The multi-award-winning Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and cab-chassis range is now available in Australia with all-wheel drive.
The new Sprinter 4x4 range utilises extensive all-wheel drive know-how developed by Mercedes-Benz, which boasts more than a century of experience with four-wheel drive technology.
The option of all-wheel drive in the Sprinter range is designed to enhance vehicle traction in slippery, low-grip conditions. Surfaces such as snow, ice, and mud often limit the operational capacity of vehicles, and the clever all-wheel drive system fitted to the Sprinter 4x4 delivers substantially improved handling and traction in such poor road conditions, thereby extending the already-impressive capabilities of the award-winning Sprinter.
All models from the Sprinter 4x4 range feature selectable all-wheel drive, allowing the driver to engage drive to all four wheels at the touch of a button, without the need for any manual activation. When in operation, front-to-rear drive torque is divided 35:65.
When in all-wheel drive mode, the Sprinter 4x4 utilises electronic control to direct torque to the wheels with the greatest amount of grip, and to reduce wheel slip to those with less traction. Known as 4ETS, or 4-wheel Electronic Traction System, this clever system mimics the operation of mechanical differential locks, but without the penalty of their weight, cost and consequent wear.
The 4ETS system works in close cooperation with the Sprinter 4x4’s standard-fitment ADAPTIVE ESP® (Electronic Stability Control) system, which constantly monitors the vehicle’s driving status, always on standby to help correct a loss-of-control condition prior to its occurrence.
All models in the Sprinter 4x4 come equipped with the same suite of safety and comfort features that have made the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter not only an award-winner, but also popular with customers from a variety of industries.
Adding all-wheel drive capability will see the Sprinter at home in a variety of vocations, extending its already-popular reach into areas such as mining, tourism, emergency services, and telecommunications.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 is priced from $67,990 (excluding dealer delivery and statutory charges) and is now available from all authorised Mercedes-Benz van dealerships.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 Model range
Customers who opt for the Sprinter all-wheel drive range have a variety of choices to suit their needs.
The option of all-wheel drive is available for the following Sprinter van and cab-chassis models, and has a recommended retail price of $22,000. Each Sprinter 4x4 model and its corresponding payload are detailed below.
* All prices exclude dealer delivery and statutory charges
** Denotes six-speed manual transmission fitted
* All prices exclude dealer delivery and statutory charges
** Denotes six-speed manual transmission fitted
Customers also have the choice of two torque-rich, economical and clean turbo-diesel engines: either the 110kW/330Nm four-cylinder power unit in the 315CDI and 515CDI versions, or the 3.0-litre V6 powerplant which produces 135kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
Two transmissions are also available (either six-speed manual or five-speed automatic).
The engine choices are summarised below.
The Sprinter 4x4 range is now available from all authorised Mercedes-Benz van dealerships across Australia.
Low-friction surfaces, gravel, mud and slush can quickly take conventional vans to the limits of their working capacity. A van is not generally confronted with severe traction-limiting driving conditions on a frequent basis and this is where the Sprinter 4x4’s selectable all-wheel drive system becomes ideal.
Under these surface conditions, Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive delivers substantially improved traction and handling.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 uses rear-wheel drive for standard driving conditions, but, when road conditions require it, drive to the front axle can be engaged at the touch of a dashboard-mounted button, even whilst moving (at speeds of up to around 10km/h).
In all-wheel drive mode, drive distribution between the front and rear axles is split at a ratio of 35:65. This helps deliver an optimised quantity of torque to each end of the vehicle, enabling it to retain agility and traction in slippery conditions.
The benefits of the Sprinter 4x4’s selectable all-wheel drive system are numerous. They include:
4ETS: Intelligent Grip
The main control system that provides the Sprinter 4x4 with superb all-wheel drive traction is called 4ETS, or 4-wheel Electronic Traction System.
The Sprinter’s 4ETS traction system permanently monitors the speeds of all driven wheels and searches for any signs of slip, or traction loss. When a slipping wheel is detected, 4ETS selectively applies braking force to limit its rate of slip and simultaneously sends drive torque to the wheels with greater grip.
The braking impulses that control the amount of wheel slip on driving wheels without traction is finely metered by sensors which constantly receive signals, thereby intervening only when needed and providing smooth progress on slippery surfaces.
The benefits of the 4ETS traction system are numerous.
Chief amongst these is it produces the same effect provided by combining traditional front, centre, and rear mechanical differential locks but without their weight or cost.
What’s more, the system is fully automatic and doesn’t require any separate activation by the driver, such as having to exit the vehicle to manually lock wheel hubs.
Low-Range Drive Ratio
The Sprinter 4x4 also comes equipped with a low-range drive ratio to enhance versatility in difficult low-traction terrain.
When AWD is selected, an intermediate gear in the vehicle’s transfer case reduces the transmission ration by around 40 percent and with a corresponding increase in the available drive torque, thereby providing greater ability to advance in tougher, steeper and more slippery terrain.
