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Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
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First Drive: The new 2024 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is everything an electric van should be without the fanfare

Many companies, from established automakers to fresh upstarts, view the quandary of last-mile transportation as a business opportunity best solved by electric vehicles. And now, the big dog of van life has jumped into the fight: Mercedes-Benz with an electrified version of the popular Sprinter vans.

The obvious advantages of stop-start efficiency, low-speed torque, and compact drivetrain packaging make vans something of a perfect use case for electric utility. And not just to help Jeff Bezos earn another penny or two on every Amazon Prime one-day delivery, since mobile detailers, handymen, contractors running a handful of local projects, and even private buyers might view this new electric van as a solid solution. To show off the eSprinter’s capabilities and range, Mercedes-Benz recently invited select media out for a test drive around Southern California.

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Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Price & specs

Base price:$71,886 (standard output)
As-tested price:$75,316 (high output)
Motor/battery choices:Single permanent magnet synchronous motor w/ 113 kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery pack
Transmission choices:single-speed
Drivetrain choices:rear-wheel drive
Power:134 horsepower (standard), 201 horsepower (high output)
Torque:295 pound-feet (for up to 30 seconds)
Weight:6,746 lbs
Top speed:75 mph
10-80% fast charge time:42 mins (at 115kW)
Range:approx. 273 miles

eSprinter exterior design

Other than branding on early vehicles that Mercedes-Benz brought to Newport Beach for media testing, the eSprinter flies under the radar next to ICE vans. And that’s kind of the point: avoiding any of the frill or futuristic styling that more consumer-focused EVs might prioritize to woo any early adopters unless that’s your jam like the Koreans would like to hope.

The big Benz logo on the front hides a charge port, so the eSprinter lacks a fuel filler door. But even the open grille allows airflow to support an impressive cooling management system that combines the drivetrain and climate control circuits to best maximize range and battery life cycles. Otherwise, the sliding side door, double rear doors, and high roof all create a familiar profile.

What’s hot?– Electric drivetrain is perfect for urban delivery or work vans
– Mercedes’ expertise and engineering at work
– Peppy and quick below about 50 mph
– Planted handling helps make this big van eminently easy to drive
– Just enough range for some freeway cruising

eSprinter pricing breakdown

A base eSprinter starts at $71,886 with a 113-kWh battery, a 170-inch wheelbase, and a 100-kW electric motor powering the rear wheels. The battery pack and exterior dimensions remain the same across the lineup, though an optional high-output 150-kilowatt motor bumps that sticker up to $75,316.

The rest of Benz’s planned options pricing remains something of a mystery. On other vehicles, the MBUX infotainment system typically runs between $1-2,000, but keep in mind the eSprinter’s version will include specific navigation software that takes into account traffic and charging stops, even elevation topography to better estimate potential range remaining. Other eSprinter options will include the choice of dual bucket seating layouts or different access configurations for the rear cargo area.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Mercedes will build the eSprinter at a plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, which may make government incentives and rebates possible for buyers in the right income bracket.

Pricing and destination, however, totals $2,295—not an insignificant number, and likely attributable to the eSprinter’s serious size.

eSprinter interior and tech

In something of a surprise, but one that also makes sense, the eSprinter’s interior can best be described as Spartan. Maybe the Benz logo suggests another rung up the luxury ladder versus Ford’s E-Transit, the eSprinter’s main competitor at this point, but the design hews more closely to the utilitarian ethos. Severely upright seats that require a choice between legroom or seat recline especially prove the point—for drivers jumping in and out constantly rather than taking long road trips, presumably, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

The steering wheel will look familiar to anyone who owns a Benz, but for construction workers or delivery drivers, getting used to haptic buttons will require an adjustment period. Whether the buttons can sense finger movement through work gloves also remains a mystery. Plenty of cupholders and room for central storage, at the very least, round out the compact front cabin.

In terms of tech, the optional MBUX gets those aforementioned EV-specific helpers, displaying range remaining, navigation, and drive modes in addition to the standard media screens. A perfectly serviceable, happily basic gauge cluster also provides a minimum and maximum range estimate, as well as displays for power output and regen, plus battery state of charge and speed. Using paddles on the steering wheel shifts between five different regen modes, from “D-” for the closest to one-pedal driving all the way to “D++” to allow for full coasting.

