also available is the 4-cylinder diesel SULEV engine-- the world's first diesel engine certified to the stringent SULEV emissions standards. A V6 turbocharged diesel is available as an option for more power. The available 4x4 powertrain is always paired with the powerful V6.

The Sprinter's low total cost of ownership earned it the Vincentric® “Best Fleet Value in America” award in 2012, 2013 and 2014 ALG's Residual Value Award for 2016. The Sprinter features recommended service intervals up to 20,000 miles -- a cost saver.

There's no mistaking the Sprinter for any other van, thanks to the sharply cut headlamps, clean contours and broad grille, which give the van a confident presence and the distinctive look of a Mercedes-Benz commercial van. The Sprinter made a solid business case for sleeker van design: better aerodynamics = lower fuel consumption = lower operating costs. (Mercedes-Benz also manufactures the Sprinter as a model branded for Freightliner, which is part of Daimler AG.)

Hundreds of Possible Configurations

Versatility is a hallmark of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The choice of two diesel engines, 4x4, three body length, three body heights, four GVWRs, three cargo door choices and four seating configurations add up to several hundred configurations to meet myriad customer needs. The Sprinter is available as the 2500 series, in 144-in., 170-in or 170-in. wheelbase, with standard, high-roof and super-high roof bodies, all with 8,550 lb. GVWR. The Sprinter 3500 also comes in 144-in., 170-in or 170Ext-in. wheelbase, with high-roof bodies or super-high roof and offering a choice of 9,990 lb., 10,140 lb. or 11,030 GVWR capabilities.

Body styles include Cargo Van with two or three seats; Crew Van with seating for five and Passenger Van with seating for up to 12. The Cab Chassis and Cutaway offers the customer versatility to build precisely the vehicle needed, such as a box truck. Cutaways are available with the roof structure missing for easy body integration. Some of the upfitters include major recreational vehicle manufacturers.

Mercedes-Benz MasterUpfitter Program

In 2015, Daimler Vans USA and Mercedes-Benz Vans USA completely revamped their upfitter program. Previously known as the Sprinter Preferred Upfitter Program, the name and self-certification procedures were changed to incorporate Upfitters working on the Metris and the changing industry. Since the revamp, there are already over 40 members with MasterUpfitter Status. These MasterUpfitters cover a wide array of segments in the industry such as shelving, people moving, emergency vehicle manufacturing, RV manufacturing, refrigeration, and more.

The new program benefits dealers, upfitters and customers equally as the quality of work put out by a company with MasterUpfitter status can be trusted to adhere to the highest quality and regulatory guidelines necessary to safely and efficiently build on Mercedes-Benz vans. The Upfitter Management team is still dedicated by working closely with upfitters and the dealer network to ensure cooperation and transparency. Upfitters with MasterUpfitter status have access to a dedicated MasterUpfitter Dashboard and access to a modifiable online profile with which they can maintain or upload brochures, sell sheets, product solution images and contact information. They also receive special access to VIP Technical Support and exclusive marketing materials, and are also considered for special project collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Vans and trade show partnerships.

High-Efficiency, High-Torque BlueTEC Diesel Engines

The standard Sprinter engine is a 2.1-liter 4-cylinder diesel that produces 161 hp, with 266 lb.-ft. of torque available at 1,400. It's a DOHC, 4-valve-per-cylinder design, and its two-stage turbocharging ensures smooth, seamless power that's especially useful in the urban environments in which many Sprinters work every day. Two counter-rotating balancer shafts and a dual-mass flywheel ensure smooth running characteristics.

The optional DOHC 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine produces 188 hp, with 325 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,400 rpm. Offset rod journals and a balancer shaft ensure smooth operation of this engine, which uses an aluminum block with a 72-degree V angle. To maximize fuel economy, the 4-cylinder diesel features the only 7-speed automatic transmission in a van in North America. The V6 diesel is matted to a 5-speed automatic.

A combination of exhaust gas recirculation with two-stage cooling and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology with Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) injection reduces nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and water, and a particulate filter further ensures clean exhaust emissions. A SULEV version of the 4-cylinder diesel engine is available as the only diesel with this designation.

