Mercedes-Benz X-Class Concept Makes Its Mark

Posted on Nov 1 2016 - 5:37am by Lisa Chan

In America, pickup trucks often double as large and rugged status symbols, with some buyers caring more about bling than capability. Given this background, it’s easy to see why it seems odd for Mercedes-Benz to launch a premium pickup for Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia, but not North America.

Mercedes-Benz X

While Concept X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara mid-size pickup, much of the truck’s architecture has been altered to fit the flowing Mercedes-Benz bodywork and structural pieces that make it a true Mercedes product. Powering the X-Class will be what Mercedes proclaims to be a class leading turbocharged V-6 diesel, though horsepower and torque figures have not been released.

For its drivetrain, the X-Class uses a permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system coupled to an advanced electronic traction control system. It is equipped with two transfer cases with reduction gears and two locking differentials that help manage torque and traction in off-road situations.

Mercedes-Benz states the pickup will be able to carry a payload of more than 2,400 lbs and tow more than 7,700 lbs. This, according to the company, will all be accomplished while maintaining the ride quality Mercedes-Benz is known for.

“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,” stated Dieter Zetsche, DaimlerAG chairman and head of Mercedes-BenzCars.

The interior is described as a “Stylish Explorer” that is uniquely Mercedes. It appears to use plenty of parts from its corporate siblings, including the GLA and C-Class. The interior space seats five individuals, as Mercedes-Benz wants to attract both luxury consumers and those that need a work truck alike.

The launch of the production X-Class is expected to happen by late next year. Price hasn’t been released yet, but production vehicles will roll out in Europe, Australia, and South Africa first, with Latin America starting later.

As mentioned previously, the X-Class isn’t slated for the United States, in part likely due to the infamous “Chicken Tax,” which levies a 25% tariff on all imported trucks. Mercedes didn’t name a factory, but we’d be surprised if it doesn’t share a production line with the Navara at Nissan’s Barcelona, Spain factory. We won’t rule a change of heart due to strong customer interest (it wouldn’t be the first time for Mercedes — e.g. the G63 6×6 and G500 4×42), but production would likely have to shift to Nissan’s truck plant in Canton, Mississippi or Mercedes’ plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to make economic sense.