The 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 is unlike anything else sold in the United States. As vans go, the Sprinter is already a favorite in the Recreational Vehicle (RV) industry to use as a platform. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been in our market since the mid 1990s and it has a proven track record among those who have worked with it.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 is something new. More than a van with an added all-wheel drive (AWD) system, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 is a fairly capable off-road machine.
This type of capability is unique in our country with a majority of our professional vans having front or rear-drive-only setups. Sure, the Chevrolet Express van has an AWD option, but it was never meant for anything other than handling harsh weather/low traction conditions.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 is capable of traversing off road obstacles thanks to an additional 4.3-inches of lift up front and the rear is lifted 3.1-inches over the conventional Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The entire system: trasfer-case, additional mechanical components (front axle) and beefed-up suspension adds less than 300-lbs to the Sprinter.
Mercedes-Benz insists the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 is not an “off-roader” – despite providing a challenging off road course that the 4X4 Sprinter had no problem with – they say it’s merely a more capable machine. Right.
Press a dash-mounted button and the 4ETS electronic traction system normally sends 35 percent of the power forward and 65 percent to the rear. The system automatically move the power to the wheel that needs traction. Added to that, you can lower the gearing 42-percent for maximum crawling capability. This system works in conjunction with all of the traction aids (Load Adaptive Control, brake pre-loading, enhanced understeer control, electronic brake-force distribution, hydraulic brake assist, rollover mitigation, and brake drying among other traction/safety systems) to enhance its all-terrain capabilities.
You would think that the stability of such a tall vehicle would be an issue on high-angle obstacles and deep ruts. Nope. Sure, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 would lift a wheel, but its articulation is much better than you might expect.
When a wheel is lifted, or on a slippery patch, simply maintain acceleration and the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 will begin shifting power to the wheel(s) that grip. Given the excellent 325 lbs-feet of torque the turbo-diesel 3.0-liter BlueTech V6 makes, (it produces 188hp) you can crawl over obstacles without flogging the engine.
There is an optional four-cylinder diesel available for the regular Sprinter with a new 7-speed transmission. The V6 diesel is attached to a five-speed automatic transmission. This is the only power-train setup available for the 4X4.
You can mix and match configurations with the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4, including a 144 or 170-inch wheelbase, cargo van, passenger van, cargo and passenger van, and your choice of high and low roofs.
In my brief drive, I observed a stable, comfortable ride that rivals many heavy-duty pickup trucks. The seats are more comfortable than the Ram ProMaster, but the seating position is extremely high compared to the Ram as well.
TFLtruck needs to evaluate the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 in the Rocky Mountains as soon as possible. It deserves a full test! Perhaps, it will become our next long-term test vehicle.
Prices were not available at the time of this posting.
The off-road video with the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4X4 is here.