Pushing the mid-size truck luxury to an entirely new level, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup debuted today. Built on the Nissan Navara platform, it is filled with Mercedes-Benz luxury and features.
The new truck is in direct response to the rise of pickups around the world with increased luxury features and is fairly close to the X-Class concept unveiled a few months back. Mercedes says this truck will be aimed at a range of different customers: “land owners and farmers in Argentina, business owners and building contractors in Australia, families with an affinity for premium products in Brazil, trend-conscious individualists in South Africa and Great Britain as well as sporty adventurers in New Zealand and Germany.”
Meeting these customers needs will be tricky with a global product and this is reflected in the three different trims for the truck: X-Class PURE, X-Class PROGRESSIVE, X-Class POWER. Essentially these trims represent a work truck, a leather and chrome model and a higher-end luxury truck.
Mercedes is also utilizing a lot of its existing styling and power trains to reduce the gamble of bringing a unique product to the market. For example, the exterior of the new X-Class pickup has the distinctive look of a GLS SUV with a bed. The truck also utilizes the bed headache racks found throughout European trucks as well as roof rails to expand cargo carrying space.
It will come with 17, 18 or 19-inch tires and come in nine different colors.
Inside the cabin, the X-Class again borrows from other vehicles with a standard 5.4-inch, or optional 8.4-inch infotainment screen, and the iconic circular HVAC vents. Electric seats with lumbar, Bluetooth connectivity and rear seats with room enough “for three passengers” according to M-B are offered.
Size wise, the X-Class is akin to the European mid-size trucks with a total length of 210 inches and 75.6 inches wide. The wheelbase is 124 inches long as well. Mercedes says maximum payload is 2,297 lbs and ground clearance is 7.95 inches. It has an approach angle of 20.4 degrees.
Powering the truck will be one of three engine options: 2.3L 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel producing 163 HP in the X 220 d, 2.3L 4-cylinder twin-turbo producing 190 HP, high-torque V6 producing 258 HP in the X 350 d releasing mid-2018.
Each of these power trains will be mated to either six-speed manual standard or a seven-speed automatic (X 350 d will come standard with auto).
Mercedes is also bringing its 4MATIC all-wheel drive technology over into the X-Class and the X 350 d will also come with paddle shifters and the ECO start/stop function.
For the X 350 d, it will have five different drive modes to choose from: Comfort, ECO, Sport, Manual and Offroad. M-B says these modes will adjust the engine output, automatic transmissions shift points and ECO start/stop function. No word if the other trims will have these same drive modes.
The truck will beef up its off-road performance with coil-springs front and rear. It will ride on a double wishbone front axle and a rear multi-link solid axle M-B says is ” ideal for transporting heavy loads and has good articulation capability.” This is a hard thing to attain for many truck engineers and bravo to M-B if they figured it out.
Another area Mercedes sees as an advantage is ground clearance. The new X-Class will offer about a 3/4 inch higher suspension option for Europe while other countries this increase will be standard. With the higher ride height, Mercedes sees this a safer and sharper off-road styling for its truck owners. Mercedes says it did not give up any handling with the ride increase.
It will come with the full gamut of safety technology found in other vehicles and will be the first mid-size truck (overseas) to feature an integrated SIM card allowing a truck owner to use the Mercedes me connect services and sync to your smartphone.
“The segment for mid-size pickups is ripe for a premium vehicle. With the X-Class we will open up this segment to new customer groups, just as we redefined the off-road segment with the M-Class more than 20 years ago. Our pickup convinces as a workhorse, yet also as a family and lifestyle vehicle. In short, the X-Class is the Mercedes among pickups.” Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The new 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class will be available in Germany starting in November with a starting MSRP of approximately $43,114. Then, it will debut in South Africa and Australia in early 2018. Finally, Argentina and Brazil will see the truck in early 2019. It isn’t currently in the plans to come to the U.S., but the questions surrounding its U.S. availability will undoubtedly dog executives for the next few years.