Merc ute – refined on-road capable off-road
MERCEDES-BENZ SAYS IT’S FIRST-EVER ute, the X-class, is designed to be a premium pick-up with refined on-road performance and the ability to more than foot it in the rough.
It uses Renault-developed 2.3-litre fourcylinder turbodiesel engines or – in the range-topping Power model – a 3.0-litre turbodiesel that develops 190kw and 550Nm.
The power eclipses the Volkswagen Amarok V6’s 165kw and the torque is identical.
Mercedes fast-tracked its entry into the pick-up market by calling on its strategic cooperation with the Renault-nissan Alliance that began seven years ago.
It used the Nissan Navara ute as the basis for the X-class, but says the roof is the only body panel the X-class shares with the Navara
The X-class has wider front and rear track than the Nissan, and Mercedes also says it reworked the Navara’s suspension, though it has retained the all coil-spring layout.
The X-class is a five-seat, four-door double cab with a separate chassis, and is part of the Mercedes-benz Vans line-up.
Mercedes says it’s designed to close the gap between commercial vehicles and passenger cars, and Mercedes Vans’ head, Volker Morningweg, says “it’s the right time to launch a premium pick-up.”
Target models during the X-class’ development, though neither is a “premium” ute, were the Toyota Hilux mid-sized ute and the American Ford F150 full-sized pick-up
“We investigated both of these,” says Morningweg. “We’re new to this segment... Our clear target was excellent refinement – this is more a lifestyle-oriented pick-up. It’s not a basic workhorse.”
The ute goes on sale in Europe this November and will come here and to Australia and South Africa early next year.
Mercedes says it has designed the X-class to be versatile, able to be used as a rugged, all-terrain pick-up and as a vehicle for urban lifestyles and families.
It says the truck is true to Mercedes-benz’s values of driving dynamics, comfort, design, safety, connectivity and an extensive scope for individualisation.
Mercedes says the X-class’ 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.”
Like the Navara on which it is based, the X-class has coil spring suspension front and rear – double wishbones at the front, and a multi-link set-up at the rear.
The X-class has a wide track with 1632mm at the front and 1625mm at the rear for enhanced driving stability and higher cornering speeds.
Mercedes says the 3150mm wheelbase reduces vibrations and ensures straight-line stability.
Ventilated disc brakes are fitted front and rear. Front disc rotors are 320mm and the rears are 300.8mm.
New Zealand market X-classes will have a 222mm ground clearance, giving the ute a higher ride and better off-road performance. In European markets, the ground clearance is 202mm.
Mercedes says that despite the high ride height, NZ market X-class utes will have the “safe and comfortable handling typical of a Mercedes.”
The X-class has a stream fording depth of 600mm, and NZ market versions will have off-road approach and departure angles of 30.1 degrees and 25.9 degrees. Maximum tilt is 49.8 degrees, and the ramp break-over angle is 22 degrees.
Mercedes says safety is an important part of the X-class. It has a high-strength passenger cell, seven airbags and the i-size attachment system for two child seats. Driver and front passenger frontal airbags have a two-stage, deferred triggering mechanism. Active safety includes three driver assistance systems: Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist.
X-classes also have Trailer Stability
Assist, a tyre pressure-monitoring system, an emergency call system, cruise-control and LED headlights.
The range consists of three design and equipment variants, four- or six-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and selectable or permanent four-wheel drive, and six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes.
Underpinning the X-class is a laddertype frame, a multi-link solid rear axle and independent front suspension.
The three X-class model variants have been designed to suit different lifestyles and work environments.
The range opens with the workhorseoriented Pure which has been designed to be rugged and functional yet can double as a family vehicle.
The mid-range Progressive is aimed at people “seeking a rugged pick-up with extra styling and comfort…a calling card for their own business, while also being a comfortable yet prestigious vehicle for private use.”
The high-end Power tops the line-up and is aimed at the lifestyle market, with high levels of luxury without compromising its off-road capabilities.
“It is aimed at customers for whom styling, performance and comfort are paramount,” says Mercedes.
There’s a choice of nine exterior colours and a range of 17-, 18- or 19-inch wheels to choose from across the three models.
The X-class Pure’s standard wheels are 17-inch steel. Standard on the Progressive are 17-inch six-spoke alloys finished in vanadium silver, and the Power runs on 18-inch 12-spoke Himalayas grey alloys as standard.
The X-class can haul a 1.1 tonne payload in its cargo tray – enough, says Mercedes, to transport 17 full 50-litre barrels of beer.
It can tow up to 3.5 tonnes, and can pull a trailer containing an eight-metre yacht or three horses.
The cargo bed has standard lighting and is wide enough for a Euro-pallet to be loaded straight between the wheelarches.
Inside the cabin, the instrument panel has the concave form typical of a Mercedes, and stretches across the entire width of the instrument panel.
Power buyers can choose from three trim variants: a pixelated look in matt black, an aluminium effect with longitudinal grain and a brown matt woodgrain.
Mercedes is offering six seat upholstery choices, including two leather variants with contrasting top-stitching.
The X-class Pure’s seats are upholstered with black Tunja fabric, with black man-made leather as an option.
The comfort seats in the Progressive variant are covered in black posadas fabric. Artico man-made leather/dinamica microfibre in black is an option.
Black Artico man-made leather/dinamica microfibre with contrasting top-stitching in alpaca grey is standard on the Power model.
Black leather with alpaca grey top-stitching or nut brown leather with black top-stitching are available options.
Above: Mercedes says X-class will be capable on-road or riding the off-road rocks. Below: X-class on shepherding duties in this promotional shot.
Left top: X-class will be able to fit a Euro pallet between its wheelarches.Left: Mercedes has developed a range of accessories – like the black sports bar on this Progressive – for the X-class.Right: Dashboard design is pure Mercedes, borrowing from the company’s luxury cars.