Mercedes has unveiled its much anticipated new premium pickup, the X-class. The model is a five-seat, four-door crew cab pickup with a separate chassis, four engine options, a choice of selectable or permanent four-wheel drive and six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission options. The corporation rights that the X-class can be used as both a rugged, off-road-capable pickup, as well as a vehicle for urban folks. Mercedes is aiming to meet the rising demand for pickup trucks with the refinement and convenience features of a conventional car. Besides its sophisticated suspension and robust construction, the X-class’s finest cabin, connectivity, extensive safety aids and scope for personalization are all intended to spread its appeal beyond the traditional pickup buyer looking for a workhorse, towards the leisure market. The X-class’s core markets are Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand; it has been extensively tested in all. Inspiration comes from the rougher end of Mercedes’ vehicles – the G-Wagen and Unimog are said to have influenced its design. To this end, the X-class is offered with three varieties of dashboard finish, six upholstery options, including two in leather and three trim levels, ranging from the entry-level Pure through Power and Progressive. X-class engines include a 163hp, diesel X220d and 190hp, X250d as well as a 165hp petrol engine in some markets. A 258hp, 550Nm V6 diesel will be released in mid-2018. The X220d and X250d 4Matic provide selectable four-wheel drive, while the six-cylinder unit has permanent four-wheel drive. All versions have low-range gearing; a locking rear axle differential is optional.
Mercedes rights excellent off- and on-road performance, the X-class’s suspension consisting of coil-sprung double wishbones at the front and a coil-sprung, and 5-link live axle at the back. Long spring travel, precise wheel control and good articulation are features, along with ‘a high level of driving dynamics and ride comfort on the road’. The X-class’s driving character can be changed via Dynamic Select option providing comfort, eco, sport, manual and off-road choices. It will be built in Spain, alongside the Nissan Navara and Cordoba, Argentina. Pickups are mostly about carrying loads, and the X-class can carry up to 1,042kg – similar to that of mainstream competitors such as the Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux and Nissan Navarra. The load bed length is 1,587mm, its width 1,560mm and height (to the top of the loaded walls) 474mm. The X-class will tow a 3.5-tonne load equivalent to a three-berth horsebox or an 8m yacht. It’s slightly wider than its competitors, and also has the longest wheelbase in the class. Load securing points are also standard, these becoming load-securing rails on higher trim levels. Typical pickup options include a styled body-color rear canopy, a plastic load-bed liner, a bed-divider system, soft and hard tonneau covers, an aluminum roll-top cover, a 156-litre storage box, running boards, a roll-over hoop and a three-piece detachable stainless steel underguard. Less typical of a pickup are Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist, along with a connectivity app that enables users to remotely locate the vehicle, check its fuel level and navigate from door to door via a smartphone. Also unusual is a higher standard of in-cab finish than typically found aboard pickup trucks. Mercedes’ Comand infotainment and 360-degree cameras are also options.