Sprinter Van Engine Options

The standard engine for Sprinter vans is the 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gas engine. Along with that, there are two different diesel engine options: the 4-cylinder and the 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engines. 


A Quick Overview 

Engine Type Power Torque Displacement Induction System Transmission 
4-cylinder turbocharge gas 188 hp @ 5000 rpm 258 lb-ft 1991 cc Bosch direct injection 9-speed automatic 
4-cylinder turbocharge diesel 161 hp @ 3800 rpm 266 lb-ft 2143 cc CDI 7-speed automatic 
6-cylinder turbocharge diesel 188 hp @ 3800 rpm 325 lb-ft 2987 cc CDI 7-speed automatic 

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a full-size van, boasting impressive powertrains and several configurations to suit any business need. You may settle your heart on one despite the exclusive pricing that suits the brand’s pedigree, but they are commonly purchased because they are built so well.  

Whether you’re looking at the Sprinter crew van, passenger, or cargo van, they all come with three engine choices. The standard option is the 188-horsepower turbocharged gas engine with 9-speed automatic transmission. 

While that’s not so much power for a full-size van, I’d like to think it’s suitable for lighter-duty work. The Merc Sprinter also features two turbo-diesel engine options, the first of which is a 2-liter four-pot. 

The top-spec engine class for the Sprinter van is the 3-liter V6 turbodiesel which delivers 188 horsepower at 3800 RPM, with a rated torque of 325 pound-feet between 1400 and 2400 RPM. For both diesel variants, drivers enjoy seven-speed automatic transmission.  

In terms of the drivetrain, you can either go with the RWD or the AWD options. However, only the V6 features an AWD option.  

Its towing capacity is also remarkable, and the 7500 lbs maximum rating only falls shy of some of its rivals, like the Nissan NV, which exceeds it by about 1900 pounds. 

Here’s a detailed analysis of the Sprinter van engine options: 


a) 4-Cylinder Turbocharged Gas Engine 

The 2.0L four-cylinder gas engine follows a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) configuration, which experts rate highly in terms of better fuel efficiency and power.  

At the core of the induction system is a 200-bar Bosch injection fuel pump. The bore is 83 mm, and the stroke is 92 mm. 

Interestingly, this gas engine can deliver 188 horsepower at 5000 RPM. Pair that with 258 pound-feet of torque between 2500 to 3500 RPM, and you have a work vehicle that can handle most light duties. 

Usually, the maximum torque kicks in just above idle, and Git gives efficient starts from a standing stop. 

Finally, this engine pairs with a 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic transmission for optimal performance. 


Advantages of a Gas-Powered Sprinter 

A gas-powered Sprinter has numerous benefits.  Notably, a gas engine has high speed and fast acceleration capabilities due to its outstanding performance in terms of horsepower. 

And when it hits the road in the city, there’s no hassle because it runs efficiently in stop-and-go traffic, something you can only ever dream of with some diesel engines. 

Sprinter vans with gas engines are good choices for reasonable ownership costs and getting value for money.  

According to Vincentric, the TCO (total cost of operation) based on the gas-powered 2021 Sprinter 1500 (144” wheelbase) is approximately $0.64 per mile. The company also estimates that the Sprinter 1500 has the best fuel economy compared to other vans in its class. 

Note, however, that the TCO per mile is an estimated value and may not be fixed depending on a van model, road, location, and weather conditions. For example, the above figure accounts for 25,000 miles over three years of usage in the city of Georgia. 

Despite all the glitz and doll-ups that anyone might want to attribute to a Sprinter van, you can’t run away from the fact that there’ll be wear and tear.  

But here’s the perk: replacements are affordable, fast, and you can find them easily (of course, this’ a household name much like the Transit.. 

In my experience, the Sprinter’s need for engine oil, coolant, spark plugs, and other parts are not bad, so you won’t be making frequent visits to the mechanic. 

Trim levels of the Sprinter with a 4-cylinder gas engine include the 1500 and 2500, for both the cargo and passenger vans.  

It’s also available for standard and high roof configurations, and the various wheelbase options. For the crew van, it’s only available in the 2500 trim. 


b) 4-Cylinder Turbocharged Diesel Diesel Engine 

At the core of the powertrain of the latest V4 Sprinters is a 2-liter turbocharged diesel engine that can deliver 161 hp at 3800 RPM.  

