The 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been revealed overnight in Duisburg, Germany, bringing a comprehensive technology update, the latest active safety systems, and a new front-wheel drive variant.
Now in its third generation, the Sprinter aims to revolutionise the commercial van market, bringing Mercedes-Benz's latest MBUX infotainment system – first seen in the all-new A-Class hatchback – along with the company's driver assistance technologies, previously reserved for the passenger car range.
According to Mercedes-Benz, there are some 1734 different variant combinations for the new Sprinter range, based on body type, powertrain, cab configuration, body length, tonnage and cargo space height.
For the first time, the rear- and all-wheel drive versions are joined by a new front-wheel drivetrain, which increases the payload by 50 kilograms over the rear-wheel-driven Sprinter and lowers the loading edge by 80 millimetres for added convenience.
Also new to the Sprinter range is a nine-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which is exclusive to the front-wheel drive variant, in addition to a "newly developed" six-speed manual shifter – again specific to the FWD model.
Two engines are available – a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel and a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel – with the smaller unit available in four different tunes.
Outputs for the four-cylinder diesel are 84kW/300Nm, 105kW/330Nm, 120kW/360Nm or 130kW/400Nm – maximum torque is available from 1400-2400rpm in the three lower tunes, while the higher-output version generates peak shove between 1800 and 2400rpm.
Meanwhile, the V6 offers outputs of 140kW and 440Nm, with the latter on tap from 1600 to 2600rpm.
The four-cylinder diesel is available with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive – though availability depends on the tune chosen – while the V6 can be had with rear- or all-wheel drive.
Key changes have also come on the inside, with the third-gen Sprinter gets an overhauled cockpit with the option of electrically-adjustable seats with memory function, along with available keyless start and "optimised air conditioning".
The cabin is headlined by the introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system which debuted with the new A-Class hatchback, offering a 10.25-inch central touchscreen display with optimised voice commands and LTE-capable network connectivity.
Using prompts like "the fuel tank is empty", MBUX will suggest fuel stations in the area or along a chosen route, while also featuring access to the Internet of Things (IoT) – allowing fleet operators to use remote services like vehicle status, logistics, fleet communication, maintenance management and a digital trip list.
Other highlights include the introduction of active safety systems from the passenger car range, including adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, driver fatigue monitoring, and a 360-degree camera system.
Behind the cabin, the Sprinter offers a load capacity of up to 17 cubic metres (17,000L), and a payload of up to 5.5 tonnes depending on variant.
Meanwhile, the rear doors have been reworked for added convenience, with the removal of the mechanically-released hatch in the 90-degree position, meaning the back door can be "conveniently opened with one hand".
The new Sprinter will land in Australian showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year.
Stay tuned for more images from the Sprinter's reveal