While more traditional Mercedes-Benz vehicles such as the S-class and the SL-class may be what first come to mind when one thinks of Mercedes, the not so glamorous Sprinter has become a key member of the brand in its own right. The current-generation van, however, is nearly a decade old, which means it’s time for Mercedes to give a fresh face to its commercial lineup. Set to make its debut at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show, the new Sprinter peeked from behind the curtain, showing plenty of DNA from last year’s Vision Van concept.
The new Sprinter will be at the forefront of the company’s adVANce initiative, a push that shifts away from focusing on vehicles as transportation devices to thinking of them as tools that can connect and assist with the movement of cargo. Nearly a year ago, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision Van concept, a futuristic look at mobility and logistics solutions for commercial customers. It was all electric and featured both roof-mounted delivery drones and a lock-and-load cargo system that allowed for simple sliding units to move from warehouse to van and back again. This new Sprinter looks extremely similar to the concept but with production-style functionality and form.
While the headlights are carried over almost exactly as they’re seen on the Vision Van, the light-up nose is replaced by a functional grille with traditional air intakes. The concept’s blacked-out A-pillars that created a motorcycle-helmet look have been replaced by body-color pillars, and hood vents have been added. The production Sprinter is much less fanciful, without the ambient lighting and ultra-smooth bodywork, but the overall streamlined look remains.
Mercedes-Benz has not yet released any technical information, but Daimler has indicated it will eventually offer an all-electric powertrain on the Sprinter that will be built at the Düsseldorf plant, while the company prepares the South Carolina plant for future Sprinter production. The new van also will feature new driver-assistance technologies and many of Mercedes-Benz’s upcoming mobility solutions for fleet management, modular delivery, and telematics.
The North American Commercial Vehicle Show takes place in Atlanta this week, so we’ll have more details soon. Expect the new Sprinter to launch in Europe in the first half of 2018 and in the United States not long after.
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