Pretoria - Mercedes-Benz has beefed up its Sprinter range with a new model that's rated for a gross vehicle weight of 5.5 tons - almost half a ton more than the previous 'top gun' Sprinter.
The new model closes the gap between Mercedes' van fleet and its truck range, since it can carry the payload of a light truck, but with the city-friendly door height, seating position and driving dynamics of a van.
What Mercedes has done is to beef up the axles: the maximum permissible front axle load on the reinforced Sprinter has been increased from 1950kg to 2100kg, while the allowable maximum load on the rear axle has been boosted by 100kg to 3600kg, to give some reserve capacity, even if the van is unevenly loaded.
The bottom line is that payload goes up by about 400kg in each body configuration - the lighter the body the more payload, as long as the total stays under 5.5 tons.
The basic chassis-cab unit weighs just over two tons, so it can be loaded with your choice of body and cargo, totalling anything up to 3400kg.
The classic standard-wheelbase Sprinter with high roof, on the other hand, weighs in at 2600kg, so you can happily load it with 2900kg of whatever you need to move, without stressing the chassis.
The 5.5 ton Sprinter comes with a 140kW turbodiesel, driving the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox; a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus auto transmission is an option.
Also standard are host of new drivers aids, among them an adaptive electronic stability program, trailer stability assist, collision prevention assist and adaptive brake assist - and from April 2017 blind spot assist, lane keeping assist, automatic headlight dipping and crosswind will also be included in the package.
Mercedes-Benz also includes a five-year or 105 000km CharterWay integrated service plan, which is structured to ensure that your 5.5 ton Sprinter is back on the road and earning its keep when they said it would be, without you having to wait for parts or cough up for extras.
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