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Car and Driver: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Extreme Concept: Gettin’ Tipsy

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European-style vans like the Ford Transit and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are practical and efficient, but it’s hard to think of them as really cool. Mercedes appears out to change that with the Sprinter Extreme, which turns its workingman’s van into a he-man’s dump truck.

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Unveiled at the Chicago auto show, the Sprinter Extreme was constructed with the help of none other than Renntech, the venerable tuning company founded by Hartmut Feyhl of 1980s AMG fame.

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If you expect a burly V-8 under this Sprinter’s stubby nose, you may be disappointed. The Extreme concept keeps the van’s turbocharged four-cylinder diesel, mated to a seven-speed automatic. Its 6400-pound payload capacity is symbolized by the rock boulders put into the ScattoMaax tipper bed. In addition to that, this Sprinter can tow up to 7500 pounds, as can the production model on which it is based.

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Renntech has done an impressive job amping up the Sprinter’s modest appearance. The front end features more lights than a 1980s Aston Martin Lagonda, while a brush guard and a winch encourage the driver to take this truck off the road and into the wilderness. This Sprinter rolls on beadlock wheels that Daimler calls “G-class-inspired,” presumably because they are fitted to the not-for-the-U.S. G500 4×4 squared.

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The Sprinter Extreme concept is an impressive exercise. It proves that you can have a lot of fun even with an utterly practical and efficient device like the Sprinter.

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2016 Chicago Auto Show Full Coverage

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