Mercedes-Benz has put to rest rumours of the company releasing a pick-up by confirming, in the last week of October 2016, that they will sell a four door utility vehicle. The X Class vehicle was unveiled in Sweden and will become the fourth commercial vehicle line the German based company will market.It will stand as a competitor to Volkswagen’s Amarok, with VW the first of the upper level manufacturers to release such a vehicle, plus the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT50, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Coloradao and, of course, Toyota’s HiLux. The X Class is based on the Nissan platform, the NP 300 Navara, which also will form part of the forthcoming Renault Alaskan range, due in 2018 for Australia.Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars said of the new vehicle: “With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment.” Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: “We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world’s first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle. Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before.” Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Europe are seen as the vehicles primary markets, as well as Australia, with over 14 percent of vehicles sold being in the light commercial utility market. The four wheel drive segment constitutes 12.4 per cent of the market overall in Australia, making it the second largest segment after sub $40K small cars. Australia was also chosen a development location, which means that models sold in Australia should have the benefit of local tune.It’s a substantial investment by the German goliath, with one figure being quoted of $1.4 billion Australian. Part of that investment is ensuring the corporate look is embedded, with the company’s signature SUV styling, including the single louvre grille and flared wheel arches. So far, M-B have listed two models, the “Stylish Explorer” and “Powerful Adventurer”.
Engine wise, it appears to be a mix of Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Nissan, with V6 diesels seeming to be reserved for the top echelon, whilst four cylinder diesels and petrol engines should be available from the entry level up. It’s likely these will power the 4Matic autos at the top end, which no confirmation yet as to the drivetrain for the lower models. However it’s likely we’ll see the standard mix of both two and four wheel drive variants.
Inside, the X-Class is likely to feature leather clad seats, with oak and aluminuim trims, a high definition touchscreen, stylised rounded air vents, and a centre console mounted controller/touchpad, plus the bespoke MercedesMe system. A manually operated, rather than electric, hand brake is said to be part of the package.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed however it’s rumoured that the X-Class will be offered with very competitive pricing.