25 Years of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and still thriving

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter does its best keeping up with the market and technology

25 Jahre Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: der Champion seiner Klasse25 years of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: The champion of its class
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Dubai, UAE, February 2020: The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter made its debut 25 years ago. To mark its premiere at the beginning of 1995, the brand sent 500 units of the completely newly constructed van from the Düsseldorf factory on a rally to the sales offices.

A Historic Moment

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter pre-empted a revolutionary transformation of digitization in the mid-1990s. At a time when hardly anyone could imagine the future dimensions of package logistics resulting from the boom in online trade, the Stuttgart brand introduced a completely newly developed, state-of-the-art van. With disc brakes on the front and rear wheels, ABS anti-lock braking system including ABD automatic brake differential, streamlined body, low consumption, and many other properties, the Sprinter set standards in terms of safety, efficiency and comfort – qualities associated with successive Sprinter generations.

The Sprinter was able to position itself as truly multitalented, with a variety of drivetrain and body styles. Powered by a range of diesel engines, as well as a four-cylinder petrol engine. The design variants included the chassis, the platform truck or tipper, each with a crew cab or single cab, the cargo van as well as the estate with five seats or nine seats, each with a flat or high roof. Wheelbases of 3,000, 3,350 and 4,025 millimeters were available. The permissible gross weights were initially 2,590, 2,800 or 3,500 kilograms.

The Sprinter not only proved its abilities in logistics but also in many other areas of application. These included use on building sites and in trade, in municipal services and in passenger transportation, as well as for fire and emergency services. This van also cut a good figure as a camper van and as the basis for countless special structures.

A Progressive Timeline

25 Jahre Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: der Champion seiner Klasse25 years of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: The champion of its class

Thanks to continuous facelifts and updates, the first generation of the Sprinter remained up to date from 1995 until the end of production in Düsseldorf in 2006. The first facelift took place in 2000. On the exterior, it is recognized by the Mercedes star towering on the bonnet. In the interior, the van received a new instrument cluster and a gear lever integrated with the dashboard. Furthermore, the new diesel engines with common rail direct injection were used. The successor model made its debut in a revised variation in September 2002, equipped with an ESP® Electronic Stability Program, and in November 2003 the one-millionth Sprinter rolled off the production line in Düsseldorf.

Mercedes-Benz produced the first Sprinter generation not only in Düsseldorf but also in Buenos Aires. Furthermore, completely knocked down vehicles were produced out of parts kits in Ho Chi Minh City. MCV (Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles), a company originating from a Mercedes-Benz general distributor in Cairo, also built it for several years. And from 2013, the Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ produced around 25,000 vehicles for the Russian market. The facelifted Sprinter also showed itself to be a global citizen in North America from 2001: there it was offered as the Freightliner Sprinter and Dodge Sprinter.

2019 / The new Sprinter 4x4 / Image / Summer

The second generation of Sprinter premiered in Stuttgart at the start of 2006.  The chassis and platform truck versions of the Sprinter were built in Ludwigsfelde. The Sprinter with all-wheel drive was introduced at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover in September 2006.

Sprinter Generations

The third generation of Sprinter celebrated its debut in 2018. The vehicle was the first model series to embody the adVANce philosophy, introduced by Mercedes-Benz Vans in 2016, as a provider of holistic mobility solutions. The highlights of the new Sprinter include the option of comprehensive digital networking, the ergonomically optimized cab, and countless safety innovations. The design follows the Mercedes-Benz design strategy, established in the passenger vehicle area.

In December 2019, Mercedes-Benz presented the eSprinter with the battery-electric drive. The highly flexible vehicle concept is the brand’s next milestone on the way to the electrification of commercially used Mercedes-Benz vans. As Mercedes-Benz Vans expands its eDrive@VANs strategy, the eSprinter will be offered in selected overseas markets with an 85 kW (116 hp) output to the front-wheel drive and 47 kWh or 35 kWh utilizable battery capacity. Depending on the configuration there are different payloads, ranges, and top speeds.

25 Jahre Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: der Champion seiner Klasse25 years of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: The champion of its class

The latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter elevates the benchmark for the large van segment, offering an innovative and diverse range of product features that serve specific market needs more effectively than ever before. Modern safety and assistance systems are available, as well as an advanced air conditioning system ideal for the MENA region. When the going gets tough, the Sprinter gets going – the Sprinter 4×4 is available for the first time in the region, providing extra traction that is crucial under demanding conditions. More than 1700 different versions can be put together. This maximized modularity defines the core of the new Sprinter concept, reflecting both sector-specific requirements and different customer segments.

Karan Bhatia
the authorKaran Bhatia
Automotive Enthusiast! Saving the world one car review at a time.