The All New Mercedes-Benz

Tourism Tattler - - CONTENTS - By Des Langk­ilde.

Mercedes-Benz never does things in half mea­sure. In keep­ing with the brands’ pres­tige im­age, the launch of their new X-Class – a contender in the up­per-end of the South African dou­ble-cab bakkie seg­ment – was a two-day ex­trav­a­ganza of epic pro­por­tions. Like the ve­hi­cle it­self, the launch was metic­u­lously re­searched and pur­pose con­structed, from the venue in the midst of a re­cently cleared swath of com­mer­cial for­est on Lou­vain Guest Farm near Ge­orge to the boma en­clo­sure with 3-me­tre high gate, the X-Vil­lage ‘glamping’ site, and the de­lec­ta­ble cui­sine pre­pared by the cel­e­brated South African Chef, Ber­tus Bas­son.

The Mercedes-Benz “X-pe­ri­ence” set out to con­vince guests that the X-Class would ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions both on and off the road. To prove their point, an ob­sta­cle course aptly demon­strated the elec­tronic switch from rear-wheel drive to 4MATIC and “Low” all-wheel mode by ac­ti­vat­ing the au­to­matic low-range gear­box and the dif­fer­en­tial lock on the rear axle. In fact, on steep de­scents, the ve­hi­cle takes over from the driver to bet­ter con­trol for­ward and lat­eral slid­ing.

The X-Class’s high lat­eral dy­nam­ics and multi-link wheel sus­pen­sion with coil springs on the rear axle proved that this bakkie can han­dle Cam­bre an­gles of up to 49.8o, while its 222mm ground clear­ance can han­dle don­gas and rocky ter­rain withe ease. A 4x4 trail, cho­sen along a sel­dom-used scenic ox wagon route over the Outeni­qua Moun­tains proved that the X-Class pro­vides lux­ury com­fort over the rough­est of ter­rain.

In ad­di­tion to voice con­trol, the tablet style screen is con­trolled from the clev­erly de­signed touch­pad unit sit­u­ated be­tween the front seats, which pro­vides a host of fea­tures in­clud­ing in­fo­tain­ment, nav­i­ga­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Unique fea­tures in­clude 360° cam­eras, which show the area sur­round­ing the ve­hi­cle – both from a bird’s-eye view and from be­low the win­dow line. Rather handy for off-road driv­ing, al­though I found the vi­su­als to be dis­con­cert­ing as dig­i­tal rocks and pot­holes look more se­vere than they re­ally are.

The LED head­lights pro­vide ex­cel­lent vis­i­bil­ity with an im­proved il­lu­mi­na­tion of the road ahead when com­pared to con­ven­tional halo­gen head­lamps. The back-end of the X-Class dou­ble-cab bakkie comes with a range of ac­ces­sories for cov­er­ing the bin, in­clud­ing a must-have moulded plas­tic bed liner, colour matched canopy, hard­cover with au­to­matic LED light­ing, wa­ter­re­pel­lent soft cover, or an alu­minium roll-over cover. Over­all, Mercedes-Benz has come up with a win­ner – off-road dura­bil­ity com­bined with com­fort and style.

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