Mercedes-Benz is ready to whack a V8 into its new ute - if you ask for it.
It would be the first petrol V8-powered pick-up to hit the market and hinges on customer demand.
Speaking with Drive at the launch of the upcoming X-Class V6, head of X-Class engineering Frank Schumacher said that the brand was not only ready to upgrade its V6 diesel to beat its closest rival the Volkswagen Amarok V6, but would plonk in one of its V8s.
“Yeah, there is always more [power to be extracted from its current engine to beat the Amarok] but that’s if the requirements come from a marketing point of view and if customers want more power – [it’s no different] with other platforms, we react to customers’ wishes,” he said.
“If there will be wishes after the launch of the vehicle that says we need to have V8 then probably we will put in a V8, but that’s always a response on customer request.”
Interestingly, the German brand has all but ruled out an AMG X-Class and Schumacher was slightly dismissive of using the performance arm’s stalwart 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 used in machinery such as the AMG C63. But, mainstream Mercedes models use a de-tuned version of the same motor, like the S560 which produces lower outputs of 335kW and 700Nm.
“We surely can make it happen, it’s just a question of what V8 you want to put in. You can put the six-litre in, yeah, but so far there is no plan.”
Given Mercedes’ penchant for hyper off-roaders like the 6.0-litre V12-powered G 65 it’s not out of the equation, but Schumacher admits it would be in a different market.
“With a V8 you get out of the mid-size pickup but if you look at the market correctly most of the market is focussed on the four-cylinder," he said.
“A ute like that’s a different size of vehicle, it is very limited to the US really - they will have their own market.”
For the immediate future, the X-Class will be complimented by the more powerful 3.0-litre V6 turbo which arrives in Australia late-2018.
Tune in to Drive.com.au this Friday to read our first drive review of the new X-Class V6.