Optional 4x4

The Sprinter 4x4 option is unique among vans. It's available in all wheelbases numerous and most body and GVWR configurations, all with the 3.0-liter V6 as the exclusive powertrain. While the Sprinter 4x4 is not designed to be an off-roader, its capability will certainly be appreciated on construction sites, oil fields and in foul weather, to name a few scenarios.

The driver pushes a button to activate the all-wheel drive system, which initiates 35:65 torque distribution between the front and rear axles. At this point, the Electronic Traction System (4ETS) takes over to vary distribution as needed. The Sprinter 4x4 can also be equipped with an optional low range gear that makes it even more sure-footed in difficult terrain. When the driver pushes the low-range button, the gearing is shortened by 42 percent, which makes it ideal for climbing or descending steep slopes, for example. (The slope climbing ability is up to 20 percent higher than in the rear-drive Sprinter.)

The driver activated all-wheel drive system adds an average of about 265 lbs. (120 kg) to the Sprinter, which has a minimal effect on payload capacity. With the 4x4 option, the body is lifted by 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the front and 3.1 inches (80 mm) in the rear on average for added ground clearance and an impressive 24 inches of wading depth.

The Mercedes-Benz Safety Innovation

The Sprinter customer benefits from safety engineering by a world leader in that field. Mercedes-Benz pioneered many of the most important safety features used in automobiles today, including numerous driver-assistance technologies. The Sprinter is designed to protect occupants in a collision, with the energy-absorbing body structure, height-adjustable three-point seat belts with belt tensioners and force limiters, two-way head restraints and front airbags. For 2016, all 2500 models and all 3500 models rated at 9,990 GVRW gain standard first row window airbags and thorax airbags, which are available for other configurations.

Vehicle Dynamics Control System

The Sprinter is equipped with a full array of active safety features, which are designed to help prevent handling hazards.

  • Anti-lock brake system (ABS)
  • Load-Adaptive ESP® (Electronic Stability Program)
  • Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR)
  • Electronic brake force distribution (EBD)
  • Hydraulic Brake Assist (BAS)
  • Roll Over Mitigation roll-over protection and Roll Movement Intervention (ROM/RMI)
  • Enhanced Understeering Control system (EUC)
  • Automatic brake disc drying system (brake disc wiping) when driving in the rain
  • Electronic Brake Prefill (anticipatory preparation of the brake pads in critical driving situations)
    If the customer selects a trailer hitch or the corresponding pre-installation option for this item, Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) also comes as standard.

Driver Assist Technologies, Including Crosswind Assist

A wide array of safety systems is available in the Mercedes Sprinter including Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. High vehicles such as vans can be particularly vulnerable to crosswinds. The Sprinter was the first van in the world to feature Crosswind Assist, which is standard equipment on 2500 models.

Crosswind Assist is based on the standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) and is activated from 50 mph (80 km/h) and up. At highway speeds, in response to crosswind and gusts, the system brakes individual wheels on the side facing the wind and effects a steering correction to prevent the vehicle from drifting dangerously off course. The need for counter-steering in response to sudden gusts is markedly reduced, relieving the strain on the driver.

The sensors of the ESP® system are able to identify the strength of constant crosswind as well as sudden gusts and additionally record the angle of attack. The reaction by Crosswind Assist also accounts for the vehicle's speed, vehicle load, load position and the driver's steering behavior. If the driver carries out manual counter-steering, Crosswind Assist will automatically reduce its level of intervention accordingly.

Collision Prevention Assist

Failure to maintain the necessary distance from other vehicles is one of the most dangerous causes of vehicle collisions. Another first in this class, Collision Prevention Assist is designed to help prevent serious rear-end collisions and includes a proximity warning function and adaptive Brake Assist. Operational from approximately 12 mph, Collision Prevention Assist warns the driver when the distance from the vehicle ahead is too short, and also when there is an imminent danger of collision.

A radar sensor in the front bumper continuously measures the distance from the vehicle ahead in the same lane, and also the relative speeds of the two vehicles. The proximity-warning assistant uses that information to calculate the necessary safe distance. A warning lamp in the instrument cluster illuminates when a vehicle ahead is detected and the distance drops below an unsafe limit. If the Sprinter is approaching the vehicle ahead with a high difference in speed, the system issues both visual and audio warnings.

