SPRINTSHIFT vs AUTOMATIC

In the USA the Sprinter is sold with the same 5 speed automatic transmission that they used to put in the E class. In other countries they put in something
called a Sprintshift which has 6 speeds and both automatic and manual modes.
In terms of automatic capabilities are there any significant differences between the two? It would seem to me that 6 speeds would be marginally better than 5.
Why would MB sell a vehicle in the UK with a six speed automatic and in the US with a 5 speed automatic?
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greek_philosophizer wrote:

Plus the UK( and not the US ) get AWD and 4x4 options: http://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/cvvans/van_range/sprinter/main.asp?model=sprinter&body=panel&page=allwheel
Seems to me those would go over well in the US.
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I believe that the new 2005 SLK350 will come with the 6-speed manu-matic (aka Sprintshift) as an option in the USA.
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greek snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (greek_philosophizer) haute in die Tasten:

A sprintshift is a manual gearbox with automated clutch and electric shifting device (simply spoken). I can shift automatically, but it usually is opreated manually. Its benefits are better fuel economy and no performance loss against the usual manual gearbox. These issues are very important in a market, where most van drivers are not used to find an automatic gearbox in a van and where a gallon of fuel costs a fortune.
The drawback of a sprintshift is its lack of smoothness while changing gears. No UK van driver, used to drive a Ford Transit or a LDV Convoy, will notice that.
In the US most vans are equipped with an automatic gearbox and most drivers do not know how to operate a manual box. Besides this fuel is cheap. So an automatic gearbox will meet the customers expectations better.
Frank
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So they can charge Americans more next year for the 6 speed rare euro only option. :-)
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