Mercedes-Benz has finally pulled the covers off its X-Class bakkie. Based closely on the new-generation Nissan Navara, the X-Class is going up against the tried-and-tested Volkswagen Amarok, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. Yeah, no pressure. Yet Mercedes-Benz is confident that their new pick-up’s premium feel, extensive scope for customer customisation and true off-road capabilities will find favor with brand-conscious buyers looking to break away from the norm.
Set for release pretty much all over the world, the new X-Class will arrive on our South African shores in the beginning of 2018. At launch there will be two turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine derivatives on offer: the 120kW/403Nm X220d and the 140kW/450Nm X250d. Want a V6? Well then you’ll have to wait until later on in the year when the 190kW/550Nm X350d joins the fray.
While the X220d makes do with a six-speed manual gearbox the X250d has the option of a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard but both models can be ordered with the company’s “engageable” 4MATIC all-wheel drive system that includes low-range gearing plus the option of a rear differential lock – a must-have if you’re a regular off-roader. Later in 2018 a permanent all-wheel-drive system will come to market.
Three trim levels will be available at launch: utilitarian Pure, mid-level Progressive and über-luxurious Power. All feature a 1.1-ton payload and 3.5-ton towing capacity plus full illumination of the cargo area as standard (apparently a first in this segment). Pricing? Well as to be expected local pricing is yet to be confirmed. Although in Europe the base model X-Class will start at €37 294 – or roughly R555 680 before taxes and import duties. Suffice to say that the X-Class most people will want ain’t going to come cheap. Will they be willing to pay the price? Time will tell. – Thomas Falkiner