What do you do if you have a lot of money and need a fancy ride to flaunt it? You buy a luxury vehicle from one of the German trinity, of course. But what happens if you also need to carry 17 full 50-Litre barrels of beer in the boot of your car? Hey, don’t ask us why – we can’t even relate to the part where you have a lot of money! To crack open a cold one with the boys later, perhaps? Anyway, now Mercedes claims to have you covered with this big boy, the X-Class.
Benz recognizes that the market and demand for mid-size pick-ups that offer car like features and luxury is on the rise. The X-Class is Mercedes’ attempt to crack the pick-up market and is the first such product by a premium manufacturer. Merc says that they have taken genes from across their product range – off-roading prowess from the G-Class and the Unimog, workhorses like the Vito and the V-Class and the luxurious sedans – to build the X.
We must admit, of all the fancy words that Mercedes has used to describe the X, we most certainly agree that it feels properly imposing. It carries the familiar design from the other SUVs of the family. The twin-slat grille with the big star logo in the centre, the powerful creases on the bonnet and the wrap-around headlamps are distinctly reminiscent of the GL-Class.
Move to the side and you would be impressed by the sheer size of the vehicle. The short front haunches, long wheelbase and large rear overhangs grant it an elongated look. The kink in the beltline is one of the few curves on what is other-wise a very clean side profile with crisp, clean curves and lines.
The rear, again is very simplistic and dare I say, utilitarian in its approach. You get simple vertical tail-lamps with a neat inset Mercedes logo at the center of the large rear hatch. The hatch drops horizontal to facilitate easy loading and if you opt to take your X-Class without the rear bumper, it can even drop down vertically. An integral foot step is also a part of the standard fitment.
The interiors, however, carry the design flair that you expect from a Mercedes of today. The centre features four circular air vents which underline a prominent free-standing IPS COMAND display. The multifunction steering wheel with as many as 12 buttons and touch-pads to control COMAND, sits in front of an analogue instrument cluster. The infotainment system will also feature hard-disk navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice control and internet access via smartphone. It can even work with the Garmin MAP PILOT system to deliver live-time traffic updates.
Engine options would come in the form of two four-cylinder 2.3 L diesels, the single-turbo 220D that produces 163 BHP and the bi-turbo 250D that puts out 190 BHP with rear-wheel drive and engageable all-wheel drive. Dubai and Morocco will also get the X200 petrol variant that sends 165 BHP to the rear wheels. A six-speed manual features as standard and buyers can opt for a 7-speed automatic on the X250D.
Mercedes will also release a flagship X350D V6 that puts out 258 BHP and a massive 550 Nm of torque. It will come with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS auto-box and a permanent 4-MATIC all-wheel drive system as standard. It will also get the Dynamic Select system will allow users to cycle between five modes – Comfort, Eco, Sport, Manual and Off-road and will accordingly vary the engine maps, transmission shift points and start stop functionality.
Benz will offer the X-Class in three trims – Pure, Progressive and Power, each with a different intended user-base. The Pure trim (the black X in our images) will be the most utilitarian mountain goat for rugged use. The Progressive (the green one) trim adds certain features to improve the styling and comfort. The Power variant (the white SUV) is the out-right luxury trim for customers looking for a proper lifestyle vehicle. We break down Merc’s fancy gibberish for you.
The Pure trim is the bare-bones model with body-coloured bumpers, 17-inch steel wheels and black door handles. The Progressive trim adds 18-inch alloys and paints all trim in the body colour. The top-end Power slaps on chrome front and rear underbody guards, chrome door handles and 19-inch alloys. Inside, the Pure trim gets fabric upholstery with silver surrounds for the HVAC vents. The Progressive and Power trims add decorative silver trims with chrome inserts around the cabin. But while Progressive makes do with fabric seats, the Power trim gets electrically adjustable ARTICO Leather seats with contrast top-stitching.
The X is as much about practicality as it is about luxury. The rear loading bay can take up to 1.1 tonnes of cargo and has been conveniently designed so as to fit in a European sized pallet in between the wheel arches. It can haul up to 3.5 tonnes on a trailer, making it capable to carry your 8-metre yacht or your three horses on a trailer with you. A light for the cargo bay is standard and so is a nifty 12-Volt socket that can power your accessories.
Specially designed Style packages can help buyers make their X-Class more personal, with options to include side-running boards and electrically opening rear window. Other accessories include side bars, soft and hard tonneau covers, roll covers as well as a canopy that makes it look like a full-sized SUV. Additional practical accessories include a bed-liner, bed-divider system, load securing rails and a technical under-guard.
Safety features will include ISOFIX seat mounts, airbags, Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, Trailer Stability Assist, Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems, Emergency Call System, Cruise Control and LED Headlamps. A reversing camera is further assisted by an optional 360-degree camera for aiding users to park this hulking beast.
Mercedes targets to capture different users in different markets – business owners and contractors in Australia, farmers in Argentina, premium buyers in Brazil, trendy individualists in South Africa and Great Britain, as well as adventure-freaks in Germany and New Zealand. Prices start at EUR 37,294 (slightly higher than the E-Class) in Germany while prices in the other nations will be revealed at the time of their launch through 2018-19. We don’t expect to see this big pick-up in India since the market for lifestyle vehicles (especially expensive ones) is, sadly, unlikely to take off any time soon.