Brake Assist Pro: Emergency Braking When Needed

Brake Assist Pro is continuously active in the background, monitoring the current operating conditions and the driving situation. Support from Adaptive Brake Assist is triggered after the dynamic proximity warning when the distance between the Sprinter and the vehicle ahead closes too rapidly and the driver initiates emergency braking.

If the driver fails to apply sufficient brake power, Adaptive Brake Assist provides additional boost to generate just enough additional deceleration to help avoid an accident. This action also gives the traffic following behind the longest possible response time to avoid a rear-end collision.

The driver can override the intervention at any time. For example, intervention ceases if the driver carries out an evasive maneuver, takes his foot off the brake pedal or presses the accelerator pedal.

Blind Spot Assist: Safe Lane Changing

The optional Blind Spot Assist – another first for the van segment –helps the driver by warning of other vehicles in the blind spot during lane changing. Blind Spot Assist is operational from a speed of approximately 20 mph and uses input from four close-range radar sensors on the vehicle. When the sensors identify a vehicle in the blind spot while the Sprinter is moving, a red warning signal appears in the exterior mirror on the respective side. If the driver activates a turn signal to change lanes despite the warning light signal, an additional, audio warning sounds.

Lane Keeping Assist: Keeping the Vehicle on Course

Even more dangerous than careless lane changing is involuntary lane changing for example, when the driver is distracted or inattentive. The available Lane Keeping Assist function provides a warning. A camera behind the windshield monitors the road ahead, and an integrated electronic control unit measures the recorded data continuously, identifying the road surface and markings. If the van begins to cross the lane marking without the turn signal activated, or without parallel changes to the accelerator or brake pedal position, the control unit will conclude that the vehicle is leaving its lane unintentionally and will warn the driver with an audio signal.

Lane Keeping Assist is active from a speed of approximately 40 mph. The driver can switch this assist system off as necessary, such as when driving along narrow and winding country roads. Conversely, Lane Keeping Assist helps the driver to stay on course when there is little room for maneuvering, as at highway construction sites.

Highbeam Assist: Courtesy and Safety

The Highbeam Assist feature, a first in the Sprinter's class, is available for both halogen and bi-xenon headlamps and operates at vehicle speeds above 22 mph. The feature automatically switches the high beams on or off in response to the path of the road, presence of other vehicles or pedestrians and other situations. Highbeam Assist reduces the possibility of blinding oncoming traffic or vehicles traveling ahead.

When the system's camera detects vehicles or motorcycles traveling toward or ahead of the Sprinter, the high beam is automatically dipped to low beam. Highbeam Assist is able to distinguish between moving and stationary objects, and the camera system also responds to road lighting by deactivating high beam automatically – when passing through populated areas, for example. When the road is clear, the system switches back to high beam.

Bi-xenon headlamps, fog lights, a headlamp cleaning system and a heated windshield are available to enhance visibility.

An available rearview camera, backup warning system and the PARKTRONIC system facilitate maneuvering, while the standard Start-off Assist system helps when moving off on uphill slopes. The available rain sensor with Headlamp Assist relieves the driver of the task of switching the appropriate systems on and off. The standard tire pressure monitoring system (on 2500 models) ensures the correct pressure on variants with single-wheel axles.

Driver Comfort Has Many Benefits

A comfortable driver is better able to manage or even avoid dangerous situations. The Sprinter features a spacious driver's cab and comfortable seats with good lateral support and height adjustment for the driver. The seat position is well chosen in relation to the steering wheel, pedals and the cockpit as a whole. Instruments are clearly arranged and the buttons, switches and control units are positioned within easy reach. High levels of ride comfort and low background noise combine with effective heating and ventilation to make even the longest trips comfortable. Precision steering and a comparatively small turning circle round off the range of features that foster relaxed driving.

Available Navigation

The standard head unit features a 5.8-inch color display and Bluetooth® connectivity with telephone keypad and phone book, an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 interface and an AUX input in the cockpit. When the optional backup camera is installed, its image is projected on the display. Guidelines projected on the display further facilitate maneuvering. A Becker MAP PILOT navigation unit with intuitive user interface is optional. The system installs in the glove compartment and can be removed to use in another vehicle.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Vans and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at, and

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