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Pioneer in the passage of time: The history of the Sprinter.

Three Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are parking in front of a modern building

Since its market launch, it has been regarded as a pioneer in the van segment. 2018 marks the start of the third generation of the Sprinter. Time to look back on the creation of the van icon.

1995 to 2006: The first generation of the Sprinter.

Production of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter starts in Düsseldorf in 1995. The van is an innovation not only because of its vehicle class. For the first time, a Mercedes-Benz does not require a numerical designation. The name Sprinter now stands for an entire genre – the van. With its initial motorization, the Sprinter achieved an output of 90 kW (122 PS) with a load capacity of 810 kilograms. A 4×4 version of the van is available for the first time in 1996.

First adjustments after the turn of the millennium.

In the year 2000, the Sprinter benefited from an increase in performance and more emphasis was placed on aerodynamics in the design. The last modification of the first generation lays the foundation for the safety of the van: In 2002, the Electronic Stability Program ESP became a general standard.

A white Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The first Sprinter rolls off the production line in Düsseldorf in 1995.

2006 to 2018: The second generation Sprinter.

The second generation Sprinter enters the European market in 2006. The van is now available with three different wheelbases, varying lengths and a much more powerful drive. Customers can choose between numerous basic configurations. From two to five tons everything is possible. In 2012, the Sprinter is fitted with a new automatic transmission. At the same time, ESP becomes even more effective.

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New assistance systems for more safety.

One year later the Sprinter gets a feature update. The range of assistance systems is further expanded with the Crosswind Assist and Collision Prevention Assist. The all-wheel drive, downhill speed regulation and special off-road tires provide flexibility, driving pleasure and safety off the beaten track.

The vanlife movement – the beginning of a new era.

With the emergence of the vanlife trend, more and more people are being inspired to convert their Sprinters independently. Fitted kitchens, foldout dining tables and comfortable beds turn numerous vans into a home on four wheels.

A silver-grey Mercedes-Benz Sprinter from the side

The 2009 Sprinter belongs to the second generation.

A white van from the side

The all-wheel drive provides driving pleasure and safety also off the beaten track.

A camp site with two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the woods

The vanlife trend has become a global phenomenon.

2018: The third generation Sprinter.

New safety systems, a modern design and more than 1,700 different versions pave the way for the third Sprinter generation in 2018. Among the most important innovations are innovative connectivity solutions. The services of Mercedes PRO connect and MBUX enable intelligent networking and digital control options. This allows orders to be controlled online and vehicle information such as location, fuel supply or maintenance intervals to be accessed almost in real time. In the new Sprinter, the proven rear and all-wheel drives are supplemented by a front-wheel drive. Also new is the optional nine-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

A black van, at full speed, from the front diagonal

The third Sprinter generation is a pioneer in networking.

Looking to the future: The eSprinter.

Whether for passenger transport, as a food truck, refrigerated vehicle, delivery van or flatbed – over time the Sprinter has explored a wide range of applications. In 2019, it will continue to explore new areas: As the eSprinter, the van with the star will be available with an electric drive for the first time. Users can choose between two drive options. The four battery modules of the eSprinter give a total range of 150 kilometers with a capacity of 55 kWh. The maximum payload is 900 kilograms. The saving of the fourth battery module achieves a range of 115 kilometers at 41 kWh. This allows the maximum payload to be increased by around 140 kilograms to approximately 1,040 kilograms. The eSprinter is part of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ strategy to electrify its commercial van fleet.

The side profile of the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

The eSprinter is part of Mercedes-Benz Vans' strategy to electrify its commercial van fleet.

A turquoise flatbed on a construction site

The first Sprinter generation was also used intensively as a flatbed.

Two men are loading newspaper in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Then, as now, Mercedes-Benz vans were reliable commercial vehicles.

Photos: Daimler; Go-VanSacha Roy


Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
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