Mercedes-Benz has been busy, in a brave move, the German brand has answered the call of cashed up tradies, badge snobs and those lacking common sense by officially revealing its new ute or pick up – the X-Class.
It’s nothing short of remarkable how much interest there is for the X-Class. It’s difficult to remember the last Mercedes model to generate this much of a buzz.
The X-Class has the potential to open up a new market for the brand and allow it to cash in on Australia’s booming dual-cab ute sales.
Based on the underwhelming Nissan Navara, the styling has been modified from the much-hyped concept vehicle. Mercedes has moved to limit the Navara connection by pointing out the roof is the only shared body panel.
Although, Australian specification and pricing haven't been confirmed, locally, Mercedes is expected to offer three trim lines, Pure, Progressive, and Power. There will also be a choice of three diesel engines.
The X220d will be powered by a 2.3-litre four-cylinder single-turbo diesel with 120kW of power and 403Nm of torque. This isn’t a Mercedes engine, it will be sourced from Renault-Nissan, as will the 2.3-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel with 140kW/450Nm that sits under the hood of the X250d.
There will likely be a combination of manual and automatic transmissions and the choice of rear or all-wheel drive.
Topping the range will be the X350d, this model will be powered by a Mercedes engine. It will be chasing the V6 Amarok with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel that is rated at a class leading 190kW of power. It will match the Amarok with 550Nm of torque.
The interior looks classy and this may be where the X-Class finds its niche, especially in the Power version. It remains to be seen if it betters what’s currently offered by Volkswagen.
In regard to safety, the X-Class will get plenty of standard kit and set a higher standard than its German rival by including airbag coverage for those in the back seat.
Utes like this often have an accessory list to rival a Robert Ludlum novel. Mercedes is said to be producing some genuine accessories and aftermarket suppliers will no doubt provide an extensive selection of extra gear.
There has already been plenty of speculation about how the X-Class will be priced. Despite Mercedes best efforts to shift from a premium to mainstream brand, it still puts a significant dollar value on its badge and with this in mind, the X-Class is unlikely to be cheap. In Europe, the base model has been priced at 37,000 EURO, this translates to around $54,000 locally - when the Australia tax is added it is likely to be more expensive then many think. The most likely outcome is a base model X-Class priced at the same level as a top-of-the-line HiLux.
Mercedes will officially open the order books later this year with the first local deliveries commencing in 2018.
Let’s start a Car Conversation, does anybody want to have a guess at the launch price?