The Nissan Navara-based Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class was revealed overnight in Sweden, with Australian deliveries expected to begin in 2018.

THE MERCEDES-BENZ Concept X-Class was revealed overnight in two variants, being road, or ‘stylish explorer’ (white) and rough-road oriented, or ‘powerful adventurer’ (eye-burning yellow). Based on the Nissan NP300 Navara, “The X-Class will be a true Mercedes from the hallmark brand design and comfort to the 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, and it will make the tough one-ton pickup with seating for up to five persons the first to be attractive as an urban lifestyle and family vehicle,” the German car maker said in a statement. That might be a bit of a stretch, has it not noticed the top-spec VW Amarok, Ford Ranger and rivals…

Mercedes announced last night the X-Class (which is the ute’s official name) will go on-sale in late 2017 with key markets being Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and Europe.

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.”

“We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world’s first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle”, said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

“Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before.”

According to Mercedes-Benz, its concept designs are intended to show how seriously the brand is taking its entry into the work and play dual-cab ute segment. “The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, painted in a cool elegant white metallic, impressively demonstrates how the Mercedes-Benz pickup will make a decidedly stylish statement in its segment and in the urban environment,” Mercedes-Benz said.

The car maker claims the front end of the X-Class ‘stylish explorer’ is an evolution of the “hallmark SUV face of the brand”

“The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use,” Mercedes-Benz said. But the 22-inch alloys on the concept won’t be great off-road.

Mercedes said its other concept X-Class, the ‘powerful adventurer’ “focuses on the classic traits of a pickup”.

The brand’s hallmark SUV radiator grille with two louvres, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches additionally underscore the superior off-road aesthetics. An electric winch at the front and a metal hook at the rear are further indications of the toughness and power of the future pickup”.

On the inside, we can expect to see bits and pieces from both V- and C-Class from the infotainment unit to the seats. Mercedes has said it will develop its own range of accessories for the X-Class.

The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. “The traction system and the electrically operated on-demand differential locks channel the power to where traction is best. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked. This will make it possible to safely master difficult obstacles and inclines,” Mercedes-Benz said.

The X-Class will also be offered with a suite of Mercedes-Benz safety systems, while the brand has promised the X-Class will deliver excellent driving dynamics. It didn’t reveal much about what its changed with the Nissan NP300  Navara borrowed suspension beyond saying it would get a bespoke damper tune and that steering would be “precise”.

Australian delivered vehicles will begin production in late 2017 (along with vehicles for Europe and South African markets) at the Nissan factory in Spain, cars for Brazil will be built in Renault’s Cordoba (Argentina) plant in 2018.

Question: Will the X-Class just be a tarted up and expensive version of the Nissan NP300 Navara?


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