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Mercedes-Benz Vans: New Models and Class-Leading Features for 2008

February 28th, 2008



The year 2008 marks a celebratory milestone for the Mercedes-Benz Vans business in Australia; it’s been ten years since the van brand with the three-pointed star was released to an enthusiastic Australian public.

Since establishing its Australian roots in 1998, the following decade has seen considerable local growth and development for Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Both the award-winning Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter van ranges have attracted a considerable customer following, with more than 34,900 Australian van customers making Mercedes-Benz their first choice since 1998.

Both the Vito and Sprinter model ranges have been the ideal van with customers from a variety of Australian industries, ranging from individual retailers (such as florists and bakeries) through to courier operators, tourism companies and tradespeople from all industries.

In addition, the development of key customer accounts has contributed to the impressive steps taken by the Mercedes-Benz van business in Australia. More than 90 percent of front-line ambulances in Australia now wear the three-pointed star, and soon much of Australia’s mail will be delivered by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. And if you’ve rented a Britz or Maui camper recently, chances are it was Mercedes-Benz-powered, given that THL has the second-largest campervan rental fleet in the world and recently placed a record order for 370 Sprinter van and cab chassis for both the Australian and New Zealand tourism markets.

In line with customer and dealer feedback, this year sees the award-winning Mercedes-Benz van range undergo numerous revisions and enhancements, and the introduction of two new models: the Vito 111 CDI (available in Compact, Long Wheel Base High Roof and Extra Long Wheel Base) and the Sprinter 311 CDI Short Wheel Base van. From January 2008, all models in both the Vito and Sprinter ranges benefit from additional standard equipment levels, and come backed by Mercedes-Benz’s class-leading new vehicle warranty support (three-years / 200,000km, with 24-hour roadside assistance), the first Australian van retailer to offer such peace of mind.

Mercedes-Benz Vito: compact performer
  • New model: the Vito 111 CDI
  • Additional equipment and value enhancement

Headlining the list of revisions for the Vito range is the addition of an all-new model to the catalogue: the Mercedes-Benz Vito 111 CDI. Available in a variety of configurations this new model offers greater choice and value to Australian van customers. The advent of the Vito 111 CDI sees changes to the entry-level 109 CDI, now only available as a compact van. Also supporting Mercedes-Benz Vans’ value strategy is the addition of greater standard equipment levels to the Vito range, the direct result of dealer and customer feedback.

New addition: the Mercedes-Benz Vito 111 CDI

For the first time in Australia Mercedes-Benz is offering the new Vito 111 CDI.

Available in both van (Compact, Long wheelbase with high roof and Extra-long wheelbase) and crew cab (in both Compact and Extra-long wheelbases) the Vito 111 CDI produces 85 kW of power (at 3,800 RPM), more than 20 percent compared to the Vito 109 CDI. Torque in the Vito 111 CDI is 290 Nm (at 1,600 RPM), which is 16 percent more than that in the 109 CDI.

The all-new Vito 111 CDI comes fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment, with a 5-speed full automatic transmission optionally available for $2,500.

Fuel consumption in the Vito 111 CDI is impressive, with only 8.1-litres of diesel consumed every 100km travelled.

Dimensionally, the new Vito 111 CDI has a wheelbase of 3200mm (Compact) and an overall height of 1902mm. The van variant’s generous load compartment of 4.65m3 (2224mm x 1650mm x 1353mm, length x width x height) makes for versatile cargo carrying, and its tight turning circle of 11.8m offers great agility in tight spaces.

The new Vito 111 CDI comes equipped with a raft of standard features, including Mercedes-Benz’s SPEEDTRONIC combined cruise control and speed limiter. The cruise control function allows the driver to set the desired cruising speed and the integrated speed limited function sets the desired maximum speed. SPEEDTRONIC enhances safety by assisting the driver to adhere to posted speed limits and contributes to fatigue-free driving, especially on long distance journeys.

