In this cut throat automotive world, automakers gotta do what they have do to survive. Even luxury segment is not spared. I mean, surely they can’t depend on the sales of handful of sports coupe to keep their shareholders happy. It is all about growth and growth means reaching into every nook and cranny of the market. Mercedes-Benz already did, having dabble in both private and commercial vehicles, but there’s still something missing from the luxury automaker’s portfolio: a pickup truck. Well, that’s until today when the Stuttgart-based luxury automobile maker unveiled a new pickup truck bearing the three-pointed star, called Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class.
Not surprisingly, the front end bears uncanny resemblance to today’s Mercedes rides – the current (and to be honest, overused) design language, but the resemblance ends after the A pillar. From there on, you will find a double cab configuration, followed by a short bed, and boy, it does look pretty classy. Probably not something you will consider as a workhorse, or may it is. Anywho, what’s the rationale behind this mid-size pickup? Well, simple: shift of consumer’ needs as explained in the official PR text:
“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 three-pointed star pickup truck will go under the wing of Mercedes-Benz Vans and yes, it may be a concept at this point but it will be realized in late 2017 with sight set on countries including Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. No words if it will be skipping across the pond to stateside. It will be odd if it doesn’t cos’ U.S. is a country huge on pickup truck consumption. Ok, maybe not in the lifestyle aspect. Technically, the X-Class is upon a “tough ladder-type frame” with the range-topping model to flaunt a V6 diesel motor, paired to a 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. Here’s the tidbit:
“The high-torque engine will provide high driving dynamics on the road and off the road. 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.”
The X-Class will have over 1.1 ton of payload and 3.5 tons in towing capacity. While it is designed to be tough, torquey and all, but being a Mercedes-Benz, comfort and luxury are quintessentials and are addressed by special suspension setup and an exemplary cabin which you will find a mix of leather, aluminum and wood accents amongst a high-tech instrumentation-equipped dash.
Production for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is slated to start in 2017 at Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, for EU, Australia and South Africa markets, while Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina will roll out X-Class destined for Latin American market in early 2018. As Mercedes-Benz is leveraging on its alliance with Renault-Nissan, there’s worry that Mercedes-Benz lacks the pickup truck experience or whatsoever – that’s if you have any doubt if the three-pointed star marque’s ability to put together one hell of a truck. We can’t wait to see how the actual pickup truck will turn out.
Images courtesy of Daimler AG.