A variety of configurations for the front seats include dual buckets, a driver’s bucket, and a single passenger jumpseat with a narrow door to the rear cargo area in between, or a driver’s bucket with a double bench for two passengers—the latter requiring a solid wall blocking access to the cargo area.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

In the back, the eSprinter’s large canopy and compact electric drivetrain packaging allow for a 79.1-inch standing height at the center of the 173.6-inch-long bed. A variety of tie-downs and shelf mounting points dot the floor and walls, respectively. But in another surprise, the rear does not include any power outlets for powering tools or accessories. Benz reps on site in Newport suggested that upgrade will almost certainly arrive for later model years.

SUV: Sport Utility Van? Not quite…

For drivers accustomed to either gasoline or diesel-powered Sprinter vans, the eSprinter’s 201 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque might sound a bit underwhelming (and that’s the high output motor’s rating). But first things first, rest assured that the little e-motor does just fine. Low-end torque means that pulling off the line at a stoplight or stop sign requires just a bit of light toe into the go pedal (can’t call it “throttle” here). Though power dies off a bit from there, once wound up, the eSprinter accelerates most happily from about 30 to 50 miles an hour.

Note that Benz mounted a 440-pound box in the cargo area to allow journalists to mimic tools or packages for delivery. Meanwhile, the modular low-slung skateboard chassis (which all Benz vans will share starting in 2026) helps to prevent body roll and top lean much better than on ICE Sprinters. But that composure comes at a cost, mainly felt when harsh reverberations jolt up into the van while rolling over pitted road surfaces or speed bumps.

Still, the eSprinter is surprisingly easy to just get in and drive. At 92.3 inches wide without mirrors, the tall sidewalls squeeze through traffic without much concern for the overall 280-inch length, and the rear tires even track closely to the fronts thanks to a 170-inch wheelbase. Visibility sometimes presents a challenge, though large rearview mirrors and blind-spot monitoring help a ton.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Playing around with electric drive modes

Once accustomed to the sheer size and speed of the eSprinter, fiddling with the three drive modes came next. Starting in “Comfort” allows full access to every last horsepower and pound-foot of torque, but dropping into “Eco” or “Maximum Range” cuts max output to 100 and 80 kilowatts, respectively. The difference is immediately noticeable, especially at low speeds in Maximum Range mode where full “throttle” all day becomes necessary. In reality, does that then save range versus driving as economically as possible? Sounds like a game that employers can play with employees.

In each drive mode, the “+” and “-” paddles on the steering wheel can then toggle between five regen settings. With “D++” selected, the eSprinter coasts almost more smoothly than an ICE car, with zero engine braking. Three steps down to “D-” and the van almost approaches one-pedal driving, but not quite. 

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

For those eagle-eyed readers keeping track of their abacuses, D- to D++ only adds up to four regen settings—correct, because holding the + paddle also activates “D-Auto,” which allows the eSprinter to adjust regen based on the scenario to maximize range. The concept sounds good, taking the onus away from flawed or distracted humans, but in execution, D-Auto requires serious attention while used in traffic because the rate of regen changes from moment to moment.

The lack of one-pedal driving, meanwhile, makes a lot more sense within the context of last-mile deliveries. After all, if a driver in one-pedal mode comes to a stop without touching the brake, they might then forget to put the eSprinter in Park before hopping out and dropping off a package. Not ideal, from both logic and liability standpoints.

In Comfort mode with full power available, the eSprinter can get up to highway speeds just as fast as average traffic. The top speed of 75 miles per hour means employees don’t have to risk incurring their employer’s wrath after getting a speeding ticket, though reaching that pace creates a fair amount of wind noise within such an upright vehicle.

On other electric Benzes, reducing NVH clearly took far more of a priority during the development process. Not so for the eSprinter and that Spartan ethos. Even the leather seats seem fairly firm—though, in another surprise, also very well bolstered for a confirmed non-sports car. Maybe with all the climbing in and out, the seats will break in more, though the walled-off cargo area means that taller drivers definitely face a tough choice between knee room and back comfort.

Real-world range performance

Range performance clearly took a higher level of priority than M-B’s more standard silent and sumptuous interiors. And the eSprinter absolutely delivered over the course of 100-plus miles in traffic and on the highway around Newport, despite confirmed journalistic drag racing.

Part of the impressive range performance for such a large, aerodynamically inefficient van comes down to effectively managing the battery and inverter temps, so a nifty setup that combines the routing for coolant used in climate control and drivetrain components probably plays a big part in maintaining accurate range estimates.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

Mercedes-Benz’s research indicates that the average delivery van travels much less than 100 miles per load anyway, so the eSprinter’s claimed ability to drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a single charge should do the trick just fine. But a few shortcomings do arrive due to the electric drivetrain, as well. Mostly a significantly reduced payload compared to ICE Sprinters, officially rated at 2,624 pounds or less than half of a gas or diesel van. The lower number stems from the batteries making up more of the official Gross Vehicular Weight Rating, though if the batteries actually weigh 1,007 pounds as Benz claims, the math doesn’t quite add up.

