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Discussion Starter #1
What's your thought on new Sprinter, particularly the FWD version?

First impression is that it's nice looking van, has up to 12,100-pound rating, and comes with 9G-Tronic transmission; first use of a 9-speed in large van according to press release.

Haven't seen detailed specs yet but wonder how they are getting 12,100-pound chassis rating (5.5 tonnes) out of FWD? That particular combination seems to be targeting RV manufacturers.
 

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Front wheel drive is to cut down on weight and has nothing to do with the promaster. As for the trans moving 12,000 lbs if it's built correct it will move it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
But its load floor is 31"?

What this really says is that they recognize PM as a serious contender.
Where did you find 31" load floor? That seems too high for RWD van, and way too high for FWD version which is 80 mm lower.


Agree PM is a serious contender in US and Canada, partly due to lower price which M-B is addressing with gasoline option for North America that will reportedly lower their price by about $3,000, maybe more. May be drop in bucket -- don't know since I've never seriously looked at Sprinters or priced them. For me gasoline fuel is preferable provided it has enough power.

The body still looks the same width on pictures, and if so that's still kind of narrow for van camper. Would like to find specs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Front wheel drive is to cut down on weight and has nothing to do with the promaster. As for the trans moving 12,000 lbs if it's built correct it will move it.

The data says it's a 9G-Tronic 9-speed, which I believe has been for longitudinal engine vehicles (not sure if there is a FWD version). I'm really curious if they are using the same engine and transmission, with added transfer gear box to send power forward to a differential; or if they are using a more traditional transverse engine for FWD.

Since Mercedes is converting to inline sixes, I can see where they may have designed the Sprinter nose to accommodate it in longitudinal layout. The FWD Sprinter could end up similar to old GMC motorhome that used longitudinal engine and transmission (although transmission with those was turned backwards).
 

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Since Mercedes is converting to inline sixes, I can see where they may have designed the Sprinter nose to accommodate it in longitudinal layout. The FWD Sprinter could end up similar to old GMC motorhome that used longitudinal engine and transmission (although transmission with those was turned backwards).
Not sure how this was implemented on the GMC, but if it's anything like it was on my old SAAB 99 I'd be wary. The front motor mount cracked under stress and the whole engine and transmission started pitching up and banging up against the hood. It was pretty dramatic. Luckily I had a parts car I could scavenge for a replacement mount.

The longitudinal engine was mounted "backwards" with the transmission underneath and the clutch was in the front and there was gear arrangement that reversed the driveshaft. The alternator, timing chain and other belt-driven accessories we near the firewall IIRC. Not so bad as the hood hinged at the front so it was "backwards" too. But I don't see that working in a van configuration.
 

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Haven't seen detailed specs yet but wonder how they are getting 12,100-pound chassis rating (5.5 tonnes) out of FWD? That particular combination seems to be targeting RV manufacturers.
Not sure the RV manufacturers would bite as the FWD wheelbase is limited to 154". I also see that they have electric versions planned which is interesting.

Another tidbit I didn't know from the following article:

https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1114123_2019-mercedes-benz-sprinter-revealed


The other big news surrounding the Sprinter is Mercedes’ new Charleston, South Carolina assembly plant. Sprinters sold in the United States will be built at the all-new facility. Currently, due to the chicken tax, Mercedes assembles the Sprinter in Germany, then disassembles them for shipment to the U.S. where they are reassembled.

Should make the Sprinter more cost competitive and might explain a few of the reliability woes of the Sprinter platform in the US ;)
 

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Note to MB:
Please partner with GM for gas versions (LS V8s preferably). Let GM sell and service gas vans. You will clean up in the Lifestyle Van segment you are after.
Let your Sprinter distribution channel handle the traditional diesel cargo van market.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Not sure how this was implemented on the GMC, but if it's anything like it was on my old SAAB 99 I'd be wary. ....cut.....
Classic GMC motorhomes were very different. They basically lifted the FWD Tornado 455 cubic inch V8 and transmission and used it to power front wheels.


Not sure the RV manufacturers would bite as the FWD wheelbase is limited to 154". ...cut....
I've never seen the term "Tractor Head" before, so don't know what makes it different than the chassis cab. I will assume that since it's shown with Class B+ and Class C motorhomes, that it's a "Cutaway" type of chassis. The M-B presentation left me thinking that they would supply the front end so that specialty frame manufacturers like K-O would supply from cab back. These companies supply rear twin axles for Ducato so shouldn't be any different, and would explain 12,100-pound GVWR with FWD. They can make chassis any length at that point.

It's good to know that FWD chassis has that high drivetrain capacity so that it would be able to tow when used on simple cargo vans. By the way, I'd bet the 154-inch wheelbase applies only to standard cargo and window vans, and not cutaways, cab, or whatever Tractor Head represents. Just a guess though.
 

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Is it gas? If not then it doesnt really matter to me. Dont know why people want to buy 120k RV campers and deal with diesel. There hasnt been a benefit to that fuel for a good 10 years and they still push them out.

