The fastest growing market is the ute market – every brand has a new ute, and now, the Mercedes-Benz ute is coming. It has been much heralded and some real information is coming out about the Mercedes-Benz entry into the ute market: the X Class.
“With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X Class will set new standards in a growing segment. We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups, with the world’s first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle.”
The X-Class will feature a ladder-type frame, high-torque, six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive. It will also feature, what Benz is calling, a ‘powerdome’ on the bonnet. Mercedes-Benz reckons it will set new standards in the segment with regard to connected life, thanks to the communication module with on-board SIM card.
Drivers will be able to connect with their ute by smartphone, tablet or PC at any time and from anywhere, for example to send navigation destinations to the vehicle, or find out where it is parked and how much fuel is in the tank.
The ute is based on the chassis and layout of the Nissan Navara, and has been designed as part of a cooperation deal between Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. Production of the new X Class is expected to begin later this year, with Australia slated to be one of the markets with an early introduction of the model.
The top-of-the-line X Class will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. This combines an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked.
The petrol V6 is expected to be rated at 265hp (195kW) and will be putting out 620Nm (457 ft lb) of torque, as the flagship hero engine of the range. The more workaday power plant for the new ute is likely to be a familiar four-cylinder turbo diesel, the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo unit fitted at the top end of the Nissan Navara range and in the Renault Master. That engine is rated at 190hp (140kW) with 450Nm (332 ft lb) of torque available, when fitted in the Navara.