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Mercedes-Benz upgrades Sprinter ESC

Safer: Mercedes-Benz has fitted a new and improved ESC system to the Sprinter large van range.

Stability control upgrade for Mercedes Sprinter van detects load, improves braking

21 Mar 2012

MERCEDES-BENZ has extended the functionality of its electronic stability control system on Sprinter vans, with examples carrying the upgraded safety aid now filtering into Australian dealerships with no change in price.

Majoring on improved braking performance and adjusting the calibration depending on vehicle load, the new system is claimed to provide an “important contribution to the occupational health and safety of the driver’s work environment”.

The sophisticated new ESC is said to detect the weight and position of the vehicle’s load and its effect on the centre of gravity, enabling it to make more accurate electronic interventions where needed.

For wet-weather driving, the system also periodically applies the brakes just enough to remove surface water from the rotors, meaning greater braking power is more quickly available, for reduced stopping distances compared with wet discs.

In addition, the distance between the brake pads and rotors is automatically reduced if the vehicle detects the driver suddenly releasing the accelerator pedal.

This is said to save “valuable milliseconds” in brake reaction times, with the effect of reducing stopping distances and providing the potential to better avoid – or reduce the severity of – collisions.

For towing, the new ESC system will intervene if it detects a trailer beginning to sway.

Mercedes-Benz Vans general manager Diane Tarr said the company regards a van as a workplace and the ESC upgrade is “further proof that safety is one of the fundamental values of the Mercedes-Benz brand”.

Sprinter sales are up 31.5 per cent in Australia to the end of February this year, with 326 vans and 11 buses sold, following a flatline 2248 vans in 2011 and a 4.5 per cent increase for buses, to 46 units.

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