Adaptive ESP on Sprinter tests well .....

( Adaptive ESP on Sprinter tests well ..... but what about beach driving? )
http://www.whatvan.co.uk/newvans_s.asp?id=4795
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - July 2006

Launched earlier this year to a global audience at the British Commercial Vehicle Show, Mercedes-Benz's redesigned Sprinter is now available in the UK; and the accent is on driver safety.
Still rear-wheel drive, all Sprinters come complete with a new-generation Electronic Stability Programme known as Adaptive ESP sourced from component giant Bosch.
Electronic Stability Programme
The aim of ESP is to make sure your van doesn't roll over if you have to swerve sharply on a slippery road. In Adaptive guise it takes into account the weight of whatever you happen to be carrying, where it's positioned, its height and what all that's doing to the vehicle's centre of gravity.
As a result it's just as effective no matter whether you've got a 1,000kg load equally distributed all around the cargo area or a tall item weighing 300kg plonked squarely above the back axle.
So does it work? Too right it does - in fact it's amazingly effective, as a visit to the Prodrive test track just outside Kenilworth in Warwickshire soon proved.
Slaloming a Sprinter between cones at the sort of speeds that would probably put a standard van without ESP on its roof revealed no difference in behaviour no matter what the size or weight of the cargo was. The ESP cut in at the right time, every time; and we emerged from the exercise unscathed.
ABS, Acceleration Skid Control, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist are all integrated into the ESP system.
Skid Control
Having driven Sprinter round and round one of the wettest and slipperiest skid pans we've ever encountered, then got it to pull away on a stretch of sopping wet cobblestones without the wheels spinning, we can testify that the Acceleration Skid Control system works; and works well.
The brakes are effective too - new Sprinter's all-round disc brakes are larger than the ones fitted to its predecessor - with ABS and all the other features helping us to pull up quickly while remaining in control on a surface awash with water.
Start-off Assistant
Those aren't the only safety goodies on offer on Sprinter. For an extra 100 you can specify a useful gizmo called Start-off Assist - usually referred to as Hill Hold - if the vehicle you've ordered has got a manual gearbox. Designed to make it much easier to move away on steep hills, it maintains the brake pressure for up to two seconds after the pedal has been released to stop you rolling backwards.
It's useful on Sprinter, but pretty much essential on Vito - Sprinter's baby brother - given that the latter has a foot-operated parking brake.
Re-engineered and restyled both internally and externally at a cost of 1.25bn, the latest Sprinter comes with a redesigned version of the 2.1-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel used in the previous model.
It's up for grabs at 88 bhp, 109 bhp, 129 bhp or 150 bhp, and the two beefiest variants come with two-stage turbocharging. It's the first time such a system has been fitted to a light commercial.
Two-stage Turbos
Two turbochargers of different sizes are positioned one behind the other. At low engine speeds only the smaller and faster reacting of the two is in action while its stablemate idles.
At medium engine speeds both cut in, with the big one providing initial, and the small one, final, compression. At high speeds only the big turbocharger is working. Its smaller companion is bypassed.
It's a set-up that leads to especially rapid response when the driver floors the loud pedal at low engine speeds.
3-litre V6
The most powerful Sprinter comes with a mighty 184 bhp 3.0-litre V6 common rail diesel. Top power kicks in at 3,800rpm, while maximum torque of 295 lb/ft makes its presence very much felt right the way across a 1,600rpm-to-2,500rpm plateau.
Features include an aluminium crankcase, a balancer shaft and two overhead camshafts per cylinder bank. The V6 is due to appear in the UK later this year.
Three-litre or 2.1-litre, all the engines comply with the new Euro 4 exhaust emission regulations and are equipped with particulate traps.
A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard on all Sprinters. The alternative - at extra cost - is a fully automatic five-speed 'box borrowed from the passenger car range. The Sprintshift automated manual gearbox offered as an option in the old model has been unceremoniously dumped.
Wheelbase Trio
New Sprinter is in production with three different wheelbases - 3,250mm, 3,665mm, and 4,325mm - and the van is being offered with four different overall lengths ranging from 5,243mm to 7,343mm. Van buyers are also faced with a choice of three different overall heights, including the all-new Super-High roof with an internal load height of 2,140mm.
The net result is that load area capacity now extends from 7.0m3 to an echoing 17.0m3. The most the previous model could muster was 13.4m3.
As many as 14 load tie-down rings are fitted to van versions, and they all come with a timber cover for the cargo bed plus a steel bulkhead.
It all adds up to a choice of around 1,000 basic derivatives if you add in chassis cabs, chassis double cabs - with four doors as standard and lap-and-diagonal belts on all seats - and Traveliner minibuses. It's worth noting that, like its predecessor, new Sprinter can be ordered from the factory as a refrigerated van - chilled and fully frozen versions are available - and as a dropside pick-up.
