Spotlight: Mercedes X-Class makes its worldwide debut
Mercedes-Benz has taken the covers off its all-new 4×4 double cab pick-up, the X-Class, and it goes on sale in the UK this November with customer deliveries starting in early 2018.
Continuing Merc’s already established relationship with the Renault-Nissan Alliance (Citan), X-Class is based on the underpinnings of the latest generation Nissan Navara and the upcoming Renault Alaskan. UK variants will be built in Nissan’s state-of-the-art facility in Barcelona.
From launch there will be one engine option in the UK, a re-worked version of the 190hp/450Nm Renault/Nissan 2.3-litre bi-turbo four-cylinder diesel. Four-wheel drive (high and low range) is selectable electronically and there’s a six-speed manual transmission fitted as standard with a seven-speed auto ’box available as an option. UK buyers, however, will have to wait until the summer of 2018 for the 255hp/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 diesel.
This range-topping X-Class model will come with permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive and the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed twin-clutch auto transmission with steering-wheel shift paddles and ECO start/stop function as standard. Merc’s Dynamic Select system will be an option extra, providing five drive programs that modify the engine characteristics, the automatic transmission’s switching points and the ECO start/stop function.
One big advantage of basing your new pick-up on Navara is the suspension system; independent double wishbone at the front and multi-link at the rear. There’s not a cart spring to be seen. Merc has fine-tuned the settings for Europe with different coil lengths and damper ratings, effectively lowering it slightly — by 21mm giving it 202mm of ground clearance — without compromising off-road capability. We look forward to trying it out as Navara itself is no slouch in the ride department on and off the road.
For the UK, gross payloads easily exceed one tonne, making X-Class VAT-reclaimable, and all models will have a braked trailer towing weight of 3.5t; pretty much the industry standard these days.
Externally, X-Class displays its Navara origins design-wise, apart from the obviously Merc front-end and despite being a tad longer and wider, but the cab interior has had a complete makeover. Three trim levels will be on offer — Pure, Progressive and Power — distinguished by varying levels of colour-coding, bling and trim.
Merc is going for as many market sectors as possible, although we doubt that the entry level package will be quite ‘utility’ enough to interest the fleets.
Full UK specifications and prices will be released closer to the on-sale date, but one thing is for sure; Mercedes-Benz is taking the UK pick-up market seriously, albeit a little late in the day.