Mercedes-Benz X-Class executive pick-up truck glimpsed at Geneva
Having revealed the X-Class concept last year, the executive pick-up was one of the star attractions at the Geneva Motor Show.
Mercedes-Benz are looking to a market launch in late 2017 ahead of production-ready variants hitting showrooms in 2018.
With this in mind, and with excitement already pretty high, Mercedes-Benz Vans has launched a reservation service for potential UK customers to leave a refundable reservation fee to ensure they are amongst the first to receive the exciting new pickup.
The X-Class will combine the hallmark strengths of a pickup – tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability – with the classic characteristics of a star-branded vehicle – design, comfort, driving dynamics, and safety. This will make Mercedes-Benz the first premium manufacturer to account for the changing customer requirements in the global segment of mid-size pickups.
Available in two styles, the classy looking “Stylish Explorer” shows off the pick-up’s premium feel and luxury refinements while the “Powerful Adventurer” variant showcases its off-road ability.
Having shown concept pictures of the all-new range last year, the X-Class is the closest we’ve seen to a luxury pick-up truck for the European market.
Both models feature a five-seat double cab layout, aimed at creating a dual-use vehicle – one for personal transport, and one for commercial use. From the front, there’s no doubt that this is a Mercedes, and it’s one of the most upmarket pick-ups we’ve seen to date.
Its gaping air intake and high up headlights give it a look that distinguishes it from the rest of the sector, but the front is dominated by Mercedes’ trademark three-pointed star, just in case you weren’t aware of its opulent aspirations.
Things get even more stylish at the rear, where on the “Stylish Explorer” we find a lighting arrangement that encircles the entire tailgate. It’s worth bearing in mind that this is a concept car though, so we think Mercedes will replace this with a more conventional set-up before it goes into production.
If the exterior left you in any doubt as to the pick-up’s manufacturer, clamber inside and those doubts are immediately erased. There’s dashings of dark mahogany wood and leather and, while most pick-ups take their switchgear from commercial vehicles, there’s no doubt that the X-Class uses controls found in only the finest of Mercedes’ car range.
There’s a tablet display at the heart of the dash, while all the vehicle’s functions are controlled through the same touchpad interface we see in other Mercedes. As with its futuristic lights, it’s worth remembering this is still a concept car, so while the X-Class will no doubt be a cut above other pick-ups, production vehicles might not be quite as luxurious.
What’s under the bonnet?
From launch, a range-topping 3.0-litre V6 diesel will be available with an automatic gearbox, and Mercedes promise the engine has been engineered to develop 261bhp and 620Nm of torque.
A permanent all-wheel-drive system will feature in conjunction with an electronically controlled traction system, so expect the X-Class to be a reasonably competent off-roader as well as a fashion statement.
As the X-Class is a ‘world vehicle’ we expect a number of other diesel and petrol engines to be available in some markets, but as of yet there’s no confirmation lowlier units will make their way into European variants.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars said: "With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."
Worldwide the market for mid-size pickups is undergoing a radical change. Gone are the days when they were bought as mere workhorses and instead they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for both private and commercial use and as vehicles for a strictly private use. In the UK this is as a result of company car drivers being able to save thousands in tax thanks to HMRC’s VAT and Benefit-in-Kind tax rules.
As a result, the Mercedes-Benz pickup hopes to bridge the gap between commercial and private and between urban and rural use