Mercedes-Benz Vans is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Sprinter. A special Mercedes me media article shines a spotlight on the Sprinter's position over the decades and demonstrates how the vehicle has always managed to perfectly combine its historical tradition with modern innovation.
Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Norbert Kunz, says: "The secret of the Sprinter’s success is its versatility which has been our top priority, next to the focus on safety. Thanks to its wide range of variants, it is also the first choice when it comes to solutions for upfitters.” The versatility of the van has always included a wide range of engine, transmission and powertrain variants. "The eSprinter continues the Sprinter's tradition of offering diversity in terms of powertrains as well as the consistent electrification of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ product portfolio",
Benjamin Kaehler, Headof eDrive@VANs, explains. "It offers the possibility of delivering goods, driving to the construction site or carrying out service work - and all in a future-oriented, locally emission-free manner."
1995: A van anticipates the coming decade
When the current world of online commerce was barely imaginable, an ultramodern van was launched onto the market ideal for the logistics challenges ahead. With disk brakes at the front and rear wheels, the anti-lock braking system ABS including the automatic brake differential ABD, a more aerodynamic body, low consumption and many other innovations, the Sprinter set standards with regard to safety, efficiency and comfort and became the worthy successor to the legendary T1. According to various media sources, this made it the eponym for the "Sprinter class".
From the outset, the new van positioned itself as truly multi-talented: it was available as a chassis, platform vehicle or tipper vehicle, with a crew cab or a single cab respectively, as a panel van and as a crew bus with five or nine seats, with a low or high roof. The variety of models and dimensions suited numerous types of application – from construction sites, to deliveries, to passenger transportation, and to fire and rescue services. It even became a popular choice for camper van fitouts.
2006: Extensively advanced and with significantly more capacity
Over 1.3 million Sprinter sales and several facelifts later, in 2006 Mercedes-Benz presented a comprehensive further development: whilst there had previously already been a very broad range of variants, customers were now able to access a tailor-made solution for practically any requirement.
Innovations included an extra-wide load compartment sliding door, the super-high roof and a fourth body length. Powertrains have been further optimised with a new range of engines and a new 6-speed transmission for diesel variants. There was also an improved brake system, ADAPTIVE ESP, with extended functions for all tonnages and a revised stowage concept in the vehicle interior. New features also included the wide-base tyres at the rear axle for the 4.6-tonne variant, the bi-xenon headlamps with static cornering and curve lights, a thorax bag for the driver and co-driver, the PARKTRONIC system and much more.
2013: More output, more safety
Thanks to the latest engine technology featuring SCR technology, the Sprinter was the first van ever to meet the Euro VI exhaust emissions standard. With an efficient drivetrain and numerous innovations, the further-developed Sprinter from 2013 again took up a new top position among the competition. Contributing factors are, among other things, an efficiency package with ECO steering assistance pump, the ECO start/stop function and a long rear-axle ratio. In addition to an extended mobility guarantee and the 7-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS, customers had yet more equipment options to choose from. The focus was again on safety in particular: the Sprinter was now the first van to be equipped as standard with Crosswind Assist for closed vehicle models. Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST are just some of the features also available.
2018: With a further drive variant and intelligent connectivity
The third Sprinter generation combined progressive design with comfort and safety features only usually seen in passenger cars. Mercedes PRO connect services and the multimedia system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) are added. The service enables orders to be managed online and vehicle information such as the location, fuel supply or maintenance intervals to be called up practically in real time.
With these drive variants and the so-called traction head vehicle version, the current Sprinter forms an ideal basis for motorhome conversions. An offer which numerous conversion specialists in this expanding segment are already using.
More than 1000 different versions of the current Sprinter can be configured from the possible bodies, chassis, drive concepts, tonnages and equipment details alone. There is also more choice with regard to the engine thanks to the front-wheel drive available for the first time and two transmissions developed for it, as well as a 9-speed automatic transmission with converter.
2019: Entry into electric mobility with the eSprinter
Economical, reliable and flexible as before, but now also able to distribute goods, drive to construction sites or respond to servicing call-outs, all with zero local emissions – the eSprinter is presented at the end of 2019. With a usable battery capacity of 47 kWh, its range is around 168 kilometres with a maximum payload of 891 kilograms. Anyone valuing more payload can simply opt for a lower battery capacity.
With vehicles on the roads in 130 countries, the future of the Sprinter looks bright.
Article adapted from Mercedes me media special.