Safety: Priority Number One
The Sprinter 4x4 van and cab chassis range come comprehensively equipped with an array of safety features. Some of them are detailed below, alphabetically.
- AAS (Start-off Assist)
Start-off Assist prevents the vehicle rolling downhill during a hill start. This system is available in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and cab-chassis fitted with a manual transmission.
After the brake pedal has been released, the braking pressure is maintained for approximately two seconds, giving the driver more time to switch from the brake pedal to the accelerator without the vehicle rolling backwards.
Start-off Assist is only activated on gradients of around four percent or more and is immediately deactivated as soon as pressure on the accelerator indicates that the driver wishes to move off.
AAS does not cut in if the moving-off direction is downhill.
- ABS (Anti-Lock Brakes)
The anti-lock braking system prevents any or all of the wheels from locking when braking, based on continuously supplied information from wheel speed sensors.
If necessary, corrective action is taken by reducing the braking pressure at any wheel which is on the point of locking. This maintains steerability, for example when braking on split-friction surfaces, such as dry under the right wheels and wet under the left.
- ADAPTIVE ESP® (Electronic Stability Programme)
Keeping a close eye on matters whilst in motion is the Sprinter 4x4’s clever ADAPTIVE ESP® Electronic Stability Control system.
Fitted as standard equipment to every new Mercedes Benz Vito and Sprinter van and cab-chassis, ADAPTIVE ESP® makes an enormous contribution to occupant safety.
ESP® works on a ‘continuously monitoring’ principle: sensors in the vehicle register the behaviour of the driver and the vehicle, then send their data to a microprocessor in which a mathematical model is stored.
The actual parameters that monitor the current ‘status’ of the vehicle (its speed, steering wheel and yaw angles, for example) are compared with the reference values for the given situation to detect any risk of the vehicle entering a skid or slide.
Should such a driving situation be encountered, the vehicle uses specially developed control logic to intervene in an instant. This takes the form of precisely metered braking impulses at the front or rear wheels, as well as adjusting the engine’s torque output. Together, these measures work together to stabilise the vehicle should it encounter a slide-like condition.
ESP® first appeared in Mercedes-Benz cars in 1994. By 1999, the German car maker fitted all models in its passenger car range with this potentially life-saving technology, making it the first car maker in the world to do so.
The Mercedes-Benz van range takes this clever technology even further.
ADAPTIVE ESP® is also able to determine the mass and the centre of gravity of the vehicle.
Subject to the laws of physics, ADAPTIVE ESP® (which is an extended version of Electronic Stability Program ESP) works in conjunction with other on-board safety systems, such as AAS, ABS, ASR, BAS and EBD, to optimise the stability of the van or cab-chassis whether it is fully laden, partly-laden or empty.
For example, ADAPTIVE ESP® constantly monitors the changing centre of gravity in a courier driver’s Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Vito van as the mass and position of the payload is reduced with each delivery. This way, ADAPTIVE ESP is always on standby with optimal intervention tactics should the driver lose control and van enter a skid or slide.
ADAPTIVE ESP® includes features such as Roll Over Mitigation, Roll Movement Intervention and Understeering Control, which help to provide even more effective and precise stabilisation during cornering and dynamic driving manoeuvres.
ADAPTIVE ESP® works in close conjunction with 4ETS to maximise the Sprinter 4x4’s traction and stability in all driving conditions, on or off the road. Whether in 4x2 or 4x4 operating modes, ADAPTIVE ESP® operates without restriction.
- ASR (Acceleration Skid Control)
Acceleration skid control, also known as traction control, operates on a similar principle to ABS, except that its purpose is to prevent wheel spin when moving off from rest.
This makes for easier, skid-free starting on slippery surfaces.
- BAS (Brake Assist System)
Brake Assist identifies an emergency stopping situation by measuring the speed with which the brake pedal is applied.
Working with EBD and ABS, it then increases the brake pressure almost up to the slip threshold, thereby minimising the stopping distance.
- EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution)
As opposed to static brake force distribution, electronic brake force distribution actively proportions the braking force between the front and rear wheels, for optimal braking.
This way, ‘overbraking’ of the rear wheels is prevented, which in turn helps prevent the tail of the vehicle from entering a lateral slide.
Warranty: First in Class
In line with the entire Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter van and cab-chassis range, the new Sprinter 4x4 range comes with a comprehensive three-year, 200,000km new vehicle warranty.
Mercedes-Benz was the first to offer such extensive warranty support for Australian vehicles in this class.
Mercedes-Benz: More than a century of 4x4 expertise
The Sprinter 4x4 is the product of specialist technical experience Mercedes-Benz has developed since 1903, when Paul Daimler laid the foundations for this drive technology with a first design draft.
The company’s first all-wheel-drive vehicle appeared in 1904, and was quickly followed by others, establishing a long line of famous 4x4 vehicles from the three-pointed star, including icons such as the Mercedes-Benz Unimog and the G-Class cross-country off-roader, now in its 30th year of series production.
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