Mercedes-Benz has finally lifted the lid on its X-Class midsize (one ton) pick-up.
The German carmaker says the “premium pick-up will combine the best of two worlds”.
To demonstrate this dexterity, Mercedes-Benz has made two design variants of the X-Class concept vehicle, one aimed at the off-road market, and the other for the urban explorer – think steel-toe boots versus an expensive pair of leather loafers.
Mercedes-Benz is the first premium segment manufacturer to venture into the pick-up market.
Parent company Daimler would only admit to an investment of euros “in the high nine figures” to bring the vehicle to market.
The X-Class will be launched in late 2017 and 2018 in Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
It will not be manufactured in South Africa, unlike many of the rivals it will face in the local market.
“With the Mercedes-Benz pick-up, 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,” says Daimler chairperson Dr Dieter Zetsche.
“We will open up and change the segment of midsize pick-ups with the world’s first true premium pick-up for the modern urban lifestyle,” adds Mercedes-Benz Vans head Volker Mornhinweg.
Mercedes-Benz Vans will take responsibility for the X-Class within the Daimler group.
“Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us,” says Mornhinweg. “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.”
Daimler believes the worldwide market for midsize pick-ups is undergoing “a radical change”.
“Gone are the days when they were bought as mere workhorses. Instead, they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for private and commercial use and as vehicles strictly for private use. The percentage of privately used pick-ups has been growing steadily for years. Accordingly, the double-cab has emerged as the dominating body style, because it offers room for up to five persons. More and more private and commercial customers ask for vehicles with the characteristics and comfort features of a passenger car.”
Current indications are that the top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel engine in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.
Payload will be more than 1.1 t, with a towing capacity of up to 3.5 t possible.
The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class will begin in Europe in late 2017.
The new model series will be positioned in the segment “at an attractive price”, promises Daimler.
The pick-up will be manufactured in cooperation with the Renault-NissanAlliance.
Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant, in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017.
The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.