Back in December, Mercedes-Benz announced a four-wheel-drive version of its endlessly charming Sprinter van (the European model is pictured above), but didn't make a mention of any plans for US market sales. Now, that's all changed, as the German automaker has confirmed that its Sprinter 4x4 will be available for US consumption, with the 2015 model hitting dealerships in the first quarter of next year. This means Mercedes will offer the only four-wheel-drive work van in the US.
Unlike the rest of the refreshed Sprinters, which can be had with a new 2.1-liter inline-four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the US-spec 4x4 can only be had with the larger, 3.0-liter Bluetec V6, good for 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. While the Sprinter 4x4 does not feature full-time four-wheel drive, the system can be activated at the push of a button, at which point, there's a 35/65 front/rear torque split.
Mercedes-Benz points out that, obviously, the Sprinter 4x4 is not an off-road machine, but the body has been lifted by 4.3 inches in the front and 3.1 in the rear. There's even an optional low-range gear which, at the push of a button, shortens the transmission's gearing by 42 percent. Sounds pretty darn capable, to us.
The Sprinter 4x4 will be offered in both 144- and 170-inch wheelbases, with low and high roof options, and will come in Passenger, Crew and Cargo van specifications. (And here we thought the current model was already capable of anything.) Pricing should be announced closer to the van's on-sale date early next year. For now, have a look below for Mercedes' official press release.