The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 vans are the very first vehicles that introduced four-wheel drive capability to their segment. Keep reading to learn more info about these great heavy haulers.
When Mercedes first introduced its European Sprinter van to the North American commercial vehicle market, it caused a revolution. The Sprinter came with such great features as excellent fuel economy, diesel power and superb cargo capacity. Simply put, it was the right vehicle for the right time. But, the company is definitely not one to live from old glory, which is why adding 4x4 drive to its already celebrated lineup of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 vans has proven to be another original and smart choice. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Revolutionary 4x4 System
Available at an additional cost and added as part of the overall assembly process, the system is designed and manufactured by Oberaigner - 4x4 specialists from Austria. The first option is a standard all-wheel drive system designated ZG1. But, you’re also able to go for a Low-Range option called ZG3, which is push-button activated. It controls an off-road gear (intermediate gear) in the transfer case that reduces the gear ratio between the wheels and engine by around 40 percent. The van needs to be stationary in order to engage Low Range, but the 4WD system can be activated at any speed up to 9 kilometres per hour. As a result, power automatically splits to a default 35/65.
Engines to Suit All Needs
There are two options of engines you’ll be able to choose from in your Sprinter. The first is a relatively small 2.1-litre four-cylinder engine that generates 161 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. While suitably powerful in urban conditions, it might prove a bit underpowered on the highway. That’s where the larger, 3.0-litre V6 comes in with its 188 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. If you decide to go with the 4x4 system in your sprinter, you’ll also have to opt for the bigger engine. You’ll also have a choice between a 144-inch and 170-inch wheelbase, both of which offer sufficient maneuverability.
It might come as a surprise to learn that the Sprinter 4x4 actually handles like a car on the road, thanks to a low centre of gravity and well-designed chassis. The noise absorption and ride quality are nothing short of exquisite, even in the cargo hauling-intended 3500 series. The van simply floats along with the driver’s position being high and offering great forward visibility. A particular thing to keep in mind is the overall height of the vehicle, as it easily stands twice as tall as any surrounding sedan. While looking like a yacht that’s wandered onto a parking lot, Mercedes has seen to it that crosswinds are not a concern when driving down a highway. The Sprinter incorporates a feature called Crosswind Assist, which applies brakes on appropriate wheels in order to compensate for gusts of wind and keep you in the proper lane.
Exquisite Value for Money
Compared to the competition, the sticker prices found on Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 vans are considerably higher. When you look beyond the pricetag, the Sprinter wins when you consider things like total cost-of-ownership. Historically speaking, it has a much higher resale value and also comes with dramatically better fuel economy. Additionally, thanks to pushing service intervals out to 30,000 kilometres, the company has also cut the cost of maintenance. The Sprinter definitely has an advantage on the market when it comes to companies looking for a commercial van. If you’re currently in the market for a new company vehicle, consider this remarkable piece of German engineering if you’re out for massive volumes of space and superb quality.