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Mercedes-Benz Vans USA Unveils all-new Sprinter AWD System with an Advanced Engine Line-up

Mercedes-Benz Vans on Monday introduced the new all-wheel drive (AWD) system and 4-cylinder Sprinter diesel and gas lineup that will be available for the US market early next year. We expect the new configuration to be ideal for camper and touring conversions but do have some concerns that the 1.9l OM654 engine will have the sufficient power to pull a fully loaded and equipped camper.

According to Mercedes Benz, the new Sprinter has transitioned to a more efficient 4-Cylinder portfolio, 9G-TRONIC Transmission and new AWD system, carried over from Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and the new OM654 engine is said to achieve smoother acceleration, higher torque values, decreased emissions and lower noise and vibration levels. It will be available in two power output ratings: 168 horsepower and 208 horsepower, the goal is a more capable engine compared to its predecessors. The combination of aluminum block and steel pistons, the stepped recess combustion process, Nanoslide cylinder coating for reduced in-engine friction and the dynamic multi-way exhaust gas re-circulation facilitates lower consumption and low emissions. Due to its position, the exhaust gas after treatment, works with little heat loss resulting in a more efficient operation.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van

Mercedes-Benz Vans will also be transitioning over to a new 9G-TRONIC transmission (9-speed), now equipped as standard for all variants. The 9G-TRONIC transmission provides customers with increased driving comfort, reduction in fuel consumption, decreased noise levels, lower emissions, higher overall gear ratio and quicker downshifts, allowing for agile acceleration. Compared to the previous 7G-TRONIC transmission offering, the 9G-TRONIC offers an increased first gear ratio resulting in a quicker take-off, more gears, and a greater ratio spread leading to an overall improved performance.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van

The new Sprinter AWD replaces the previous 4×4 system and Mercedes promises more power, endurance and overall seamless transition. With the AWD, drivers are expected to experience automatic torque on demand with up to 50% split per axle, unlike the previous engageable system, which provided 35 percent of torque to the front and 65 percent to the rear axle when in 4×4 mode. The new Sprinter AWD system also maintains capabilities offered by its predecessor in terms of ground clearance, approach angle, departure angle and breakover angle.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van

It is yet to be seen if the drive train/engine combination will operate as efficiently and powerfully as promised, particularly in an overland application.

Current Sprinter Van offerings average around $45,000, it is quite possible that the base price will rise considerably for 2023.

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell