Volker Morningweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, presents the new M-B-badged Sprinter.
Mercedes-Benz executives picked Düsseldorf, Germany, the source of the Sprinter van, to present their extensively revised 2014 model for North America. It gets fresh styling, a new diesel and automatic transmission, and more accident-avoidance features.
The new full-size Sprinter van will come with a 2.1-liter 4-cylinder Clean Diesel engine rated at 161 horsepower and 265 pound-feet, with a 7-speed autotransmission as standard, according to Volker Morningweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
The current 3-liter V-6 diesel, which makes 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet, will be an option. Sprinter will also have more fuel-efficient axles and accessories.
The 2014 Sprinter includes four safety assistance systems that Morningweg said are new in the van segment. These are Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.
A new look includes a more upright radiator grille with three perforated louvers swept back from top to bottom to increase air flow. M-B and Freightliner get slightly different designs. Styling language is consistent with new vans and trucks from Mercedes-Benz, including Actros, Antos, Arocs, Atego and Citan, all introduced in the last 18 months.
Mercedes and Freightliner Sprinters each get different grille designs.
Three truck models – cargo, crew and cab-chassis – and two passenger versions will be available. The updated 2014 Sprinter will be sold in the U.S. by 219 M-B and Freightliner dealers beginning this fall.
Sprinter originated the tall European-style van with its fuel-efficient diesel powertrain in North America in 2001, Morningweg noted. It has seen steady gains in popularity, with 20,929 sold in the U.S. in 2012, and 3,010 more sold in Canada.
Sales this year are up by 11.7% in the U.S. and 20.8% in Canada. The Sprinter will have new competition in ’14 with new Euro-style full-size vans from Ford and Chrysler’s Ram brand.
Press reporters will drive the new Sprinters on Wednesday in the Düsseldorf area, and this reporter will file a report following that.