New minibus generation: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Transfer – big little bus
May 24, 2006
  • Sprinter Transfer: harbinger of a new minibus generation
  • Numerous variants, four lengths, 12 to 22 seats for passengers
  • Newly designed passenger compartment matched to exterior styling
  • New passenger seat generation, variable seat configuration
  • Safe, comfort-affording chassis
  • Adaptive ESP and Euro 4 diesel engines with particulate filter as standard
Five basic variants in four lengths and with 12 to 22 passenger seats, extremely attractive looks, a fully redesigned passenger compartment, comprehensive safety technology, further enhanced comfort, new passenger seats – the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Transfer minibus opens up a new chapter in the story of the minibuses with the Mercedes star. This new „little” model is big when it comes to inter-urban and shuttle service or day excursions. It comes from the product range of Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EvoBus GmbH, which handles the European bus and coach business of the DaimlerChrysler Group.
Numerous variants and from 12 to 22 passenger seats
Four different overall lengths (5910 mm, 6945 mm, 7345 mm and 7665 mm) and three weight variants (3.5 t, 3.88 t and 5.0 t perm. GVW) for the new Sprinter Transfer add up to a wide range of five basic models covering virtually all the re-quirements which a compact, manoeuvrable minibus has to meet today. The five, in four length categories, are the Sprinter Transfer 23, the shortest, with seats for 12 passengers, the Sprinter Transfer 34, the Sprinter Transfer 35 and the Sprinter Transfer 45, and finally the Sprinter Transfer 55, the longest, seating between 19 and 22 passengers. The basis of each is the entirely new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and crewbus series just launched at the start of this year. The members of this series set new standards in engineering and good looks. A joystick gearshift, a car-like steering wheel position, additional stowage facilities plus cen-tral locking with radio remote control are just some of the features.
The new minibus Sprinter Transfer has been ideally fitted out: large, flush, parallelogram-shaped side windows and a striking and stylish ridge down the side emphasise dynamism while wide side rub strips express the practical aspect of the new Sprinter minibus. The distinctive, chiselled front end, a brand hallmark, with a large three-pointed star on the radiator, brings out a self-assurance and elegance which is further enhanced by the rear end with the large windows and the brand symbol placed dead centre. The largest model of the new series, the Sprinter Transfer 55, additionally features, as standard, a specially designed bus-type rear end with an integral luggage compartment flap in place of the double doors used in the other models.
New passenger compartment design perfectly matched to the exterior styling
Passengers enter the passenger compartment through a wide sliding door. Standard equipment includes an electrically extending step. The interior styling of the Sprinter Transfer harmoniously matches the exterior. Ceiling, interior panelling and trim, stowage facilities and seats complement each other to create an airy passenger compartment that gives an impression of great spaciousness. High-grade materials, their touch and feel further improved, reflect the high quality of the Sprinter Transfer.
Attractive looks combine with functionality: compared with the predecessors, the ceiling is 5 cm higher, affording 1.90 m of headroom, and the noise and heat insulation are further improved. The two light strips integrated in the ceiling are appealingly designed and feature a night light function.
New passenger seats permit variable seating configuration
The passengers in a Sprinter Transfer occupy newly designed seats which have been given the name „Inter-Star Sprinter”. The 420 mm wide cushions feature pronounced contouring and afford both high seating comfort and outstanding lateral support. Adjustable backrest angle, aisle-side folding armrests, luggage nets on the seat backs, and folding tables with cup holders heighten the cruising comfort of the new Sprinter minibuses still more, and if desired the vehicles can be fitted with the „Travel-Star Sprinter” coach seats, likewise an all-new equipment feature. Many different upholstery patterns from the Mercedes-Benz bus and coach collection are available for both seat types. As standard, all seats are fitted with two-point seatbelts, but also can be equipped with three-point belts. An innovative rail-type anchoring system makes it possible to vary the seat configu-ration.
As options, an integral air duct with outlets for ventilation, powerful roof-top air conditioners, reading lamps and service call buttons will enhance the comfort aboard the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Transfer minibus. The standard equipment includes a hot-water auxiliary heater with an output of 10 kW. As an extra a convector heater is available.
Euro 4 engines for high economy and good environmental protection
The standard equipment also includes powerful yet economical OM 646 DE 22 LA four-cylinder diesel engines with outputs ranging from 65 kW (88 hp) and 80 kW (109 hp) to 110 kW (150 hp). All engines are low-pollutant in compliance with the Euro 4 emissions standard and feature a diesel particulate filter as standard. A six-speed manual transmission transfers power to the road wheels, or buyers can choose an optional five-speed automatic transmission. Also, for vehicles with a manual transmission, start-off assist is available; it makes hill starts even safer and more comfortable.
Typical of the high economy of the power plants is not only the low fuel consumption but also, for example, the long oil change intervals. As an absolute novelty in this class, the new Sprinter minibus boasts as standard a service computer which permits flexible oil change intervals of at least 40,000 km depending on the type of operation. Likewise conducive to low operating costs are the extension of the first maintenance service to 80,000 km, the longer change intervals for air filters, oil filters, transmission oils and coolant along with the good accessibility of the maintenance points. The first check of the standard-fit diesel particulate filter is due only after 160,000 km of service because the constant regeneration processes in the exhaust system effectively put a stop to filter clogging. The smooth, speedy supply of replacement parts at home and abroad through the Omniplus service network also helps to keep downtime short and cut lifecycle costs, which are low as it is.
Not only safe but comfortable as well
The Sprinter Transfer is one of the safest minibuses in its class. The most important standard safety feature is the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) featuring load and centre of gravity detection („Adaptive ESP”). An anti-lock braking system (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR), electronic brake force distribution and Brake Assist (BAS) also are integral items of the standard equipment of all new Sprinter minibus models. The 16-inch-diameter wheels offer enough space to fit large, durable brake discs on all wheels. Bi-xenon headlamps with integral active light function and cornering light function are available as an optional extra. Moreover, all occupants benefit from improved crash behaviour and from the optimised airbag system.
The handling dynamics and ride comfort are distinctly more car-like. The Sprinter Transfer suspension is designed for safety and comfort. The basic construction, featuring cross-leaf springs at the front and parabolic springs at the rear, is identical with that of the predecessor, but the springs have in fact been fully redesigned. The front cross-leaf spring, for instance, is now made of a glass-fibre-reinforced composite. Air suspension is an optional extra on the minibus models Sprinter Transfer 35, 45 and 55. New features of the suspension include, apart from the modified spring and damper configuration on the rear axle, altered axle kinematics.
Driver’s area comprehensively equipped
The driver’s area also benefits from the model change. The seat position is very similar to a car’s, and both the comfort driver’s seat (standard), adjustable by as much as 26 cm in 13 steps, and the available freedom of movement establish a new benchmark in this vehicle class. This also applies to the well-thought-out system of stowage facilities, the cockpit ergonomics, and the improved, clear view afforded by large new exterior mirrors with an adjustable wide-angle lens, which provide an added safety margin mainly for reversing. Last but not least, the Sprinter impresses with accurate handling (thanks to precision steering) and conveniences like power windows and a programmable remote control for the central locking system.
First of a new minibus generation
It’s no secret: the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Transfer is not a solitary product but the harbinger of an entirely new, wide-ranging model generation from Mercedes-Benz Minibus GmbH, which will include a low-floor variant and a touring coach variant as well as one specially equipped to carry disabled persons (Sprinter City, Sprinter Travel and Sprinter Mobility). The new Sprinter minibuses will be successively introduced to almost all European markets in the course of 2006.
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