The model year 2015 Sprinter 4x4 goes on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of calendar year 2015. Both 144-inch and 170-inch wheelbases will be available in both low and high roof configurations, and available body styles for the U.S. will include the Passenger Van, Crew Van (mixed 2-row passenger and cargo application), and Cargo Van (both 8,550 and 11,030 GVWRs).
The exclusive powertrain for the 4x4 option will be the most powerful of the two BlueTEC clean diesel powertrains available in the U.S. Sprinter, which is the 3-liter V6 BlueTEC with 188 horsepower and 325 pounds-feet of torque.
While the Sprinter 4x4 is not officially considered an off-roader, the all-wheel drive system can be activated at the push of a button. Torque is then distributed at a ratio of 35:65 between the front and rear axle. At this point, the Electronic Traction System takes over, and the tech takes care of the rest for the driver in various conditions. The standard load-adaptive ESP that is unique to the Sprinter is always active when all-wheel drive is engaged. This combination of all-wheel drive technology and active safety is only available in the Sprinter in this segment.
The Sprinter 4x4 can also be equipped with an optional low range gear that makes it even more sure-footed in difficult terrain. When the driver pushes the low-range button, the gearing is shortened by 42%. Tractive power increases accordingly.
Lifted body, low added weight
The Sprinter 4x4 may not be an off-roader, but its body was lifted by 4.3 inches (110 mm) at the front and 3.1 inches (80 mm) in the rear. The slope climbing ability is up to 20% higher than in the Sprinter with conventional drive. Depending on the body style, the all-wheel drive system of the Sprinter 4x4 merely adds about 265 pounds (120 kg) in weight, which means only a minimal effect on payload. Thus far, previous versions of the Sprinter 4x4 have been sold in markets such as Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Austria, and France.