Mercedes X-Class bakkie unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show to make its debut in SA early next year

Around two months before its European market launch, the Mercedes among pickups is celebrating its public premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA), in Frankfurt until September 24.

Brian Joss – The new X-Class unites the typical characteristics of a pickup with the classical strengths of a Mercedes: convincing robustness with modern design, impressive off-road capabilities with high driving dynamics and safety, sophisticated functionality and stylish comfort. The new performance pickup has a comfort suspension with a ladder-type frame, rear multi-link solid axle, front independent wheel suspension and coil springs at both axles.

The X-Class: the pick-up from Mercedes. Picture: Quickpic

On this platform it enters the market with different design and equipment lines, various drive variants, the largest choice of materials and colours in the segment and an extensive range of accessories developed by Mercedes-Benz which allow for further personalisation.

 The X-Class thus meets a wide variety of use cases – from a robust, off-road capable pickup to an urban lifestyle and family vehicle. The European market launch is scheduled for November 2017. At the beginning of 2018 South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will follow, and in early 2019 Argentina and Brazil. In Germany it is available at a price from € 37,294 (incl. 19 percent VAT). The new X-Class can be ordered with immediate effect.

The X-Class has been specifically developed for the changing requirements of the international pickup markets. The demand for mid-size pickups with typical passenger car characteristics and comfort features has been steadily on the rise for years. At the same time, the proportion of pickups for private use is increasing. They are no longer viewed purely as “workhorses”. Mercedes-Benz is the first premium manufacturer to take these changes into account. The X-Class is aimed at very different customer groups: land-owners and farmers in Argentina, business owners such as building contractors in Australia, families with an affinity for premium products in Brazil, trend-conscious individuals in South Africa or Great Britain, as well as sporty adventurers in New Zealand.

Three design and equipment lines for different working and life styles The pickup bearing the Mercedes star comes in three design and equipment variants for different working and life styles:

  • The X-Class Pure basic variant is ideal for rugged, functional use. It fulfils all the demands on a “workhorse”. At the same time its comfort and design make it perfect for visiting customers or suppliers, and for private activities.
  • The X-Class Progressive is aimed at people seeking a rugged pickup with extra styling and comfort functions – as a “calling card” for their own business, while also being a comfortable yet prestigious vehicle for private use.
  • The X-Class Power is the high-end line. It is aimed at customers for whom styling, performance and comfort are paramount. As a lifestyle vehicle beyond the mainstream, it is suitable for urban environments as well as for sports and leisure activities off the beaten track. Its design and high level of equipment reflect an independent and individualistic lifestyle.

With its progressive, brand-typical design, the X-Class manages the fine balance between being both tough and stylish. The stretched body and the puristic, surface-accentuating design with stripped-down, extremely precise features draw attention to the basic virtues of a pickup in an emotionally appealing way – combined with almost unlimited functionality. The X-Class can haul a payload of up to 1.1 tons That’s enough to transport 17 full 50-litre barrels of beer in the cargo area, for instance. Able to tow up to 3.5 tons, it can also pull a trailer containing three horses or an eight-metre yacht.

The front has the looks of one of the brand’s typical SUVs – with the centrally positioned star, twin-louvre radiator grille, high and powerfully honed bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The front apron emphasises width and has its own distinct character depending on the chosen design and equipment line.

The load bed is designed in such a way that a Euro-pallet can be loaded straight between the wheel arches. The X-Class is the only mid-size pickup to be equipped with lighting in the cargo area as standard. The third brake light contains LED lights which illuminate the whole load bed. A 12-volt socket to power additional devices, such as compressors, is also part of the standard equipment of the load bed.

In the interior, the X-Class elevates comfort and quality feel to a new level in the mid-size pickup segment. The instrument panel has the concave trim element typical of a Mercedes. It stretches across the entire width of the instrument panel – a novel feature in the segment. It creates an open feel and purist modernity. The control and display concept shows the familiar high levels of convenience and ergonomic comfort. Well-proven systems from the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series celebrate their premiere in the mid-size pickup segment: these include the multifunction touchpad on the centre console and fully integrated COMAND Online multimedia system with hard-disk navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice control and internet access via smartphone. In conjunction with COMAND Online the centre display has a screen diagonal of 8.4 inches, making it the largest display in the segment. With a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and the high-contrast IPS technology (In-Plane Switching), it offers a brilliant display that markedly increases the image quality of the 360-degree camera and the navigation maps. The well-proven Audio 20 USB and Audio 20 CD audio systems are also available. These come with a 7-inch media display.

As from its market launch, there are two powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines to deliver spirited performance. The high-torque common-rail diesel drive system with a displacement of 2.3 litres is available with a choice of two power outputs. In the X 220 d with single turbocharger it generates 120 kW/163 hp and in the biturbo X 250 d no less than 140 kW/190 hp. Both diesel models are available as left- or right-hand drive vehicles with purely rear wheel drive or with engageable all-wheel drive. All engines are characterised by quiet, low-vibration running and excellent power delivery coupled with low consumption figures. Power is transferred via a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed automatic transmission is available on request for the 140 kW/190 hp X 250 d and X 250 d 4MATIC models.

A high-torque V6 diesel engine will be released mid-2018, ensuring even greater agility on- and off-road. It will generate 190 kW/258 hp and a maximum torque of 550 Nm. This gives the X 350 d 4MATIC the leading position in the segment. The top X-Class model will come as standard with permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive and the seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS with steering-wheel shift paddles and ECO start/stop function. The DYNAMIC SELECT system is available in addition. To date, the inclusion of a drive program switch has been rare in the pickup segment. This technology enables the driving experience to be tailored to individual preferences – from relaxed comfort to engaged sportiness. There are five drive programs to choose from: Comfort, ECO, Sport, Manual and Offroad. These modify the engine characteristics, the automatic transmission’s switching points and the ECO start/stop function.The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is certified as a commercial vehicle (N1).

The X-Class is the first pickup to deliver both excellent off- and on-road performance. The wide track, long wheelbase and comfortable spring and damping tuning typical of a Mercedes open up a new world of driving enjoyment and driving dynamics on the road – without resulting in compromises when off-road.

Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which is available for the X 220 d 4MATIC and X 250 d 4MATIC models, masters any terrain. With it, the front wheels can be engaged or disengaged by electric means depending on the surface. As from mid-2018 Mercedes-Benz will also make its pickup available with permanent all-wheel drive. This will ensure that the X-Class delivers maximum performance and traction, even at top speed on roads. The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will only be offered in conjunction with the six-cylinder engine. Off-road, both 4MATIC variants benefit from the same superior assertiveness thanks to the low-range gearing and optional differential lock on the rear axle. All the all-wheel drive models come with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) on board as standard.

Another highlight of the intelligent networking is the transmission of traffic information in real time. In conjunction with a Mercedes me account, and within Europe, the COMAND Online navigation system can show the beginning and length of a traffic jam on a map to within 100 metres of the exact position, and compute a dynamic route with shorter travel times. The potential loss of time is taken into account automatically in real time for the arrival time displayed by COMAND Online navigation. The system also provides a 3D view with three-dimensional urban models, making orientation in unfamiliar city centres easier. Moreover, special personal destinations can be saved or imported via SD card, and four alternate routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation.

In conjunction with the optional Garmin® MAP PILOT system, in most European countries the Audio 20 CD also becomes a fully-fledged navigation system with Live Traffic Information. With both systems, X-Class drivers benefit from early information about disturbances such as traffic jams, increased traffic volumes or other possible delays along the route, allowing them to adjust their route planning in good time. The relevant pre-installation for the Garmin® MAP PILOT is available as an option.

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