I spend a lot of time trying to convince my friends and colleagues that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
is the world's most perfect vehicle. Basically – in my eyes anyway – there is nothing it cannot do, and do well
. And that point figures to be more true now that Daimler has introduced this all-wheel-drive Sprinter 4x4 model.
As you'll recall, the majestic Sprinter received a host of updates for the 2014 model year, including some minor styling tweaks and a new four-cylinder, Bluetec diesel engine. The Sprinter 4x4 can be fitted with a 129- or 163-horsepower version of that new inline-four, or a more powerful, 190-hp 3.0-liter Bluetec V6.
Unlike Mercedes' passenger car models, the Sprinter's all-wheel-drive system is not an always-on affair. Drivers need to press a button to engage AWD, at which point the 4ETS (electronic traction system) takes over. All-wheel drive can be activated when the vehicle is stationary, or at speeds up to 10 kilometers per hour (just over 6 miles per hour, you speed demons). When AWD is engaged, the Sprinter defaults to a 35/65 fore/aft power split. There's even an optional low range reduction gear, for low-speed, off-road conditions, as well as Downhill Speed Regulation that holds the vehicle at a consistent speed when driving down hills (self-explanatory, right?). The 4x4 Sprinter's body has also been raised by 4.3 inches up front and 3.1 inches in the rear – you know, for when the going gets extra tough.
will offer the Sprinter 4x4 in a variety of bodystyles, with ether a medium- or long-wheelbase, as well as the normal, high and extra-high roofs. As for North American availability, that's unclear as of this writing, but stay tuned to this space for an update once Merc's US arm officially confirms things for us, one way or the other.
For now, scroll down
to read all of the details in Mercedes' press release, and check out two videos of the Sprinter 4x4 in the snow. There's a huge gallery of high-res images up top, too.