This is the new Mercedes X-Class, the German brand’s first ever pick-up, designed to bridge the gap between its range of SUVs and its commercial vehicle cohort.
Launching across Europe later this year, the X-Class will be quite the workhouse judging by the stats, capable of carting around a payload of 1.1 tonnes, which Mercedes has handily converted into seventeen 50L barrels of beer, making you the undisputed life and soul of the party. Towing strength stands at 3.5 tonnes, once again measured a little differently in the form of a trailer with exactly three horses or an eight-metre yacht. I think a picture is forming of Mercedes’ intended audience.
Three styling packs will be available, catering to varying needs. PURE is the most basic option, designed for drivers whose vehicles live a rough and tumble lifestyle. PROGRESSIVE offers a little more quality and comfort inside the cabin for those who wear suits tucked inside their wellingtons, while the high end POWER is designed for ‘urban lifestyles’ and should be the best option for those for whom driving through muck and rough terrain is an alien experience.
However, and I don’t think I’m alone on this point – the X-Class is a little disappointing looks-wise, quite different to the concepts released late last year. It is a pick-up, but these days that’s no excuse for a lack of styling, and I think Volkswagen’s Amarok or even the Ford Ranger are the better-looking options. At the moment, the X-Class simply looks like one of its SUVs with a rather plain cargo bed bolted on. If you think there are shades of the Nissan Navara in there you’d be right – the X-Class is based on the same platform and is built by Nissan at their Spanish plant, a partnership that has allowed Mercedes to get the X-Class to market quite quickly. However, Mercedes insists that the X-Class isn’t simply a rebadged Navara, citing various differences in styling, dimension and parts, both over and under the skin.
Underneath the bonnet, the X-Class offers 2.3L diesel propulsion in two formats – a turbocharged block producing 163hp in the X220d, or the more powerful and appealing biturbo X250d with 190hp. ‘Selected’ markets will be given the option of a 165hp petrol engine, while a range topping V6 diesel with 258hp will be released in mid-2018. A six-speed manual transmission will come as standard, though you can fork out for an optional seven-speed auto box on both models. Rear-wheel drive is the standard option, though all-wheel drive will be on the menu.
There’s plenty of tech too, as befits a Mercedes. Think a host of assist-suffix features, an optional 360-degree camera, integration with a smartphone app, and a drive select system with five different modes. For those who enjoy driving a pick-up for personal use, the multi-link rear suspension has been tuned for comfort on the tarmac.
Unsurprisingly, Mercedes wants nothing more than global domination for the X-Class, noting that they’re targeting landowners and farmers in Argentina, business owners and building contractors in Australia, premium-minded families in Brazil, trendy drivers in South Africa and the UK, and adventurers across New Zealand and Germany. You might hazard a guess as to the target market in Ireland – perhaps a certain segment of builders and farmers will get their orders in, along with a smattering of private drivers who enjoy the high driving position, practicality and solid feel of a pick-up, particularly one with the three-pointed star on the bonnet.
According to Mercedes Ireland, the X-Class will be available here from this November and, while official pricing has yet to be released, you can expect a starting point somewhere in the region of €35,000. Perhaps Audi and BMW will be next.