A few other practical questions arose in Newport, too, in addition to the payload and whether haptic steering wheel buttons can sense work gloves. No, Benz currently has no plans to build an all-wheel-drive dual-motor eSprinter. Outlets in the rear will almost certainly arrive later, as will a fully open cockpit and cargo layout with no wall divider behind the seats. 

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

And most importantly for a company running eSprinters as delivery vans: charge times. Benz claims the eSprinter can manage a 10-80% charge in 42 minutes, which falls in line with the large battery pack. The lithium-iron phosphate battery itself also uses zero cobalt or nickel to help reduce the environmental impact of mining rare-earth minerals.

And yet, the eSprinter maxes out at only 115-kW charge speeds, so the best fast charging stations will need to throttle back. That’s a bummer because two drivers working together can probably pack in another load of boxes and reach the max payload faster than the van can top up on electrons. Presumably, the guesstimated drive routes under 100 miles for each delivery run fit into this equation, as well.

What’s not?– Not particularly comfortable seats
– Needs 120-volt outlet(s) capacity in the cargo area
– No all-wheel-drive version in the works
– No wide open layout so far

Built to satisfy very specific use cases

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter
Image credit: Michael Van Runkle

In many ways, the eSprinter seems catered to very precise use cases rather than satisfying the full gamut of the van market, from utilitarian delivery spec to uber-expensive overlander platform. But the electric drivetrain kind of cancels out camping or overlanding as a market segment, anyway. 

Without a doubt, the few production-line vans in Newport showed all the quality expected from Mercedes-Benz, and pricing seems just about right for the commercial buyer. More refinement, increased range, and more configurations will almost certainly arrive in years to come. But for now, Benz clearly waited this long to make their first step into the electric van game a strong one.

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These are the best deals to grab from the F1 store in their huge winter sale

With pre-season testing still in Sakhir a month away, now is an excellent time to stock up on gear for the new year. The official F1 Store is having a massive winter sale to make room for new merch and styles. There are over 500 items to grab with discounts of as much as 70% off. We pulled a few of our faves that would make an excellent fit for your 2024 F1 Sunday outfit. And don’t worry. Yes, everything is officially licensed.

1) Scuderia Ferrari Race MT7 Track Jacket

Image credit: F1 Store

A few things Ferrari does well is make merch people want. This jacket is sleek and chic, you’re sure to stand out in the classic red hue. Save 48% on this, and cross your fingers for a Charles podium. Lord Perceval hasn’t had a win since the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix, but this jacket could be a good luck charm.

2) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 2022 Team Baseball Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

A classic black baseball hat never goes out of style, and neither does Sir Lewis Hamilton. It’s just $17 and will see you through the 2024 season, and possibly podiums for both George and Lewis. This cap is easily adjustable and made from 100% recycled polyester, so it’s breathable even in the hottest of climates.

3) Oracle Red Bull Racing 2023 New Era Beanie

Image credit: F1 Store

Winter just decided to start with lots of snow in many parts of the world, so it’s a good idea to cover your noggin. Red Bull is a winner, and so is this adorable $21 beanie. It’s a polyblend (so easy to clean) and designed by New Era.

4) McLaren USA Crew Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

The papaya is strong with this sweatshirt. I like the vintage college vibe of this one, and I also like that this has crossover appeal. Wear it for F1, Formula E, and IndyCar races. It’s a cotton blend, versatile, and a steal at 57% off.

5) Scuderia AlphaTauri Team T-Shirt

Image credit: F1 Store

RIP Alpha Tauri. This shirt is now a collector’s item as the rise of Visa CashApp Racing Bulls takes its place on the grid. If you think that is an awful rebrand, don’t worry. We do, too. I heard a girl once call Alpha Tauri ‘Sugar-Free’ Red Bull, and honestly, why they didn’t go that way is beyond me. But grab this unisex cotton tee for just $27, and still show your love for Danny and Yuki.

6) Formula 1 True Classics Crew Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

There are a few basic F1 merch items available in the sale, and I love the ones that are so subtle. This classic crewneck sweatshirt is a nod to the start of the sport in 1950. With clever racing stripes down the sides, this is a mod way to show you’re a motorhead too. It’s just $33.

