Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new pickup truck—the first from a premium manufacturer—the X-Class. There are three design and equipment variants to choose from as well as four- or six-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and engageable or permanent all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The market launch in Europe is scheduled for November 2017. At the beginning of 2018 South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will follow, and at the beginning of 2019 Argentina and Brazil.
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
Mercedes-Benz developed the X-Class with the changing requirements of the international pickup markets in mind. 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 number of pickups for private use is increasing—they are no longer viewed purely as workhorses.
Mercedes-Benz is taking these changes into account—based on its experience and competence in developing commercial and off-road vehicles, such as the Unimog and the G-Class for tough operation; vehicles which are equally suitable for work or leisure, such as the V-Class and Vito; and luxury passenger cars.
The pickup is being manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the markets in Europe, Australia and South Africa 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 from 2019.
With the pickup, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are expanding their strategic cooperation which began seven years ago. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the high-growth segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups with a payload of one tonne in the world, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
Engines. At market launch, there are two four-cylinder engines. The high-torque common-rail diesel drive system with a displacement of 2.3 liters 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 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. Due to very specific market requirements, for example in Dubai and Morocco, the 122 kW/165 hp X 200 gasoline model is only available as a left-hand drive vehicle with rear wheel drive.
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 N·m.
With that the X 350 d occupies a 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.
Mercedes-Benz offers the DYNAMIC SELECT system in conjunction with 7G-TRONIC PLUS and the V6 diesel engine. 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 from which to choose. These modify the engine characteristics, the automatic transmission’s switching points and the ECO start/stop function:
Comfort (C): This program is activated automatically when the engine is started. It provides a comfort-emphasising, harmonious accelerator characteristic as well as early switching points. The ECO start/stop function is activated.
ECO (E): 7G-TRONIC PLUS changes drive ranges at particularly low engine speeds. When the vehicle is stopped at a traffic light or in a traffic jam, the ECO start/stop function is activated.
Sport (S): The engine responds more immediately when accelerating. The automatic transmission makes use of the entire engine speed range to change gears, and shifts faster. The ECO start/stop function continues to be active.
Manual (M): The automatic transmission can be operated by hand using the gearshift paddles on the steering wheel. This considerably shortens the shifting times compared with the Comfort and ECO programs. The ECO start/stop function continues to be active.
Offroad (O): This program is suitable for driving on challenging terrain. It offers higher switching points and a flatter, and therefore more precisely adjustable, accelerator characteristic curve. The ECO start/stop function is deactivated.
The DYNAMIC SELECT switch is located in the central control panel on the center console. The selected program is shown as a status on the instrument cluster’s multifunction display. When the program is changed, the selected program appears for a short time as a pop-up window in the display.
4MATIC all-wheel drive. Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive is available on the X 220 d 4MATIC and X 250 d 4MATIC diesel models. 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.
Connectivity. The X-Class is the first mid-size pickup to feature a communications module with an integrated SIM card. This makes it possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services and to access the vehicle by smartphone. Thus X-Class drivers in 21 European markets can, for example, call up useful information such as fuel level and tire pressure, and find out the X-Class’ location when it is parked or being driven by someone else. In addition, with the Mercedes me app complete door-to-door navigation is possible. Further Mercedes me connect services include the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system and the standard services Breakdown Management, Accident Recovery and Maintenance Management as well as Remote Vehicle Diagnostics.
In addition to this, control and display systems—that have already been used successfully in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series—are being introduced in the mid-size pickup segment for the first time: these include the multifunction touchpad and fully integrated COMAND Online multimedia system with hard-disk navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice control and internet access via smartphone. Other than COMAND Online, the proven Audio 20 USB and Audio 20 CD audio systems are also available.
Live Traffic Information. Transferring traffic information in real time is a further highlight of intelligent connectivity thanks to the communications module and integrated SIM card. In conjunction with an account in the Mercedes me portal, and within Europe, the COMAND Online navigation system can show the beginning and length of a traffic jam on a map to within 100 meters 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 likewise available as an option.
Markets. The X-Class is aimed at very different customer groups: 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.
The X-Class PURE basic variant is ideal for rugged, functional use.
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 design and equipment line. It is aimed at customers for whom styling, performance and comfort are paramount.
The Mercedes-Benz pickup is available in Germany from €37,294 (US$43,129) (incl. 19% VAT). Further market-specific prices will be made known successively.