If you were sitting around this winter thinking to yourself, "If only there were a way I could fit my snowmobile, about 30 cases of beer, and 11 of my closest friends in the same vehicle and drive it do the trailhead," then Mercedes-Benz has your answer. Just two months after the 4x4 Sprinter was announced for Europe, it's been marked for America, too.
On sale in the first quarter of 2015, you will only be able to get it with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder BlueTEC diesel, good for 188 hp and 325 lb-ft, the top engine offering in Europe. The four-wheel-drive system is a version of the 4ETS—better known as 4MATIC—found in all-wheel-drive Mercedes passenger cars and ML- and GL-Class SUVs. Unlike the cars, however, it is pushbutton-selectable in the Sprinter, with a load-adaptable 35:65 front/rear split. And just like the European version, there's an optional low range with an additional 42 percent gear reduction. Lifted 4.3 inches front and 3.1 inches rear, it gets a 20 percent improvement in approach angle.
It will be offered throughout the range, on high-roof and low-roof models on both short 144-inch and long 170-inch wheelbases, and in Passenger, Crew, and Cargo vans with 8550- and 11,030-lb gross weights, as well as outfitter chassis cabs. Prices will be announced later on, but it's sure to be a substantial option—a 144-inch BlueTEC Crew Van at $42,000. Expensive, but probably a compelling choice, especially for fleets that are currently putting forth $11K and up for a .
Where it is particularly appealing to us is in the notion of a go-anywhere motorhome conversion or toy-hauler that isn't afraid of infield mud (or a nuclear winter). Add a couple of long range tanks, and this is your new zombie apocalypse vehicle of choice.
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