Mercedes-Benz Sprinter gets starring role in Ghostbusters film

ECTO-1 looks pretty good for a 1959 Cadillac that has spent decades chasing ghosts, but the members of the Ghostbusters team wanted to add a more modern vehicle to their fleet before embarking on their next adventure. Like the #vanlife crowd and Amazon, they got a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

While the Caddy isn’t retiring, it will be joined by a purpose-built example of Mercedes-Benz’s biggest van in “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” which is due out on March 22, 2024. At first glance, the Sprinter looks like, well… a Sprinter. Apart from a handful of exterior decals, it looks like the average 2500 model meandering across a big city to deliver parcels. However, it’s decked out with world-saving equipment inside.

Called ECTO-Z, the Sprinter is fitted with a pull-out rack that carries equipment such as ghost traps, proton packs used to capture ghosts, and the all-important muon scrubbers. ECTO-1 can haul this hardware as well, but it’s a lot less subtle: some of it needs to go on the massive roof rack. Choosing the panel version of the Sprinter with a high roof helps the Ghostbusters team keep a relatively low profile.

On a more serious note, Mercedes-Benz proudly points out that its Sprinter is only the second official Ghostbuster vehicle since ECTO-1 made its debut when the franchise launched in 1984. There’s a catch: while the ECTO-1 license plate first appeared on the aforementioned 1959 Cadillac, it also ended up on a 1982 Cadillac-based model in the Paul Feig-directed Ghostbusters reboot released in July 2016.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t released technical details, but the Sprinter is exclusively offered with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine now that the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 is out of the picture. It makes 168 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in its standard configuration, while the optional high-output version posts figures of 208 and 332, respectively. The more powerful four sounds perfect for chasing ghosts. The engine spins the rear wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission; it doesn’t look like ECTO-Z is fitted with all-wheel-drive.

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