7) Mercedes 2022 W13 E Performance No.44 – Lewis Hamilton 1:43 Model

Image credit: F1 Store

A few of these models from the last two seasons are on sale for just $7. These make great gifts and decorations for offices, living rooms, and bookshelves. If you got a Merc fanatic in your life, this would be a nice little present to surprise them with. It’s die-cast metal and plastic and a stunning representation of the actual million-dollar monster.

8) Michael Schumacher Legacy Classic Edition Poster

Image credit: F1 Store

We recently celebrated the legendary driver’s 55th birthday. Schumacher has no doubt left a huge mark on F1 and motorsports as a whole. This poster honors him and his supreme legacy. Printed on high-quality paper it was designed by Automobilist as a collab piece with the Keep Fighting Foundation. This is a brilliant piece of art for only $20.

9) Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 2023 Official Team Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

Save $30 on this 100% recycled polyester, totally adjustable official team hat. I love this green color and think it looks so stunning in a crowd. As a Fernando lover, I couldn’t make a list and not recommend something that represents him. There are a few items from Fernando’s Kimoa brand on sale as well.

10) Williams Racing Off Track Sweatshirt

Image credit: F1 Store

I think Williams knows how to lean into quiet luxury. Must be a British thing. This year especially they have designed a great line that isn’t flashy. This 100% knitted polyester sweatshirt has zipper pockets and is $39.

11) Alfa Romeo 2023 Valterri Bottas Driver Cap

Image credit: F1 Store

Of course, I’m including my favorite driver on this list. While Alfa Romeo was sunset for Sauber, the historic Italian brand will still live on. I have one of these and absolutely love the Milano cross and snake boldly standing out. I’m going to miss this team a lot, but I’m also preparing my soul for this to be Valterri’s last year as well. Nothing official, my gut just feels like this is it. Save 49% on this and add it to your collection.

12) Oracle Red Bull Max Verstappen Zandvoort Special Edition Tee

Image credit: F1 Store

Are you a member of the Orange Army? What better way to celebrate another outstanding year for Verstappen than with a tee celebrating the Dutch lion’s home race win? I love the Max design on this cotton unisex shirt in that fetching neon shade. Save it for the Dutch GP, or wear it every Sunday as they play the national anthem we’ve all come to know so well.

13) Haas F1 Team – Miami 2023 Limited Edition Poster

Image credit: F1 Store

Haas isn’t the best team, let’s be honest. But making dope posters is one of the good things they do. I love this one from the Miami GP, where, if you’ll remember, Magnussen actually got points. While their house may be a little on fire, so are these designs. This is not currently on sale, but if you sign up for the newsletter, you will get 10% off, and it ships directly from the printer.

14) Kimi Leave Me Alone Crew Socks

Image credit: F1 Store

There’s no way I could make this list and not include my other favorite Finn. These cotton blend socks designed by West Coast Choppers immortalize one of Kimi’s best F1 moments. These are also a great way to communicate with loved ones when the race is on.

15) Pirelli Podium Cap


This is not on sale either, but I highly recommend buying this on the site and not at the track, where it is double the price. This is an item I want to add to my hat arsenal, and I just love the way it looks. It’s one of those “if you know, you know” when you see one in the wild. It’s retro, which adds a little something. You don’t need to be a fan to rock this, but it doesn’t hurt

If you are interested in catching the Bahrain GP, it will be on Sunday, March 2 at 10 a.m. (EST) on ESPN in North America and, as always, on F1TV.

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BMW X3 M and X4 M
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Five fast compact SUVs you can get for under $100K in 2023

Behold our Fast Five! Er, Fast Five for the whole family. If you want a compact SUV that offers space for you and your family but also would want a surge of power available when you want it. Compact SUVs can offer you the best of both worlds, as you can get a fun, sporty, non-snoozeville vehicle that drives well while still delivering enough space for grocery hauls and IKEA expeditions. Having one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market can be a major benefit as you do not need to worry about being late for any event, whether it be the driver’s meeting at the track, the campground at the end of the trail, or soccer practice down the street. Without further ado, allow me to walk you through the sprightlier side of these glorified lifted hatchbacks. 

2023 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands (hold your horses and bear with us)

Top Speed: 121 MPH

What’s hot?

  • Conquer trails with Ford’s G.O.A.T system
  • The customization options you get with the Bronco family allow you to create your own custom Bronco Sport 

What’s not?

