Pow­er­ful Ger­man flag­ship will come with a hefty price tag

FU­TURE MOD­ELS

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mark Smyth

In his road test of the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class bakkie, Ler­ato crit­i­cised what he called the model’s “ex­or­bi­tant ask­ing price”.

Ler­ato has not been alone in that crit­i­cism which begs the ques­tion just how much the Stuttgart brand will ask for its X350d when it goes on sale in SA. At the mo­ment Mercedes SA says it can­not pro­vide a price, although to give you some idea, in Europe it will start at €53,360 (R888,977) and in the UK it starts at about £46,020 (R848,608), both prices in­clud­ing VAT. Given our im­port du­ties and the al­ready hefty price on the reg­u­lar X-Class, could we be look­ing at the first R1m bakkie?

What will you get for that mil­lion? Well, the X350d 4Matic is the flag­ship of the range, with a 3.0l V6 tur­bod­iesel un­der the bon­net that pro­duces 190kW and 550Nm, the lat­ter avail­able be­tween 1,400 and 3,200r/min. The firm is claim­ing a 0100km/h time of 7.5 sec­onds but more im­por­tantly an av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure of 9.0l/100km. It will have a 7GTronic Plus auto gear­box and 4Matic all-wheel drive.

It will also have a Nanoslide cylin­der liner coat­ing, which is the same as that used in For­mula 1. Who doesn’t love a ten­u­ous at­tempt to con­nect For­mula 1 with a diesel bakkie?

What it will also have is the brand’s Dy­namic Se­lect sys­tem which will pro­vide five dif­fer­ent driv­ing modes. These in­clude Com­fort, Eco, Sport, Man­ual (yes, the X350d will have pad­dle-shifters) and Off-road.

It is all go­ing to be­come a bit of a bat­tle of the power with the new X350d ar­riv­ing around the same time as the up­graded 190kW Volk­swa­gen Amarok V6. Then the Ford Ranger Rap­tor will ar­rive in 2019, al­beit with nowhere enough power to take on its Ger­man ri­vals, but Ford is claim­ing more us­able power off-road and that could make the fight rather in­ter­est­ing.

Left: The X350d will add some V6 mus­cle to the line-up. Below: The X350d will go on sale in SA around the end of Oc­to­ber 2018.

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