Story: COLIN DAWSON
Lightning-fast, barely perceptible gearshifts are promised by Mercedes for its new seven-speed auto-box equipped Sprinter 7G-Tronic model. The new 7G-Tronic transmission is now available as an option in the Sprinter range in all world markets.
The seven-speed automatic transmission, developed from the Mercedes passenger car gearbox, has been adapted to fulfil the specific requirements of a van. The gearbox is equipped with a fully electronic control system.
Engine output is transferred via a torque converter with an integrated lock-up clutch. The slip of the torque converter is thus minimised, improving performance. Depending on the engine speed and engine load, the slip-controlled lock-up clutch is engaged in all gears, as a result changing gears is easy and occurs almost without delay. Fuel consumption is also reduced.
The new transmission has a wide spread between the lowest and the highest gears combined with closely spaced ratios. In practice, the Sprinter’s extra-low first-gear ratio ensures that it can pull away dynamically and should be advantageous for steep hill starts, especially when laden.
At high speeds, the van is said to be economic, produce low emissions and run quietly with a low engine speed. According to Mercedes, there is a gear for every driving situation and the shifts in engine speed between the different ratios are small.
At a speed of about 30mph in sixth gear, the Sprinter is turning over at around 1,200rpm. At higher speeds, it travels along at extremely moderate engine revs, around 2,100rpm at about 60mph in the case of the Sprinter 316 CDI. This lowers fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions, as well as interior and exterior noise.
The driver can change gear manually if required by pushing the selector lever to the left or right, restricting or extending the shift range, useful, for example, for engine breaking. Thanks to the closely spaced ratios, longer rear axle ratios can be used without forfeiting performance. This further reduces fuel consumption.
The low fuel consumption in conjunction with the BlueEFFICIENCY package, gives the combined consumption of less than 36.5mpg for Sprinters with a permissible gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes and a four-cylinder diesel engine.
The automatic gear transmission 7G-Tronic is available to business van users on Sprinters with closed bodies, rear-wheel drive and diesel engines as well as for all permissible gross vehicle weights. Towing capacities up to 3.5 tonnes and gross combination weight rating up to 7.0 tonnes are also possible. UK prices should be available soon.
Keep up to date with developments in our Business Van News section.