Also fitted as standard equipment to the Vito 111 CDI (manual transmission) is Start-Off Assist. This function allows the van to be held stationary for two seconds when the brake pedal is released. This safety feature is activated on gradients of four percent of more and is ideal for safe and smooth hill starts, and conveniently relieves the driver from having to use the hand brake when moving off on slopes.

Like all new Mercedes-Benz vans, the new Vito 111 CDI is covered by a three-year / 200,000km new vehicle warranty, including 24-hour roadside assistance. Mercedes-Benz was the first van company to offer such comprehensive new van warranty support in Australia.

The Vito 111 CDI is priced from $40,490 (Compact; manual transmission; price excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges), $1,500 more than the 109 CDI Compact, representing a premium of just under four percent.

Entry-level value: the Mercedes-Benz Vito 109 CDI

The entry-level Vito 109 CDI van is now available in only Compact configuration. Previously offered in van form with a long-wheel base/high roof as well in extra-long wheelbase, and in both compact and extra-long wheelbase as a crew cab van, the Vito 109 CDI is now offered as an affordable entry to the Mercedes-Benz van range in compact size only.

The rear-wheel drive Vito 109 CDI produces 70 kW of power (at 3,800 RPM) and 250 Nm of torque from a low 1,400 RPM from its 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission is fitted as standard equipment (automatic not available) and fuel consumption is a low 8.9-litres/100km.
The 109 CDI Compact van is priced at $38,990 (excluding dealer delivery and statutory charges).

At a glance: the Vito 109 CDI vs the Vito 111 CDI

Model

Vito 109 CDI

Vito 111 CDI

Comments

Power

70 kW

85 kW

+15 kW / +21%

Torque

250 Nm

290 Nm

+40 Nm / +16%

Fuel Economy (ADR 80/01)

8.9-litres/100km

8.1-litres/100km

Vito 111 CDI: 9% better fuel consumption

SPEEDTRONIC

$550 Option

STANDARD

 

Start-Off Assist

Not Available

STANDARD

Only on Vito 111 CDI Manual

Full Automatic Transmission

Not Available

$2,500 Option

 

Price *

$38,990 (Manual)

$40,490 (Manual)

Vito 111 CDI $1,500 more

* Price Excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges

 Product enhancements for the Vito van range in 2008

New for 2008 is a variety of equipment now fitted as part of the Vito range’s standard specification. These additions are detailed below.

  • Electric mirrors

Electric mirrors are now fitted to all models in the Vito van range. This feature allows the driver to adjust both exterior rear vision mirrors from the comfort of the driver’s seat.

Additionally, this now-standard feature incorporates a heating element to aid in the defrosting of the mirrors. This is particularly useful during early morning starts in the colder months, and enhances safety when reversing on frosty / icy mornings.

  • SPEEDTRONIC

Mercedes-Benz’s combined cruise control / speed limiter is now fitted as standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz Vito vans (optional on Vito 109 CDI). This important function is controlled by the driver’s left hand on a steering column-mounted stalk and controls the van’s cruising speed (when in cruise control mode). Pushing the lever in activates a yellow LED and denotes SPEEDTRONIC is in speed limiter mode. In this capacity, the van’s speed can be set (above 30 km/h) and is an important safety feature that seeks to ensure the vehicle’s speed does not go beyond that set by the driver.

Already proven in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car world over many years, SPEEDTRONIC is a vital tool in maximising fuel efficiency, on-road safety and legal compliance whilst driving.

 Trailer socket pre-wiring

From 2008 all Mercedes-Benz Vito vans will be pre-wired at the factory for trailer coupling installations. This naturally simplifies the process of fitting an approved trailer coupling at an authorised dealership and reduces the time of its fitting.

Importantly, this pre-wiring feature also incorporates Mercedes-Benz’s ESP® Trailer Stability Assist. This vital safety feature is a supplement to the vehicle’s Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®) and works to control the van’s trailer should it get into a swaying motion, commonly referred to as ‘fishtailing’. This swaying motion immediately affects the balance of the whole van/trailer combination and, if not corrected, can rapidly reach a critical level and cause the vehicle-trailer combination to veer out of control.

