The Sprinter 4X4 has been put to the test in the Swiss Alps.

The Sprinter 4X4 has been put to the test in the Swiss Alps.

The new Sprinter 4x4 – the only ex-factory all-wheel-drive large van with ESP - ensures crucial extra traction under demanding conditions, such as snow and ice in high-altitude mountain conditions, according to the automaker.

As a crewbus or minibus, the Sprinter 4x4 is able to transport hotel guests to a snow-covered resort in the Alps. But, it is also a dependable partner below the mountains: for example as a panel van for the mechanic who has to reach the wind turbine on the soggy meadow while transporting tools and heavy spare parts, or as a pickup fighting its way through muddy construction sites.

The Sprinter 4x4’s all-wheel-drive system can be activated at the push of a button, and the torque is then distributed at a ratio of 35:65 between the front and rear axle. At this point the Electronic Traction System 4ETS takes over: the driver simply needs to make well-dosed use of the accelerator pedal and steering wheel while the technology takes care of the rest, according to Mercedes-Benz. The standard-fit Adaptive ESP is always active even when all-wheel drive is engaged. This combination of all-wheel-drive technology and active safety is only available for the Sprinter in this segment.

Optionally the new all-wheel-drive van is equipped with an additional reduction gear that makes it even more sure-footed in difficult terrain, according to Mercedes-Benz. When the driver pushes the low-range button, the gearing is shortened by a factor of 1.42 or 42 percent. Tractive power increases accordingly. Another option for the Sprinter 4x4 is the new Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) system, which ensures that a preselected speed is maintained constantly when driving downhill.

Although the Sprinter 4x4 is not an off-roader, its body lifted by 110 mm at the front and by 80 mm at the rear is indicative of typical all-terrain qualities, according to the automaker. Depending on engine variant, the slope climbing ability is around 20 percent higher than in the Sprinter with conventional drive. Depending on the model, the all-wheel-drive system of the Sprinter 4x4 merely adds about 120 kg in weight, which means only a minimal effect on payload.

Fuel consumption is just 0.4 to 0.8 l/100 km higher than for the rear-wheel-drive Sprinter. For example, the Sprinter 313 BlueTec 4x4 consumes only 8.3L/100 km (NEDC combined), according to the automaker.

The new Sprinter 4x4 features a new engine range that complies with the future Euro VI emissions standard, according to Mercedes-Benz. It includes two four-cylinder diesel engines with a displacement of 2.15L and power outputs of 129 hp and 163 hp. The third available engine variant is a six-cylinder diesel engine (3.0L displacement) with a power output of 190 hp.

The new Sprinter 4x4 has a number of safety systems, including Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. Crosswind Assist will follow in 2014.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet