Mercedes-Benz Unveils 2016 Concept X-Class Pickup TruckAuto News
Mercedes-Benz Vans – the division mostly responsible the firm’s load-hauler Sprinter and Metris models, has stunned the world with its super snazzy Concept X-Class medium-sized pickup truck, seen for the first time in the flesh at the introduction in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class aims to package the style, and premium appointments synonymous with the Tri-Star badge with the rugged and functional capability of a truck, whether on or off the road.
This is characterized, in the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the two design variants of the Concept X-Class:
The Stylish Explorer – distinguishes the key attributes of design, presence, and engineering that is commonly associated with the Mercedes-Benz logo.
Exterior: Painted in white metallic, to make a stylish statement in its segment and in the urban environment. The athletic design lends the concept a dynamic appearance. The distinctive front features an imposing power dome on the bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. 22-inch light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish dress up the flanks while running boards are integrated into the bodywork. The rear of both concept cars sports chromed SUV trim at the lower edge and a continuous LED light strip in a slim chrome surround on the tailgate.
Interior: The interior will be appointed with brown, natural Nubuck leather on the seats, which is also found on the dashboard, combined with white Nappa leather elsewhere in the cabin. The trim is made of open-pore smoked oak and contrasts with the brushed and polished aluminum trim elements.
The Powerful Adventurer – illustrates that the future X-Class will possess all the strengths of a classic pickup – tough, functional, and strong off-road capability.
Exterior: It towers at a height of 1.90 meters. Large 35-inch wheels contribute to a huge ground clearance. The marque's signature two louvre grille, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches underscore its off-road credentials. An electric winch is installed at the front and the car is finished in a Lemonax metallic exterior paint finish.
Interior: The outside is paired glossy black Nappa leather and the use of carbon-style black embossed leather surfaces on the inside. The seat side bolsters are trimmed with black leather that offers extremely good grip and support during off-road driving.
Customers of the X-Class will be able to choose from different equipment packages to customise the exterior and interior. In addition, Mercedes-Benz also plans to develop a special range of accessories for the X-Class pickup, for example, bed covers and various styling elements.
The five-seater 1-ton pickup truck will expand Mercedes-Benz Vans’ product range with a fourth model series, and on the same trot, Mercedes-Benz will become the first premium manufacturer to occupy the promising segment of mid-size pickups.
Daimler AG claims investments of “high nine figures” (euro) have been spent on development and have announced a late 2017 launch date. The X-Class’ key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe. But whilst the X-Class rides on the Nissan Navara NP300 platform, Mercedes-Benz seems to have spent its savings on development costs on making the X-Class more luxurious and refined.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars commented during the launch "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.”
Mercedes-Benz has yet to confirm major details of the drivetrain but has stated the top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel mated to a 4-Matic permanent all-wheel drive system. A host of smaller inline-four diesel and petrol units may follow for different markets.
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.
Mercedes-Benz claims the X-Class' drivetrain will allow a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons. At the same time, the specially constructed suspension with wide axles, a five-link rear axle with coil springs and damper set-up will ensure good ride comfort and off-road usability.
Granted, there are a plethora of petrol and diesel powertrain options at Daimler AG’s disposal, however, given that the X-Class is a product of Mercedes-Benz Vans' division, it could even borrow the underpinnings from the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 commercial van.
The Sprinter 4x4 also boasts a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine outputting 440Nm which is mated to an on-demand 4x4 transmission. The Sprinter's raised chassis architecture also allows for a 610mm wading depth - suitable for a pickup truck.
The X-Class is borne out of a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance group and hence, could alternatively utilize powertrains from the Nissan-Renault Alliance for certain markets. Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017, while production for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.
Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans added "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.”