ESP® Trailer Stability Assist utilises the same sensors as ESP®. It is a system that automatically applies the brakes in order to counteract this dangerous fishtailing.

ESP® Trailer Stability Assist works in the following way: as soon as fishtailing is detected (using a sensor to determine yaw rate, for example), the brakes are applied to the front wheels and engine torque is reduced. In the event of successive interventions, the brakes are applied for longer periods and with increasing power. This significantly reduces vehicle speed, which in turn alerts the driver to the fishtailing trailer and to the need to reduce speed.

Thanks to its sensitive mode of operation, ESP® Trailer Stability Assist is able to counteract fishtailing long before it reaches a critical level. By means of a gentle application of the brakes to the front wheels, the system can in many cases pre-empt the danger and thus substantially enhance both safety and comfort. The ESP® warning light on the dashboard informs the driver that TSA has been activated.

The system does not require any further sensors fitted to the trailer or the trailer coupling.

  • Start-Off Assist

Fitted as standard equipment to the all-new Vito 111 CDI (manual transmission only), Start-Off Assist aids the driver with hill starts. When moving off from a standing start on a sloping road, Start-Off Assist holds the van’s brakes for two seconds, giving enough time for the driver to move from the brake pedal to the accelerator / clutch combination to move away. This avoids the need to use the hand brake, which is often used in a traditional hill start.

Start-Off Assist operates on gradients of four percent or more and adds safety and convenience in the new model.

  • Seatbelt Warning

Adding to the list of now-standard equipment in the Mercedes-Benz Vito range is a visual and audible warning system for occupants whose seat belts are not fastened. This safety feature is now fitted across all models in the Vito range (both van and crew cab).

The Vito 115 CDI wagon and all 120 CDI variants provide this warning for both the driver and front seat passenger.

  • Luxury dashboard for Vito 120 CDI

Adding a touch of class to the range-leading Vito 120 CDI is the fitment of a new soft-touch luxury dashboard. This new feature gives customers enhanced aesthetic appeal and visual differentiation from the rest of the Vito van range, and includes aluminium-look trim.

  • Passenger Airbag

A dashboard-mounted front passenger-side airbag (130-litres in volume) is now fitted as standard equipment to the Vito 120 CDI (both van and crew cab variants) and on the eight-seat Vito 115 CDI wagon. This airbag is an optional feature on all other Mercedes-Benz Vito models.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: versatile leader
  • New model: the Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van
  • The Mercedes-Benz of mini-buses: the Sprinter Transfer
  • Super Single Rear Wheels: even more capacity
  • Additional equipment and value enhancement

In similar fashion to its smaller sibling, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter range has also undergone a host of product-based revisions and enhancements for 2008, making this popular seller even more attractive to customers.

Chief amongst these changes is the addition of an all-new model: the Sprinter 311 CDI SWB (Short Wheel Base) van.

Also adding even greater versatility for customers is the introduction of Super Single rear wheels, providing even greater width between the rear wheel arches in the Sprinter and allowing full-sized pallet access via the van’s rear doors. This simple but effective feature resolves the challenge of balancing payload needs with cargo floor space and vehicle size, offering customers the necessary flexibility when selecting the right van for their needs.

Adding even greater value to the range is the addition of even richer levels of standard equipment.

All-new model: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van

New for 2008 is the all-new Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van, a new model to join the extensive Sprinter model range.
The new 311 CDI SWB van adds even more variety to the wheel bases and roof heights already available to customers in this segment of the Sprinter model series, which also includes:

  • Short Wheel Base High Roof
  • Mid-Wheel Base
  • Mid-Wheel Base High Roof
  • Long Wheel Base High Roof
  • Long Wheel Base Super High Roof

Powering the Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van is the same 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine found in the Sprinter 311 range. This power unit produces 80 kW of power (at 3,800 RPM) and solid torque of 280 Nm between 1,600 RPM and 2,500 RPM.

Transferring the power in the rear-wheel-drive 311 CDI SWB van is a standard-fitment six-speed manual transmission, with a five-speed full automatic transmission optionally available.

The Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van offers generous dimensions where really needed, but makes great use of its well-proportioned exterior size, especially in tighter urban areas.