Weight Watch
Gross weights now extend from 3.0 tonne to 5.0 tonne in a line-up that also includes 3.5-, 3.88-, and 4.6-tonners. All Sprinters ride on 16ins wheels and the 4.6-tonner can be ordered with single rear wheels rather than twins; another first.
Wearing what are sometimes referred to as 'super single' 285/65 R16C tyres, single wheels take up less room than twins so there is less wheel box intrusion. They don't weigh as much and offer lower rolling resistance. That should mean reduced diesel consumption.
Sticking with weight saving for a moment, Sprinter has been fitted with front transverse leaf springs made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic. They're a lot lighter than the more usual steel springs. New parabolic springs have been deployed at the back.
Many Sprinter models now have front axles with a higher load capacity than those found on the old model. Ratings range from 1,650kg to 2,000kg.
Cab Storage
Sprinter salesmen are unlikely to hear too many complaints about a lack of in-cab storage space. There are big bins in each of the front doors with mouldings that will hold large drink bottles or flasks, a whole host of compartments in the dashboard - including accommodation for A4 documents - and overhead shelves for both the driver and passengers.
You can create a desk that can be used to complete paperwork by pulling down part of the backrest of the three-man cab's centre seat. It includes a pen holder plus a pair of cup holders. Underneath the dual passenger seat you'll find a storage area.
Electric windows, an electronic ignition key linked to an electric steering lock, remote central locking - all the doors lock automatically anyway once you reach 9mph - a radio/CD player, a driver's airbag and two in-cab power points all come as standard.
Space Aplenty
Sprinter is better able to accommodate drivers of different sizes than ever before. While the driver doesn't necessarily get a height and tilt adjustable steering wheel - that's an option - what he does enjoy is a seat with infinitely variable height alteration, more headroom and increased longitudinal adjustment.
The cab door apertures are 120mm higher but the maximum opening angle of the doors themselves has been reduced from 73 to 64. That makes the handles easier to reach from the seats when the doors are wide open and lessens the risk of the doors bashing a wall or another vehicle and suffering damage.
Multifunctional
Go for the multifunction steering wheel and you're rewarded with the HighLine instrument cluster too. It allows you to access all sorts of onboard information simply by pressing the buttons on the left of the wheel. The ones to the right adjust the radio's volume and can additionally be used to operate a mobile phone.
Wide-angle exterior mirrors come as standard and their casings fashionably incorporate indicator repeater lights. Fortunately the entire mirror unit only costs 51 plus VAT and labour to replace if it gets broken, and individual parts can be changed separately.
Gizmo City
If you really want to impress other van owners, then go for an electrically powered sliding side door. Push a button and it opens or closes in no more than five seconds, says Mercedes, claiming it as a first on a van.
If that's not enough to make your rivals jealous, then specify it with another first; Keyless Entry and Slide.
Designed to help users who regularly have to juggle with parcels and may not have a free hand, it opens the door as soon as the driver comes within 5m of the vehicle. Depending on which direction he's approaching from it may unlock his cab door instead.
When he walks away the sliding door shuts, or the cab door locks, once he's moved outside a 1m or thereabouts radius. It can also be set up to operate a sliding door in the bulkhead.
If you think all that's a bit over the top, then you can simply ask for an electric closing aid. It pulls the door the last part of the way into the shut position without the need to slam it; something to be avoided when you're making early morning deliveries.
Sprinter van can also be ordered with a package called Parktronic. It makes wriggling into tight parking spaces considerably easier by scanning the areas behind and ahead of the vehicle. With a range of 180cm at the back and 100cm at the front it operates at speeds of up to around 11mph.
Audible and visual warnings are provided as you edge dangerously close to an obstacle, with displays for the area behind your vehicle built into the rear view mirrors.
Bi-xenon headlights represent yet another handy option and a light commercial first. Thanks to their Add-Light system they illuminate bends more effectively at night than standard headlamps.
Spend a bit extra and you can have a rain/light sensor too. As well as continuously altering the speed of the wipers depending on how wet the screen is, it switches the headlights on and off according to how dark it is.
All Sprinter tyres - apart from those mounted in-board in a twin-wheel set-up - can be fitted with a pressure monitoring system. Readings are displayed on the dashboard.
Diesel Saver
An option we'd certainly recommend given the extortionate price of diesel in this country thanks to ludicrously high tax levels is Motor Start Stop (MSS). First seen on the outgoing model, it can cut fuel bills by up to 30 per cent says Mercedes.
When his vehicle is stationary in traffic the driver simply engages neutral, releases the clutch and the engine automatically stops after three seconds of idling. To restart the engine and move away all the driver has to do is dip the clutch pedal and engage gear again.
As well as reducing fuel costs and engine wear MSS cuts air pollution too. It costs 195, but it's only available on Sprinters with manual transmission.
