The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter revolutionized the commercial van segment when it first arrived in the U.S. in 2001. But we've been missing out on the all-wheel-drive version offered everywhere else in the world. Mercedes is remedying that with the 2015 model year, which sees the U.S. introduction of the Sprinter 4x4.
We previously reported that Mercedes was planning to finally bring the all-wheel-drive Sprinter to the 'States, and now the automaker has full details on that model. The Sprinter 4x4 will be available exclusively with the 3.0-liter Bluetec turbodiesel V-6, which makes 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Though it's not intended as an off-roader, the Sprinter 4x4 has been lifted 4.3 inches in front and 3.1 inches in the rear, and has the option of a low-range gear. The button-activated feature shortens gearing by 42 percent, improving traction in difficult terrain. The all-wheel drive system is also activated at the push of a button, which distributes 35 percent torque to the front wheels, and 65 percent to the rear. An Electronic Traction System (4ETS) and load-adaptive ESP come standard on the 4x4 mode.
The Sprinter 4x4 can be had in either 144-inch or 170-inch wheelbases, and in regular and high roof configurations. Available body styles for the 4x4 include Passenger Van, Cargo Van, and Crew Van, a two-row mixed passenger and cargo layout. Depending on body style, the all-wheel drive system can weigh as little as 265 pounds, which Mercedes says has minimal effect on payload.
Like the rest of the Sprinter range, which was updated for the 2014 model year, the 4x4 can choose from four optional assistance systems, including Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist, and Lane Keeping Assist. Other available features include HID headlights, foglights, a headlight washing system, a heated windshield, and rear-view camera with backup warning and Parktronic systems.
The 2015 Sprinter 4x4 goes on sale in the first quarter of 2015 at authorized Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner dealers.