This new model sports a wheel base of 3250mm and a payload capacity of 1605 kg, making it ideal for a variety of customer applications. One noteworthy example is Australia Post, who has selected the Sprinter 311 CDI SWB as its preferred choice of mail van.

This model’s length of 5245mm, height of 2415mm and tight turning circle of 12.3m makes it ideal for metropolitan areas, where space can often be tight.
The Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van’s 7.5m3 load volume offers customers loads of space, and its 280 Nm of torque will make light work of its 1605 kg load capacity.

The new Sprinter 311 CDI SWB comes with an extensive list of standard equipment. Included are the following features:

  • A vast array of active and passive safety equipment, including Mercedes-Benz ADAPTIVE ESP® Electronic Stability Programme with ABS anti-lock brakes, ASR traction control, BAS brake assist system, electronic brake force distribution and driver’s airbag
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Air-conditioning with automatic temperature control
  • SPEEDTRONIC with combined cruise control and speed limiter functions
  • Start-Off Assist (manual transmission only)
  • Non-slip step integrated into rear bumper

To personally tailor their new Sprinter, including the new 311 CDI SWB, customers can also choose from a variety of factory-fitted options and dealer-fitted accessories.

Like all new Mercedes-Benz vans, the new Sprinter 311 CDI SWB van is covered by a three-year / 200,000km new vehicle warranty, including 24-hour roadside assistance. Mercedes-Benz was the first van company to offer such comprehensive new van warranty support in Australia.

The Mercedes-Benz of mini-buses: the Sprinter Transfer

Late last year, Mercedes-Benz ushered a new standard into Australia’s light commercial vehicle sector with the advent of the Sprinter Transfer. This new model mini bus offers not only Mercedes-Benz comfort for up to 12 people and their luggage but will be the only vehicle of its type offering a full five-speed automatic transmission in its segment.

The 315 mid-wheelbase (MWB) Sprinter Transfer has an upgraded GVM of 3,880 kg to ensure a full complement of luggage can be carried whilst up to 12 adults are driven in comfort.

The Sprinter Transfer boasts an extensive list of standard equipment, including rear air-conditioning, dual airbags, a 3-year specialist road care package for customers as well as a five-speed full-automatic transmission.

Factory-fitted optional equipment available to customers includes high roofing level, long-range fuel tank, and bi-xenon headlamps, to name only a few.

Produced in the Mercedes-Benz mini bus factory in Dortmund, Germany, the 110 kW / 330 Nm Sprinter Transfer is expected to provide a much-needed premium mini bus solution to industries such as tourism, hospitals, government bodies and rental car companies, all without the need for local seating or window modifications to meet their needs.

Recommended Retail Pricing for the Sprinter Transfer is from $74,990 (excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges). Government and StarFleet pricing is also available from all authorised Mercedes-Benz van dealerships.

Product enhancements for the Sprinter van range in 2008

New for 2008 is the fitment of additional standard equipment to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van range. These equipment additions are detailed below.

  •  Super Single Rear Wheels

Perhaps one of the most significant changes for the 2008 Sprinter van range is the availability of Super Single rear wheels.

Due to the reduced rear wheel width of these Super Single rear wheels compared to traditional dual rear wheels, this new feature sees the distance between the rear wheel arches (inside the cargo area) grow from 980mm to 1228mm. This means a standard-sized pallet can now be fitted between the rear wheel arches and loaded through the van’s rear doors, clearly offering customers even greater ease and convenience.

A problem often encountered by van customers is that many vans that can carry a full-sized pallet between the rear wheel arches does not always have the desired GVM capability, and vice versa. The introduction of this feature allows customers to achieve the desired balance between payload / GVM, cargo floor space requirements and van size.

Key customer groups who are expected to find this new feature of significant value and importance include refrigerated van operators, the freight sector and mobile workshops.

The new Super Single rear wheel feature is available on the following Sprinter van models:

  • Sprinter 415 Mid-Wheel Base - $53,990 RRP
  • Sprinter 415 Long Wheel Base - $57,490 RRP
  • Sprinter 418 Long Wheel Base - $63,490 RRP

The rear tyres on Sprinter vans fitted with the Super Single feature measure 285/65/16 in size.

