As the first vehicle of its kind from Mercedes-Benz, the X-Class has been developed by the brand’s commercial vehicles division, also responsible for the Vito and Sprinter vans, but is pitched as the world’s first “premium pickup” although work-focussed variants will also be available.
The range itself will comprise of three models wearing Pure, Progressive, and Power designations, with a choice of three diesel engines on offer, starting with a 2.3-litre 120kW/403Nm four-cylinder single-turbo diesel in the X220d, a 140Kw/450Nm twin-turbo version in the X250d, or the flagship 190kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel X350d.
Overseas buyers will have access to a 120kW four-cylinder petrol engine that Australia will miss out on, and buyers hoping for a high-performance AMG model will be disappointed to learn that Mercedes-AMG has no plans of fettling the X-Class, with Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles chief Volker Mornhinweg telling Australian media "I think the product is not right for a V8... So far we have decided nothing in that direction"
Unlike most other utes in its class the X-Class won’t offer a choice of body styles, with no view to adding a single cab or extra cab version. Four-cylinder models will be available with a choice of two and four wheel drive, with a selectable system 4x4 on four-cylinder models, and permanent four wheel drive as standard on the V6 - both four wheel drive systems feature low range gears and a rear diff lock is also available.
Although Mercedes-Benz isn’t keen to point it out, the X-Class has been developed through the German company’s alliance with Nissan, utilising the Navara’s chassis as a starting point, but with Mercedes-developed changes resulting in wider front a rear tracks, a unique rear axle, and Mercedes-developed suspension components.
From the outside every panel except the roof is unique resulting in wider front a rear guards, with more sculpted exterior surfaces, unique lights front and rear, and styling themes for the grille and front bumper that have been adapted from Mercedes’ SUV range.
A range of nine exterior colours will be available, with wheels ranging from 17-inch steel rims in the Pure to 18 and 19-inch alloy wheels on the Progressive and Power respectively. Other range specific details include a black grille and bumpers on the the Pure with a silver grille and body coloured bumpers on the Progressive and added chrome on the Power, including the front apron and rear bumper.
X-Class four-cylinder engines are lifted from Nissan’s ute, though the V6 is Mercedes’ own. Transmission choices extend to six speed manual on X220d and X250d, an optional seven-speed automatic for the X250d or a standard seven-speed auto for the X350d.
In terms of interior design and available technology, the X-Class looks much more like a Mercedes-Benz than its donor vehicle, with a full range of infotainment and safety systems lifted from other Benz models.
Safety systems include lane Active Braking Assist which combines forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Sign Assist to monitor speed signs and other traffic signs, a reversing camera or 360 degree camera system, tyre pressure warning, trailer stability control, and seven airbags.
The X-Class will also be available with Mercedes’ Comand infotainment system as seen in its passenger vehicle range, with an available 8.4-inch screen and console-mounted rotary and touch controller, a range of online services, compatible smartphone app, voice control, and inbuilt hard disc media storage, with lesser models getting a 7.0-inch display.
On the inside Mercedes-Benz has paid careful attention to giving the X-Class a unique identity. A the South African launch only the top-spec Power model was available to look at, but it's clear that Mercedes has worked as much prestige into the interior as possible.
The layout is clearly derived from the passenger car range, with turbine style air vents, a stitched dash, leather trim, powered seats, climate control, and a huge aluminium-look panel adorning the dash to go with ‘galvanised’ interior highlights on the vents, infotainment surrounds, and door pulls.
Door cards and seats are also unique to Mercedes. The Power’s stitched and padded dash and doors won’t be seen on lower-spec models and the work-ready Pure model will feature a vinyl floor covering and less interior brightwork to make it more resilient to the rigours expected of a work ute.
Mercedes-Benz claim the X-Class offers the widest range of trim selections in its segment, with a choice of black or grey headlining, six different seat cover trims (depending on specification) including fabric, Artico man-made leather and Dinamica microfibre, or a choice of black or nut brown real leather.
In Europe the X-Class will feature 202mm of ground clearance, through Australian-bound cars will add an extra 20mm of clearance, with a wading depth of up to 600mm. The payload will be as high as 1092kg (depending on specification), with a 3500kg towing capacity.
Dimensions of the X-Class see it measure 5340mm in length, with a 3150mm wheelbase, 1920mm wide, 1819mm high (in European spec) with a 1587mm tray length, and 1560mm tray width.
Accessories will also play an important role for the X-Class with Mercedes developing its own in-house range instead of leaving things like side-steps, hard and soft tonneau covers, rear canopy, and bullbars up to third-party suppliers. A tub liner, rear tie-down rails, towbar, and rear sports bar will also be available (as shown above).
Pricing in Europe is set to start from €37,294 (A$54,400) with sales set to start in November this year. Mercedes-Benz is yet to reveal Australian pricing with further details expected before the X220d and X250d launch in early 2018, with the X350d to follow later in the year.