Far as looks I think its a step back. If im getting a expensive van it would be the Ford Ecoboost Transit. But then id have rear wheel drive which Id never want in any vehicle thats not a high end sports car.
 

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"Tractor head" probably is Mercedes-speak for what FCA calls a cutaway or chassis-cab. Everything that makes the van work is ahead of the B pillar - drivetrain, fuel tank, muffler, chassis electronics, everything. What's in the back is just the brake lines for the dead-beam rear axle, and the taillights. This is the way the Fiat Ducato has always been. It works for motor home body builders because it minimizes the amount of space that they have to allow for any of the mechanical bits - they just have to allow for the dead-beam rear axle and that's it, the wiring and brake lines are flexible and can go anywhere that they fit.

Mercedes is copying Fiat in this particular case.

As for drivetrain orientation - although it could go either way, I'd be quite surprised if the front-drive version did not have a transverse engine. The drivetrain is bolted to a subframe on all modern unibody vehicles. As long as enough space is designed into the vehicle to allow for both layouts, it's no problem to make two different subframes with the drivetrain oriented differently. It's been done before.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
.....cut.....

As for drivetrain orientation - although it could go either way, I'd be quite surprised if the front-drive version did not have a transverse engine. The drivetrain is bolted to a subframe on all modern unibody vehicles. As long as enough space is designed into the vehicle to allow for both layouts, it's no problem to make two different subframes with the drivetrain oriented differently. It's been done before.
Agree on probability of transverse engine layout, in large part because it would save weight and be more fuel efficient. On the other hand, the AWD model already has a subframe and suspension set up to power front wheels, so it wouldn't be too different to replace transfer case and upgrade components, if needed.

I'm still confused by reference to 9G-Tronic transmission which other sources show as a RWD transmission. I can't imagine M-B would use same exact model designation, or that released information was wrong on such an important item (unless I'm reading information wrong).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
P.S. -- You're right Brian in that Ford Transit and VW Crafter both have RWD, AWD, and FWD in same van, except that AWD and FWD are based on transverse engine; whereas Sprinter AWD has been based on longitudinal engine in the past. I would guess M-B would keep Sprinter AWD as at present for added off-road capabilities. If so, that may influence the FWD layout due to manufacturing volume.

M-B also seems committed to 48-Volt mild hybrid electrification which may be easier if all engines and transmissions remain similar. I'm looking forward to more data, although disappointed FWD won't be part of US market.



For what it's worth, I saw one report claiming US gasoline Sprinters will have 4-cylinder engines and 9-speed. If correct that's surprising since I'm not aware of any "petrol" engines larger than they offer in Metris, which would seem too light-duty for much heavier and larger van.
 

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For what it's worth, I saw one report claiming US gasoline Sprinters will have 4-cylinder engines and 9-speed. If correct that's surprising since I'm not aware of any "petrol" engines larger than they offer in Metris, which would seem too light-duty for much heavier and larger van.
In a perfect world they would use the 3.0 V6 they already have in the US in the C class. They have an AMG version of that engine which puts out 362hp and 384 lb-ft pf torque! Realistically if they are going with 4 cylinder gas engine for the US market in a rear wheel drive configuration it would probably be the 2.0 Litre inine 4 turbo with the 9G transmission. In the C class that engine puts out 241hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. I would expect them to detune for more midrange for the Sprinter market, probably less hp but a little more torque lower in the rpm range.

I'll be curious to see if they are able to drop the price at all when they start making them in the US. The current method of assembling in Germany and splitting the body and subframe into two separate containers, shipping them to the US, and reassembling them has got to costing a couple of grand per vehicle.
 

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I suspect the article's reference to the 9G-Tronic transmission pertained to the longitudinal rear-drive layout (which is all that we'll see on this side of the pond). It's guesswork at this point what they'll use in the front-drive version. M-B's only current front-drive vehicle platform is that of the A-class (which we see as the CLA sedan and GLA utility, and which is also redesigned for 2019). There are some AMG variations with high-powered engines, so that transmission ought to be able to handle the torque. All A-class engines are 4-cylinder, gas or diesel. The automatic transmission is of the dual-clutch type, and they call it 7G-DCT.

They could, of course, do something completely off-the-wall, such as using the longitudinal transmission normally used for all-wheel-drive but with the rear-drive components removed ... Other manufacturers have done this ...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I went back to source (Mercedes press releases) and found this statement which clearly states which transmission we will get in US with gasoline engine:



"Front-wheel drive is designed specifically for the needs of the European camper van market and expands the product range of rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. In the USA, rear-wheel drive remains the predominant concept. With no 3.5-tonne limitation, powerful petrol engines are part of the requirements specification. A powerful petrol engine in conjunction with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission provides the best prerequisites for this – not least thanks to the gross vehicle weight rating of up to five*tonnes."



So it will be the 7G and not the 9G according to press release. And it reads as there will only be one gasoline engine, although it doesn't state if it will be available with all van sizes.
 
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