The induction system employs common rail direct injection (CDI), and the engine has a displacement of 2143 cc.  

You also get 266 pound-feet of torque at 1400 to 3800 RPM. Pair that with Merc’s 7G-Tronic Plus 7-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, and you have an efficient full-size van that’s hard to beat. 

The powertrain of the V4 diesel engine earns select Sprinter vans the crown of a monster hauler, with a rated payload capacity of up to 5761 pounds and a maximum towing capacity of 7500 pounds. 

The crew van with the V4 diesel engine option include the 2500,3500,3500XD, and 4500. It’s also available in the Passenger 2500 Sprinters and 2500, 3500, and 3500XD cargo trims. 


c) 6-Cylinder Turbocharged Diesel Engine 

The V6 turbocharged diesel engine is a reliable option if you’re looking to enjoy the exclusive AWD capability it offers for tough road conditions. Still, an RWD option is available with trim levels like the 3500XD. 

Overall, the 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine is available in the 2500, 3500, 3500XD, and 4500. It’s also coupled with a 7-speed automatic transmission like the V4. 

This engine delivers 188 hp at 3800 RPM with a torque of 325 pound-feet at 1400 to 2400 RPM. 

However, that falls shy of what other competitors like Ram (280 hp) and Ford Transit (275 hp) can offer. 

Still, I’d like to think a V6 Sprinter is reliable, durable, and will meet your cargo-hauling and towing needs in a breeze. That’s why it gives a maximum payload capacity of 6823 pounds and a towing capacity of 7500 pounds. 


Pros and Cons of a Diesel Engine 

Generally, a diesel engine is more durable and powerful, meaning it can easily out-tow a gasoline variant whenever you hit the gas. Additionally, you may not have to pull up at the gas station often. 

On the flip side, a diesel engine is on the upper price spectrum.  

You can easily get your head around that if you compare the MSRP ($39,600) of a V4 gas-powered Sprinter 2500 cargo van with that of a diesel-powered one of the same trim ($40,735). 

Additionally, diesel engines are more advanced, meaning you can easily rack up higher service costs if you’re not careful with proper maintenance. 


4-Cylinder vs 6-Cylinder: The Better Option 

Whether you’ve settled your heart on a gas or diesel engine, the Sprinter offers incredible power, performance, and efficiency to propel a business forward. 

A V4 gas engine has all to offer when it comes to matching strength with speed, city efficiency, easy maintenance, and low ownership costs. 

The 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine uses direct injection (CDI) and dual-stage turbocharging to optimize power output from less fuel. If you compare it to the V6, you’ll save a considerable amount in fuel costs: that’s a no-brainer. 

The optional 3.0L turbodiesel V6 engine also uses CDI technology and is equipped with a turbocharger intercooler. Not only does it offer a more robust punch of power, but it also delivers an incredible 325 pound-feet of torque. 

Remember, a commercial van with high torque can produce greater power at low speeds, which lengthens a van’s service life and beefs up its fuel economy a little. 

In my opinion, it can also double as a regular commute van as well as a sturdy work vehicle.  

And when it’s time to wind down, you can easily tow a boat with it to wherever your aquatic adventures lead you. While it’s possible to upfit any of the Sprinters into a camper or rack it up for your mobile business, the 4✕4 V6 offers greater offroad capabilities. 


Sprinter Van Warranty & Maintenance Coverage 

Mercedes-Benz’s limited warranty cover applies, but the powertrain cover is typically longer than other reputable brands have to offer. 

Notably, the limited warranty cover goes for 36 months and 36,000 miles. The additional powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles. However, there’s no complimentary scheduled maintenance. 


Safety & Driver-assist Technology 

The Mercedes-Benz driver convenience package is close to something you’d find in modern SUVs. They include the following: 

  • 360° camera 
  • Active lane keep assist 
  • Adaptive cruise control 
  • Automatic emergency braking 
  • Automatic high beams 
  • Blindspot assist mirrors 
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Traffic sign recognition 


Pricing & The Sprinter Van to Buy 

To be blunt, the Sprinter van has so many configurations and price points, meaning you should choose the van that fits your budget and is appropriate for your personal or business needs. 

Regardless, I highly recommend you save some extra bucks for optional but useful packages, including driver-assist tech and advanced safety features.