The premium German company revealed the concept X-Class in Sweden overnight, calling it the world’s ‘first premium pick-up truck’ by capitalising on the fact its premium rivals, BMW, Audi, Lexus, don’t have such a vehicle.
Chairman of the Daimler AG board Dr Dieter Zetsche said: “With the Mercedes-Benz pick-up, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment.”
Not one but two concepts were unveiled – the ‘X-Class Powerful Adventurer’, an off-road focused design, and the ‘X-Class Stylish Explorer’, a swept-up model aimed more at town-and-around users.
X-Class will be built at factories in Spain and Argentina beginning late in 2017. Mercedes-Benz has identified key markets as Australiasia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Europe.
Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, under which banner the X-Class will be sold, said the ute would open up and change the segment of mid-size pick-ups.
“Our future X-Class will be a pick-up that knows no compromise,” he said. “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 pick-up before.”
The X-Class shares its ladder frame with the Nissan Navara and upcoming Renault Alaskan, the result of a parts and technology deal Mercedes-Benz has with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The links to the Navara can be clearly seen in the profile, but Mercedes-Benz has dropped in its familiar trademark styling cues to make the model its own.
There’s a bold front end with oversize grille and slim, high-mounted headlights. The air intake and large power bulge in the centre of the bonnet hint at the potential potency beneath, although both are likely to be toned down for production.
The flared wheelarches and kink of the window line towards the rear of the double cab are styling additions expected to make it through to production. But the odd lighting arrangement across the entire tailgate isn’t.
The Powerful Adventurer looks every inch the off-road ute. Mercedes-Benz might have added oversize 22-inch wheels – probably an option – and an electric winch, but the inside gets brushed metal and carbon surfaces with black leather upholstery and accents that match the yellow metallic paint. There’s even a fire extinguisher on the dash.
The interior treatment of the Powerful Adventurer is very different from the wood finishes and cream leather of the Stylish Explorer, but both models pick up the familiar Mercedes-Benz switchgear and tablet-like display in the centre of the dash.
There are no details of the range of engines yet, but it is believed the top-range model will get a V6 diesel from the company’s passenger car line-up, a 3.0-litre unit delivering around 200kW/620Nm.
Expect X-Class to come with a range of advanced driver assistance systems. Mercedes-Benz claims a payload of up to 1200kg and a braked towing capacity of 3500kg for the X-Class. Payload alone is around 200kg more than that of the current segment leaders, the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.