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Auto blogMon, 29 Apr 2013 11:00:00 EST
By the end of this year, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter will be the second-oldest nameplate in its segment here in the States, but with hot new competition waiting in the wings, Mercedes-Benz is giving its hauler a freshened look and more equipment to stave off rivals. The Sprinter was a pioneer in bringing Euro-style delivery vans to North America, and it's inspired others to transplant their Continental offerings, with the all-new Ford Transit and Ram Promaster models launching shortly. It will also continue to do battle with lower-cost traditional competitors like the Chevrolet Express and Ford E-Series.
The big Sprinter will thus get a new look to go with more safety features and available technology. While the information released here technically covers the Euro-spec 2013 Sprinter (which goes on sale in September), the US market is expected to get the new Sprinter for the 2014 model year with many of the same features. Some of this new technology includes a Crosswind Assist feature as standard equipment and the availability of Collision Prevention Assist and Blind Spot Assist as optional safety measures - Mercedes-Benz says that all three are firsts for any van in the world. Also added to the updated Sprinter is a new 1.8-liter supercharged gasoline (or CNG) engine producing 156 horsepower, which will complement the line of diesel engines that carry over and help make the Sprinter the first cargo van to meet the upcoming Euro VI emissions standards. Additionally, a lower ride height is said to improve fuel economy and should improve handling while aiding ingress and egress for both people and cargo.
In terms of styling, the Sprinter's new face also looks more like the current line of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. This includes a more upright grille along with changes to the hood, headlights and bumper that lend it a closer kinship to models like the CLS-Class and the updated E-Class. The Sprinter will offer both halogen and HID headlights, while the latter will get LED running lamps and offer Highbeam Assist. The images shown here only reveal the exterior from front angles, but it looks like few, if any, changes have been made to the rear of the van. Interior upgrades include a thicker steering wheel, a new shift lever and the latest in audio, navigation and entertainment systems. Scroll down for the official press release for the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
Mercedes-Benz Titan. Mercedes-Benz Frontier. Mercedes-Benz pickup truck. None of these things roll off the tongue particularly well. We'd like to think that's the reason Daimler opted to kill the idea of rebadged Titan and Frontier pickups from corporate ally Nissan. In reality, the execution before the Frankfurt Motor Show was due to more complicated issues.
Yes, Mercedes, byword for German luxury, style and quality, would have slapped a three-pointed star on a pair of Japanese pickup trucks that have failed to resonate with consumers in the world's largest truck market. That slapping of badges isn't much of an exaggeration, at least on the outside. According to the report from Road & Track, the truck's front clip would have been tweaked, but beyond that, the sheetmetal would have been unchanged. The interior would have received a more thorough going-over by the team at Mercedes, while the suspension and noise, vibration and harshness tuning would have also received significant attention.
The trucks would have ended up being sold through the light-commercial branch of Mercedes-Benz - the same folks that will happily sell you a Sprinter van - had the deal gone through. Issues arose, though, first with the engines. Mercedes wanted a wider range of powertrains to allow it to tune models for specific markets, while Nissan said it couldn't engineer the wide variety of engines that MB wanted to drop under the hood. For the smaller truck, meanwhile, MB was interested in a hybrid or plug-in variant, according to R&T, although this was also shot down by Nissan.
The word "Maybach" has joined the long list of synonyms for the word "kaput." Mercedes-Benz released the price list for the 2013 models of its super-luxury sedans, with the price column simply stating "Discontinued" for each one of them.
The 2012 models, should there be any left for 11th-hour buyers, maintain the increased MSRPs that Daimler slapped on them late last year after it was known the brand would be terminated next year. But you might still be able to wrangle that $100,000 rebate if you ask nicely, or in Russian, or have Rick Ross ask for you.
It shouldn't be too long before we see the ultimate version of the next generation S-Class, the S600 Pullman, that will replace Maybach. Intriguingly, it's said the Pullman will be offered with every S-Class engine, even the four-cylinder diesel.