Sprinter awd van likely in U.S. by 2015

All-wheel drive: On the way
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HOCHGURGL, Austria -- Mercedes-Benz is likely to launch an all-wheel-drive version of its Sprinter van in the United States, a spokesman said at a press event here.

The vehicle, which would be sold by both the Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner brands, will arrive by 2015 at the latest.

The all-wheel-drive Sprinter sold in Europe has a push-button awd system with a fixed torque distribution of 35 percent up front and 65 percent in the rear. An electronic antilock braking system called 4ETS replaces mechanically locked differentials, and there is a downhill speed control system.

For extreme off-road use, a low-range transfer case is optional.

The European all-wheel-drive Sprinter is offered with a 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel and a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel. The V-6 likely would be the only engine offered in the United States.

You can reach Jens Meiners at jmeiners@crain.com.

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