Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: The benchmark base vehicle for camper vans in the premium category

Aug 28, 2015
  • Crosswind Assist: unique assistance system for camper vans
  • One for all in the luxury camper van class
  • Individual suspension configuration and perfect ergonomics
  • The drive system to suit the purpose: four or six cylinders, Euro 5b+ and Euro 6
  • Sprinter 4x4 with all-wheel drive ex factory
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the measure of all things as a platform for camper vans in the premium category. Already the leader in the top-class luxury motor caravan sector, this popular van is now also expanding its presence in the semi and fully integrated camper van segment.
Crosswind Assist: unique assistance system for camper vans
Mercedes-Benz is the world's first manufacturer also to offer its Crosswind Assist for camper vans based on the Sprinter. Camper vans have benefited from this unique, standard safety feature since the introduction of the new Sprinter. Hymer is now offering its semi-integrated Hymer ML-T camper van and the new, fully integrated Hymer ML-I camper van with this unrivalled safety feature. Meanwhile la strada has also equipped its semi-integrated camper vans in the la strada Nova series with Crosswind Assist as standard. Crosswind Assist has been standard in the panel van models of the la strada Regent series since the introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in September 2013.
Crosswind Assist is of particular importance for camper vans. This is because they inherently respond to cross-winds more sensitively than passenger cars, as the side wall presents a larger area to the wind. Crosswind Assist is automatically activated from a speed of 80 km/h, and uses the sensors of the standard Electronic Stability Program ESP®. The system detects the forces acting on the vehicle owing to sudden gusts or crosswinds, and applies specific brake pressure to individual wheels on the windward side. This braking torque creates a yawing motion which counters the effect of the crosswind. The track offset is thus significantly reduced. The required countersteering effort is greatly reduced, considerably easing the driver's workload.
Crosswind Assist is installed as standard in most variants of the current Sprinter generation. Alongside Lane-Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, it is one of five innovative assistance systems with which the Sprinter sets new standards for safety technology in the van segment.
The full range of assistance systems is available for motor homes, which are based on the original body of the Sprinter. In the case of camper vans with a dedicated vehicle body – e.g. alcove designs, semi and fully integrated camper vans – availability depends on the type of body. Developers at Mercedes-Benz Vans are working on ways to transfer the sensors and camera technology of the Sprinter to these different bodies.
The Sprinter is also equipped with ADAPTIVE ESP® as standard. This dynamic control system now includes numerous sub-functions – from the anti-lock braking system ABS, the hydraulic braking assistance system BAS PRO and Roll Over Mitigation plus Roll Movement Intervention ROM/RMI to predictive brake priming in critical driving situations (ELECTRONIC Brake Prefill).
One for all in the luxury camper van class
Mercedes-Benz offers a large number of Sprinter variants as base vehicles for camper vans. As a panel van in four length variants, the Sprinter is ideally suited for camper vans in the luxury class. Chassis for camper van bodies are available in three wheelbases, and also a chassis with cowl. The latter is a version without a cab, for integrated camper vans with a purpose-built body and cockpit.
At three to five tonnes, the range of permissible gross vehicle weights is closely graduated to cover a wide variety of needs. Specifically for the camper van market, Mercedes-Benz also offers the 3.5 t Sprinter in uprated versions with permissible gross vehicle weights of 3.88 and 4.05 t. These models meet the requirements of customers who are not restricted to a Class B driving licence limited to 3.5 t, or who want a camper van with superior quality fittings and high payload reserves. Individual operating approvals for further weight variants can also be obtained after technical examination. Owners also appreciate the high towing capacity of the Sprinter as an advantage of rear-wheel drive. Depending on the version it is permitted to tow trailers weighing up to 3.5 t. This is enough to tow boats, horseboxes, a classic car or motorcycles.
Individual suspension configuration and perfect ergonomics
In addition, Mercedes-Benz offers the Sprinter in numerous suspension configurations ex factory, preconfigured for a wide variety of applications. The various springs, shock absorbers and stabilisers are adapted for specific bodies and conversions to ensure safe and comfortable vehicle handling. The Sprinter is also optionally available with an air-sprung rear axle. This air suspension not only makes for particular comfort, but also ensures optimum roadholding even with an increased payload.
Comfort and safety are also assured by the cockpit of the Sprinter, with its typical Mercedes-Benz attributes. These include the clearly laid-out controls and the good visibility to the rear, thanks to large exterior mirrors plus additional wide-angle mirrors depending on the model. The comfortable handling characteristics and low noise level of the Sprinter make for relaxed journeys. The exemplary handling, even of the long-wheelbase versions, as well as the high traction provided by rear-wheel drive, also make day-to-day use easier: the turning circle is small, and Acceleration Skid Control (ASR) as standard included in ESP® allows good progress even on difficult surfaces.
The drive system to suit the purpose: four or six cylinders, Euro 5b+ and Euro 6
The power units of the Sprinter are just as tailor-made for the purpose as the chassis variants. The efficient diesel engines with four or six cylinders are most commonly used for camper vans. The compact four-cylinder diesel engine with a displacement of 2.15 l is available in three output categories from 70 kW (95 hp) through 95 kW (129 hp) to 120 kW (163 hp). It combines high torque with excellent economy and low weight. The V6 turbodiesel with a displacement of three litres and an output of 140 kW (190 hp) is the ideal choice for camper van customers with the highest expectations in terms of effortless power delivery and refinement. The maximum torque of 440 Nm is already available at low engine speeds, and over a wide rpm band. As the first van in its class, Mercedes-Benz also offers the Sprinter with SCR engine technology complying with the coming Euro 6 emission standard for all output variants as an alternative to the standard emissions level Euro 5b+. The V6 Sprinter already features this as standard.
Power is transferred by the ECO Gear six-speed manual transmission specially developed for Mercedes-Benz vans with a handy, space-saving joystick-type shift lever in the centre console. Alternatively the Sprinter is available with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic torque converter transmission and ECO start stop function. This combines maximum travelling and operating comfort with exemplary efficiency. Power is transferred to the rear axle of the Sprinter – a precondition for high traction even under unfavourable conditions such as wet grassy areas on a camp site, or when camping in winter.
Sprinter 4x4 with all-wheel drive ex factory
The Sprinter is optionally available with all-wheel drive ex factory, which is easily switched on at the touch of a button. It is configured to work together with the Electronic Stability Program ESP® included as standard. The 4x4 and the safety systems therefore complement each other perfectly. The power is transmitted variably; all the components of the standard-fit ADAPTIVE ESP® remain operational even when all-wheel drive is selected. When all-wheel drive is engaged, the drive power of the Sprinter 4x4 is split 35:65 between the front and rear axles.
As a further option, Mercedes-Benz can equip the Sprinter 4x4 with Hill-Start Assist and off-road tyres with an extremely deep tread. When equipped with the optional reduction gear, the Sprinter becomes a highly capable off-roader which is also suitable as an expedition vehicle in very rough conditions.
The Sprinter-based Hymer ML-T is equipped with Crosswind Assist as standard, Exterior
The Sprinter-based Hymer ML-T is equipped with Crosswind Assist as standard, Exterior
The Sprinter-based Hymer ML-T is equipped with Crosswind Assist as standard - Dashboard display: a Crosswind Assist intervention.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2013, Panel van, exterior