Servicing
So far as servicing is concerned the engines are capable of clocking up 24,000 miles before their oil needs changing. You may find you can increase intervals even longer courtesy of the onboard Assyst maintenance computer.
It keeps an eye on the condition of the lubricant and lets you know when it needs swapping. That could be every 30,000 miles if you work in a clean environment. Sprinter's mechanical warranty is three years, and there's no mileage limit.
As for insurance groups, some versions of the new model are down to group 8 compared with an average of group 14 for its predecessor, says Mercedes.
Despite all the investment, newly appointed UK van sales and marketing director, Steve Bridge, does not expect a big rise in Sprinter sales.
"In 2005 we sold 16,001. We'll do a bit less this year and we expect to do around 16,000 in 2007," he says. "We reckon the market will decline slightly next year, however, so our market share will increase."
Dealers will be doing all they can to promote sales of Vito and Sprinter, he says, and a growing number of those sales will be made from showrooms.
"There are 54 throughout the network at present and we should have over 100 by the end of next year," he says. "We need to increase sales to the self-employed and small businesses, and the presence of a showroom lets them know exactly where they can buy a van from us."
Production constraints shouldn't hamper sales of the German-built Sprinter as the newcomer - unlike the outgoing model - is being assembled at the Ludwigsfelde plant near Berlin as well as in Dusseldorf. Volkswagen's Crafter will absorb some of this extra production capacity, however, as it's being built alongside Sprinter by the Three Pointed Star on VW's behalf.
On the Road
We took a long-wheelbase 109 bhp 311CDI van out for a spin in the Warwickshire countryside and we were impressed.
It rides and handles well, there's plenty of performance on tap - although admittedly we were unladen - and there's precious little engine or wind noise. For your money you get plenty of feedback from the steering, a precise gearchange and the standard of fit and finish in the cab - not to mention the quality of the plastic used - is well up to Mercedes-Benz's usual standard.
The 88 bhp 309CDI medium-wheelbase van we also sampled was almost as impressive, but engine noise was a little intrusive and at times it found it difficult to cope with uneven road surfaces.
The star of the show, however, was undoubtedly the 184 bhp 318CDI. It left just about everything else on the road standing and did so with the absolute minimum of fuss. Gearchanges were seamless thanks to the five-speed auto box it was married to in our test van.
.
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After reading the specifications and features, I can understand why you are drooling over the new Sprinter. I am feeling the same even though it's a 'light commerical vehicle' rather than a S600. I think I ought knock up my friend into ordering one for his window-washing company. I'm sure he'll have spectacular time demonstrating all of the features to his clients!
greek_philosophizer wrote:

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wow, that must really be a good friend.
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"Knock up" has other meanings besides the one peculiar to the US!
So stop thinking bad thoughts!
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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Why are people in this forum, enthusiasts of Mercedes passenger cars, so fascinated by the Sprinter? It's just a commercial truck, fercrissakes. What's the big deal? Personally, I can't think of any class of vehicle that's less interesting.
Geoff
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evidence that people who are as dumb as a bowl of mice can make a
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Ford Focus.
It has a three pointed star so it's interesting to some.
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No, it's greek_philosophizer is "so fascinated by the Sprinter".
But he is getting more of us enthused...
If I did more of my travelling close to home I would consider a van office facilities. What better a van than a turbo-charged Sprinter with all mod cons? Imagine winning the traffic-lights Grand Prix in an anonymous white van...!
DAS
For direct contact replace nospam with schmetterling
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Yes, it is all my fault.
I take full responsibility.
I even demand full responsibility!
But the point is worthy of examination as well.
Why would a vehicle that , once you discount all the neat technological devices, is merely just a large box, be considered worthy of being a desired vehicle.
1) Its big! You can carry lots of things all the time that you may or may not need at any particlular point in time.
2) Its big! You can carry lots of things on various trips, including camping gear, sleeping gear, partying gear, sound gear and small recreational vehicles.
3) Its fun! Big vehicles are fun to drive - unless you live or park in a congested area.
4) It has lots of clearance so it can be driven places the average car cannot.
5) It has far more utility than a Sport-Utility.
6) If you find yourself in circumstances where you are in a condition that you should not drive - not that that ever happens - you can just pass out on the large comfy mattress and wake up relaxed and refreshed. You can also do the same thing if you are on a long trip and you get sleepy.
6) If you find yourself in circumstances where you are in a condition that you should not drive - not that that ever happens - and you happen to be with a friendly attractive significant other person then you can still end up relaxed , refreshed and sober in a few hours without bothering to sleep.
7) Its big! There is something reallay nice about genuinely roomy vehicles.
Also they come in lots of colours so you can avoid boring white.
I could probably think of more reasons if I wanted to.
.
Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

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