2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD finds higher footing


The steep, unpaved driveway was so unfastened and mud-slicked from latest rains that I might really feel the bottom sliding ever so barely beneath the tires, even after we’d stopped. 

I used to be instructed by my information within the passenger seat of a giant 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD passenger van, on the mucky off-road park close to Stuttgart, to reverse and again up the small hill, and he didn’t appear in the least nervous concerning the concrete wall only a foot or two away. 

With out participating any particular modes or following any particular tactic for accelerating out, I flippantly then reasonably pressed the accelerator. The Sprinter, driving on Continental VanContact Winter tires, didn’t waste any energy to the rear wheels. As a substitute, it gently labored the entrance wheels bearing practically all the large van’s weight, gaining traction aspect to aspect to push the van cleanly up the incline and out of the mud pit.

It was a nerve-wracking however fast demonstration, and although we did different driving within the mud, it was probably the most spectacular of the day. Engineers conceded that it might have ended fairly in a different way within the outgoing van. 

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

Taking the starring function on this maneuver was a brand new four-wheel-drive system that makes use of a multi-clutch system to repeatedly differ the torque break up, sending as much as 100% to the entrance or 100% to the rear, or any mixture in between, with the assistance of brake torque vectoring. Primarily a transplant from the Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS SUVs, it’s a giant enchancment over the earlier system, which was a part-time system locked to a break up of 33% to the entrance and 67% to the rear.

Normal downhill help management will be turned on when desired to reasonable a really low, controllable price of descent, even when the going will get slippery. The velocity is adjustable considerably greater or decrease through the cruise management toggle. 

Those that need all-wheel-drive within the revamped 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter lineup should go along with the diesel engine, and what’s below the hood is improved, too, taking part in an vital function on this new traction and refinement. The brand new-generation 2.0-liter inline-4 turbodiesel engine is obtainable in a alternative of two completely different energy outputs—170 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, or 211 hp and 332 lb-ft—however all-wheel drive is obtainable solely together with the higher-output engine. 

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

It’s hooked as much as a brand new 9-speed automated transmission. First gear for the automated is definitely 25% decrease than the earlier setup afforded with a low vary, in order that they’ve eradicated that layer of transfer-case complexity solely. 

This is identical OM654 engine that’s used throughout the Mercedes-Benz automotive and SUV lineup in Europe. Mercedes says it’s a “extra succesful engine” than its turbodiesel predecessor, an inline-6. The corporate additionally notes that the brand new engine and transmission convey improved effectivity, decreased noise ranges, decrease emissions, and extra sprightly efficiency, together with faster launches. 

That’s precisely what I skilled in a brief on-road drive. Whereas I didn’t expertise the potential elevated sound and roughness of a chilly begin, it’s quiet and easy. It additionally pairs effectively with the transmission, which delivers beautifully damped upshifts and fast downshifts that feelborrowed from a luxurious SUV. 

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

Electrical energy steering additionally replaces hydraulic-boost steering for 2023, and it has a lightweight, exact really feel that makes the van simpler to put on tight metropolis streets, round roundabouts, and such. 

That mentioned, this van will not be a fancy SUV that can do most of its miles on the every day commute, or on the way in which to soccer follow. Mercedes-Benz has quite a bit driving on its Sprinter vans. They’re the selection for supply drivers, act as brawny upfits for plumbers and electricians, and likewise serve ski resorts, rafting corporations, and out of doors lovers. The Sprinter has been obtainable with four-wheel drive since 2015, and just about from the outset that made it one of many high new-vehicle picks for the overlanding craze. 

Again to the slippery stuff. The best way the improved Sprinter AWD scrambles for traction jogs my memory extra of dual-motor electrical automobiles than different all-wheel-drive vans I’ve pushed. There’s a stage of finesse that truck platforms equivalent to this hardly ever exhibit. 

Mercedes engineers confirmed that whereas the system is carried over from SUVs, it has developed an enormous, expanded management map to accommodate completely different loading (and upfit) facets of the van, upsized tires, lifts, and all the remaining that an overlanding consumer would possibly throw at it. 

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD

I couldn’t assist however marvel if all this traction experience will probably be shared with upcoming electrical Sprinters, because the model shifts towards a full electrical lineup by 2030. For now, that query stays unanswered, however there have undoubtedly been hints. Mercedes has already introduced that beginning in 2023, a brand new eSprinter will probably be inbuilt South Carolin, and designed on a modular Electrical Versatility Platform that can place an electrical motor on the rear wheels. As for an all-wheel-drive eSprinter, I stay optimistic that it’ll stay an possibility with the Van.EA devoted EV platform for gentle business automobiles. It’s exhausting to think about Mercedes giving up such functionality within the shift to electrical. 

The 2023 Sprinters are arriving now within the U.S. The beginning value of the U.S.-spec Sprinter is $47,000 in Cargo Van type, ranging as much as $52,610 in Passenger Van type, and it’s a hefty $12,500 improve to any of these for the diesel engine and all-wheel drive. For anybody serious about constructing the overlanding rig of their goals, it’s simply the beginning for the upfit, now with higher footing for the longer term.

Mercedes coated transportation bills and lodging so we might  get our footwear all muddy and presumably study one thing about future Sprinters


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