MEET MERC’S BAKKIE
German automaker unveils its long awaited premium double cab
THE NEXT big step in the gentrification of the once-humble pickup is upon us. Mercedes-Benz pulled the covers off the showroom version of its X-Class at the world launch in Cape Town on Tuesday night and, just as you would expect, its game plan is to offer a posher alternative to one-tonne favourites like the Hilux and Ranger.
Available only as a double cab, and due in South African showrooms in early 2018, the X-Class is based on alliance partner Nissan’s Navara, and is also built in the Japanese carmaker’s Spanish plant, but Mercedes has added its own flavour to the vehicle in many respects, including swankier exterior styling and a unique cabin with plusher trimmings and more features.
And yet the fanciness quotient is variable, with Mercedes offering three trim grades, in the form of Pure (rugged and functional), Progressive (extra style and comfort) and Power, which is just downright lavish.
Like the Navara the X-Class trades the leaf spring rear suspension that you usually find beneath one-tonne bakkies for a smoother-riding coilsprung, multi-link solid axle.
The X-Class will have a braked towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes and the vehicle will be offered with diesel power only in most markets. Initially this will be limited to two versions of the Nissan-sourced 2.3-litre oil burner: a 140kW/450Nm twin-turbo in the X 250d and a 120kW/403Nm single-turbo unit in the X 220d. A small selection of markets, mainly in the Middle East, will also get a 122kW petrol engine option.
Later in 2018 Mercedes will play its best engine card with the introduction of a V6 turbodiesel, rated at 190kW and 550Nm.
The four-cylinder models will be available with rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive as per one-tonne bakkie tradition, with sixspeed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox options, but the V6 will be mated to a more sophisticated permanent all-wheel drive system together with the 7G-Tronic Plus Continues on Page 3