It’s been some time since news of Mercedes-Benz’s new pick-up, the X-Class, bubbled to the surface, but over last night the German marque held the anticipated unveil at their Stuttgart headquarters, giving the world their first real look at a three-pointed ‘premium’ ute. An Aussie arrival is earmarked for early 2018 and pricing should start in the vicinity of 37,294 Euros (roughly AU$54,000).
Just as it was in its pre-production ‘concept’ form, the X-Class will reach the selected core markets it’s aimed at – namely Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Britain, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand – as a single body style dual cab ute. Albeit, a premium one, with its main competitor being the Volkswagen Amarok.
Benz says that its experience engineering utilitarian, even military-focused rough goers certainly had an effect on the final design of the X-Class, but they had to exercise caution in implementing those cues while balancing the more inherent attributes carried over from the model it’s based on: the Nissan’s third-generation (NP300) Navara.
The softer edges of the present-day Mercedes SUV line-up have also made their presence known here, and in our opinion does so a little too prominently on the X-Class. By contrast, the aforementioned Navara and Renault Alaskan (another ute based on those same underpinnings) wear a noticeably sharper visual palette on their respective exteriors. And compared to the earlier X-Class Concept, this final version is styled much more conservatively.
It will be offered as one of three grades: the X-Class PURE is a more basics-focused variant that’s meant to the be the series’ workhorse. It’s still claimed to be more comfortable and refined, as they emphasise, but the luxury is dialled back here more than the following two variants.
The X-Class PROGRESSIVE is the mid-tier selection, one that aims to exude a no-nonsense aura but still provide enough extra styling and comfort features to stand proudly as a company car or for private use. Lastly, there’s the range-topping X-Class POWER, which could be likened to the Ranger Wildtrak or Amarok V6 Ultimate. High equipment levels, exterior accoutrements, and interior luxuries are ticked as standard.
Inside, the affair is pretty much left to (or limited by) its Japanese pick-up base genetics. Build quality will be assuredly top notch, with more leather and high quality textured material strewn throughout the cabin that’s a cut above what we’d typically find. It won’t be winning any design awards, however, but thankfully Mercedes has included their COMAND infotainment system via central floating display and control knob behind the gear selector.
Powering the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is a spread of four- and six-cylinder petrol or diesel engines. At launch, the will be the X220d with 120kW and the X250d with 140kW, as well as a 122kW petrol motor in selected markets.
Meanwhile, mid-2018 will see the addition of a V6 diesel unit into the engine ranks, delivering 190kW. Of course, all units will receive the automaker’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system as standard in order to transmit power to all corners. In the X-Class, it’s equipped with low-range gearing and an optional rear axle differential lock. In between the motor and driveline will live a seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters.
As the Nissan Navara upon which it’s built received a 5-star safety rating from ANCAP and earlier a 4-star from Euro NCAP. No doubt Mercedes-Benz will be feverishly chasing that full score with the X-Class, be it by somehow altering the crash structure and/or stuffing it to the gills with safety kit. This initial reveal promises every X-Class will receive advanced pre-collision features such as Active Brake Assist, Lane Keep Assist, and Traffic Sign Recognition.