The biggest visual difference is of course the ride height; Mercedes has lifted the Sprinter by 155mm at the front and by 135mm at the rear, giving the big van an approach angle of 26 degrees, an departure angle of 25 degrees (for standard wheelbase models) and a breakover angle of 23 degrees.
It’s not a genuine off-roader then but these figures are impressive nevertheless for a van of this size. Mercedes also says that, depending on the selected engine, the gradient climbing ability is also 20 percent better than that of a ‘normal’ Sprinter. The weight penalty that comes with the all-wheel drive system and the suspension lift is just 140kg (308lbs), with the load capacity remaining the same with the rest of the range.
The biggest highlight of the new Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 is the selectable all-wheel drive system, which can be enabled at speeds of up to 10km/h (6mph) via a switch on the instrument panel. In normal driving conditions, the system splits the torque between the axles in a ratio of 35:65 front to rear.
There’s also the adaptive ESP system which has been calibrated specifically for all-wheel drive and incorporates the 4ETS electronic traction control. The latter can mimic the effect of up to three locking differentials by pulsing the brakes on spinning wheels.
As an option, customers will be offered a Low Range reduction gear, which lowers the transmission ratio by 42 percent, increasing tractive power for low-speed off-road driving.
The order books for the new Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 have now opened in Europe, with prices starting from 46,272 euros ($52,625) -excluding VAT- for the standard wheelbase version in Germany.