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.

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