Customers will be able to take delivery of Sprinter vans with this feature from September this year.

New for Sprinter: automatic door operation

New for 2008 Sprinter vans are practical and convenient sliding door options.

Customers can now specify Closing Door Assist as a factory-fitted option, which sees the side door close electrically when the door’s latch is engaged, negating the need to push or ‘slam’ the door home when closing it.

In addition, customers can opt for the full electric closing feature, which sees no manual effort required to close the side doors. Pushing a button located on the dashboard, the B-pillar or the key fob sees the door close automatically, adding even more convenience to owning a Sprinter van.

Customers can even choose the new keyless entry feature. Here, the vehicle senses the proximity of the driver when they are holding the keys and automatically opens, closes and locks the van’s door, all without having to activate an instruction. This is particularly handy when the driver’s hands are full, and bypasses the need to put cargo down and pick it up again in order to open and close the van’s doors. The safety and health benefits here are numerous.

  • SPEEDTRONIC

The entire Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and cab chassis ranges now come equipped with the SPEEDTRONIC combined cruise control / speed limiter as standard equipment. Controlled by the driver’s left hand on a steering column-mounted stalk and, this vital function controls the van’s cruising speed (when in cruise control mode).

Pushing the lever in activates a yellow LED and denotes SPEEDTRONIC is in speed limiter mode. In this capacity, the van’s speed can be set (beyond a speed of 30 km/h) and is an important safety feature that seeks to ensure the vehicle’s speed does not go beyond that set by the driver. The safety and fuel-saving benefits of this new standard feature have been demonstrated for many years in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car line-up.

  • Seatbelt Warning

Also new to the standard equipment list in the Sprinter model range is a visual and audible warning system for occupants whose seat belts are not fastened. This safety feature is now fitted across all models

All model variants in the Sprinter range have this warning for the driver, now fitted as standard equipment.

Mercedes-Benz Vans: safety first

As a safety leader for many decades, Mercedes-Benz has developed both the Vito and Sprinter ranges with the leading edge passive and active safety features the German auto maker is famous for.

Perhaps one of the most unique and important safety features that stars in all Vito and Sprinter is Mercedes-Benz’s ADAPTIVE ESP® Electronic Stability Control.

ADAPTIVE ESP: latest-generation system with extended functionality

ADAPTIVE ESP® is equipped with an additional sensor (over standard ESP®), which measures longitudinal acceleration. Integrated in ADAPTIVE ESP® are the anti-lock braking system (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), hydraulic Brake Assist (BAS) and, on vehicles so fitted, the Start-off Assist system. With this comprehensive safety package, the Sprinter and Vito set new standards in their respective classes.

ADAPTIVE ESP also calculates payload and centre of gravity

The extended functionality of the ADAPTIVE ESP system, as fitted in both the Vito and Sprinter, includes a self-learning algorithm which calculates vehicle mass and centre of gravity based on parameters such as acceleration, speed, accelerator pedal position, brake pressure, and so on. This allows ADAPTIVE ESP® to react more precisely to critical driving situations – for example when cornering near the limit. ADAPTIVE ESP also provides more precisely controlled braking and setting off on surfaces where the friction is different on different sides of the vehicle.

Extended ADAPTIVE ESP functionality for even greater safety

The extended functionality of the new ADAPTIVE ESP includes systems like Roll Over Mitigation (ROM), Roll Movement Intervention (RMI) and Understeering Control (USC). ROM detects critical lateral acceleration when cornering and reacts by reducing engine torque and by increasing braking pressure at the relevant wheels. The system is activated in risk situations such as cornering at excessive speeds on motorway exit roads. RMI enhances the effectiveness of ADAPTIVE ESP by means of engine and braking intervention in dynamic situations such as sudden evasive manoeuvres. USC provides enhanced stability under heavy understeer, ensuring that the front pushes less wide on corners – for example when driving quickly through tight bends.


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