Glad to see the amount of sharing and observations on my question and concerns about brake pedal feel.
brake pedal feel does not equate to brake effectiveness
I agree. But I will also offer, if one were to jump into any
car, drive off and when applying the brakes, the pedal descended to say half way down its travel or in an exaggeration, 2/3's of its travel, the driver would be concerned believing something was wrong with the braking system.
We have been conditioned to believe that correctly operating vehicle braking system is one where the operator gets the feedback of a firm pedal. Maybe a little initial travel, but a firm resistance saying 1. the braking system is working and 2. there isn't air in the hydraulic lines compressing. This is the historical standard that is in our cellular memory.
In a sudden braking situation, especially driving a vehicle approaching a 10,000 GVW, I don't want to be thinking "Its going to be OK; the ABS, ASR, BAS, EBD and ESP are going to slow and stop me".
Don't get me wrong- I really like these systems. I think they are absolutely terrific. We are truly lucky to have this technology to ensure increased safety. They are wonderful.
But ... a soft, spongy, sinking brake pedal.... no. And this is not even during an emergency stop.
I plan to visit my local MBZ dealership and survey a few 2106 Sprinter models. My plan is not to even drive them. Just start them and push the brake pedal and see if indeed this is an across the board characteristic of later Sprinter vans. I will report back.