GERMAN vehicle maker Mercedes-Benz has entered the highly competitive ute market, unveiling its much anticipated luxury X-Class in South Africa overnight.
After Europe, the X-Class will be offered in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand early next year, and in Argentina and Brazil in 2019. It has a five-seat, four-door crew cab design and shares its platform with the Nissan Navara.
Inside, the X-Class is also recognisably Mercedes, with round air vents and many elements such as the steering wheel, instrument cluster, COMAND infotainment system and light switch taken from the C-Class. The X-Class gives Mercedes an offering that rivals BMW and Audi will unlikely match any time soon.
Equipped with the 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine that will top the range from launch (a V6 diesel will arrive as flagship later in 2018), our X-Class X250d model idled quietly with the trademark diesel pick-up rumble consigned to the background. The V6 has permanent all-wheel drive, while the inline-fours will have a selectable four-wheel drive system.
Despite wearing a tri-star logo, Mercedes says the truck is fully-capable of handling work duty as it features a ladder-type frame and a solid rear axle. As in all M-B models, safety remains a priority and the X-Class will come with or offer active brake and lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, trailer stability assist, LED headlamps and an emergency call system. The Mercedes-Benz X-Class will be offered in nine colours and can be optioned with 17, 18 or 19-inch wheels. Three transmissions are available: a 6-speed manual and two versions of a 7-speed automatic. It is noted that most of the exterior is borrowed from other cars in the line Mercedes. It indeed will be Mercedes-Benz’s first entry in the segment, but it won’t be coming here. An optional feature links various onboard comfort systems together such as climate control, ambience lighting, massage and fragrancing functions to configure a specific wellness set-up to suit their mood or need.
The spicy but frugal electrically boosted straight six looks set to proliferate the Mercedes range with a number of different states of tune potentially applying to a wider range of vehicles, with the AMG CLS and S-Class already lined up. With the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vans is expanding its portfolio to a fourth model series and filling the intersection between passenger cars and commercial vehicles. For example, side running boards and an electrically opening rear window, or there is a choice of styling bar, side bar, soft tonneau cover, hard tonneau cover and roll cover, as well as a canopy.