After years of development and testing, Mercedes-Benz is ready to reveal the next-generation minibuses. The German automaker has designed four model series with a total of 20 different models, all based on the recent generation Sprinter bus.
The minibuses range remains unchanged and features four model lines - Sprinter City, Sprinter Transfer, Sprinter Mobility, and Sprinter Travel. Their names, as Mercedes explains, stand for operations in regular service, as a versatile shuttle bus, for transport of passengers with limited mobility, and for tourist transport.
The manufacturer highlights the importance of the Sprinter City 75, which should become the most popular of all new minibuses. It's a regular-service bus with seats for 38 passengers, which uses a heavy-duty rear axle and a unique chassis design that allows for a spacious low-floor platform between the two axles. A shorter, City 45, version will also be available for smaller populated places.
On board the minibus is Mercedes' latest MBUX infotainment system, which is already available for the new Sprinter and comes with a touchscreen replacing the older rotary knobs/touchpads. It provides an easy access to infotainment functions, as well as a parking camera and a full 360-degree view system. The driver's area and passenger compartment are provided with separate air conditioning.
The Sprinter Transfer will be sold in four lengths, varying from 232 inches (5.9 meters) to 303 inches (7.7 meters). The Sprinter Mobility is designed especially for people with restricted mobility, and the range-topper in this lineup, the Sprinter Mobility 45, features a new raised floor that allows two wheelchairs to stand alongside each other at the level of the rear axle.
Mercedes will launch the new minibus series step by step and the first to arrive on the market before the year's end will be the Sprinter Transfer 23 and 35, the Sprinter Mobility 23, and the Sprinter City 75. Next year, they will be joined by all versions of the Sprinter Travel and, by the end of 2019, more than 20 left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive models will be available.