The recent rains had left the steep, unpaved driveway so loose and muddy that I could feel the ground moving ever so slightly under the tyres, even after we stopped.

At the muddy off-road park near Stuttgart, my guide told me, while sitting in the passenger seat of a big 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter AWD passenger van

to reverse and back up the small hill. He didn't seem the least bit worried about the concrete wall that was just a foot or two away.

With Continental VanContact Winter tyres, the Sprinter didn't send any power to the back wheels.

 Instead, it gently worked the front wheels, which were carrying almost all of the big van's weight.

This helped the wheels gain traction side to side, which moved the van up the slope and out of the mud pit.

It was a quick but nerve-wracking demonstration, and even though we drove in the mud in other ways, backing out of a mud pit was the most impressive thing we did all day.

 Engineers agreed that the outcome would have been very different if it had happened in the outgoing van.

With the help of brake torque vectoring, this move was made possible by a new four-wheel-drive system 

that uses a multi-clutch system to send up to 100% of the torque to the front or 100% to the back, or any combination in between. 

2023 Mercedez-BenzSprinter AWD is basically a transplant from the Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS SUVs.

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