  • Expensive as far as its class goes
  • It may be too compact for some families

Stop! Hear me out. I know everything on this list is a little spendy. A little bit on the affluent side of sub-six-figures. However, the Ford Bronco Sport Badlands is one of the fastest sub-compact SUVs you can get new in the American car market this low down in the price bracket. As the Bronco Sport is just as capable as its bigger brother, you can go anywhere in Bronco Sport while also getting there quickly. A great reason to look at the Bronco Sport Badland edition is the customization you can get from Ford, allowing you to have the best Bronco. And although its price can get a little lofty as far as compact crossovers are concerned, it’s still among the most frugal and pennywise offerings in Ford’s stable. Looking at you, Lightning.

Being the most capable compact SUV on the list doesn’t make the Ford Bronco a slouch. With a proven top speed well into the 120-mph range, you can tackle any interstate with this SUV, given you have a decent lawyer. The Ford Bronco gets its power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, producing a staggering (for its breed) 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, enabling it to hit 60 in under six seconds in the hands of magazine test teams. Bronco Sport ST, maybe?

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35

Top Speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)

What’s hot?

  • Can be specced with seven seats if you really need it
  • The 4Matic all-wheel drive balances sporty driving and all-weather capability

What’s not?

  • Currently no hotter “45” model like the AMG GLAs 
  • Notable wind and tire noise

When you hear the word AMG, you immediately think of German power and performance. A diminutive four-banger box probably isn’t part of that image, yet here we are. Enter the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLB 35. With the refined nature of the Mercedes and its performance, you get the AMG badge, making it one of the fastest small SUV options to get. 

Producing 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque coming from a 2.0l turbocharged inline-four, you get a top speed of 155 MPH, which is actually electronically limited. With a 0-60 MPH of 5.1 seconds that you get from the eight-speed automatic gearbox, you will be able to beat most commuter cars and even some entry-level sports cars off the line. 

Audi SQ5 Sportback

Top Speed: 155 MPH (electronically limited)

What’s hot?

  • Still gets decent fuel economy
  • Modern and luxurious interior

What’s not?

  • Price can inflate rapidly
  • Audi’s definition of high performance can be a timid drive for some 

Its premium luxury look and feel are mixed in with speed and power. The Audi SQ5 Sportback will always impress those who drive it, even if it’s not the hottest or fiercest thing in its field. With styling cues from the larger and far more imposing Audi RS Q8 models, you get a premium compact SUV that is also one of the fastest compact SUVs, and it delivers on its mission with heaps of swag and style for the money.

Being limited to a top speed of 155 mph from a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, you get a staggering 349 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque to play with. The SQ5 has an eight-speed automatic that accelerates 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. All this performance goes through the Audi Quattro all-wheel drive system, allowing you to use all the power anytime. 

Porsche Macan GTS

Top Speed: 163 MPH

What’s hot?

  • One of the sharpest and most dynamic crossovers, period
  • It has a very sporty seating position

What’s not?

  • Among the costlier options here and can easily inflate deep into the six figures
  • It may be quite big for some people

Given the Porsche Macan GTS is, uh, well, a Porsche, it will always be a head-turner and a genuine performer wherever you take it. Porsche translates its vast knowledge of legendary sports cars into something that gives its customers one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market.

The Macan has evolved a bit over several years, but know the current GTS’ 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 creates 434 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. These staggering figures allow the Macan GTS to have an acceleration of 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds in the hands of magazine test teams. That’s up there with the best sports cars today and was supercar territory merely a decade or so ago. All this power gets sent to all four wheels through Porsche’s acclaimed seven-speed PDK dual-clutch.

BMW X3 M and X4 M Competition 

Top Speed: 177 MPH 

What’s hot?

  • Porsche-rivaling stats
  • One of the most sports car-like in its field

What’s not?

  • Some may find the ride a bit too harsh. 
  • Go ahead. Buy the X4. Show us how little taste you have. 

Being one of the fastest compact SUVs on the market, the BMW X4 M and X3 M Competition deliver performance in spades, more so than many other performance SUVs on the market, big or small. As part of the M family of cars, their turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six powertrains carry over from the BMW M3 sedan and M4 coupe. The BMW X3 and X4 are mechanically identical, but the X4 bears that iconically controversial coupe-inspired design that the world loves to hate. Not that ugly is anything new to BMW.

The Competition package turns up the wick with 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, a healthy leap from the base cars’ 473 horsepower and 457 pound-feet. All this power goes through an eight-speed automatic to an all-wheel-drive system. The resulting performance figures are a 0-60 time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of 177 MPH.

Bronco Sport Meme
Image credit: Jeric Jaleco

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