MERCEDES-BENZ wowed us last month when it unveiled its two X-Class concept vehicles in Sweden.
The two vehicles were strikingly different: one stylish and urban chic, while the one that excited us most was rough and off-road ready with winch and mud-terrain tyres. But what will the production X-Class look like when it lands in 2018?
Mercedes-Benz executives on hand at last month’s unveiling hinted the production model will be very similar to what we see in the white concept dubbed ‘Stylish’.
Take away the full surround tail-light treatment, imagine more conventional LED lights at each side of the rear and pull a bit of depth out of the front bumper, and you will be pretty close to what we’ll see in Mercedes-Benz showrooms here in Australia.
The grille, headlights and budging bonnet are all set to appear on the new model, as is the passenger compartment which is carried over from the donor Nissan Navara.
Unfortunately, you can forget about the 35-inch Silverstone muddies mounted to steelies, as well as front and rear winches on the ‘Powerful’ concept. Wheel choice could extend from 16- or 17-inch rims right up to the 22-inch rollers on the white concept, but as with all new cars the tyres will be highway rated.
The interior is a mix of Mercedes-Benz parts taken from C and V-class vehicles, and if you dial back the bling and fancy trims of the concepts it will be close to what is shown in them, including the latest in-car communications and connectivity devices. Make no mistake, despite its Nissan roots, the X-Class will look, feel like and be a true Mercedes inside and out.
The MB feeling will be best experienced in the top of the range variants, which will feature a Mercedes-Benz V6 diesel engine producing around 600Nm, backed by an automatic transmission and full-time, dual range four-wheel drive with a locking centre and rear differentials. This driveline package should make the X-Class the on- and off-road performance king of the one-tonne ute market.
There will be lower spec X-Class models available powered by the Renault-Nissan 2.3-litre bi-turbo engine, as found in the Navara, with a choice of manual or auto gearboxes and part-time four-wheel drive. There will also be two-wheel drive variants available. The X-Class will be double-cab body, only at release.
The big question that remains is how much? And while the Benz execs refused to reveal anything on this front, you can expect the X-Class to be at the top of the segment here as well, with the V6 reaching into the $80,000 bracket and the lesser grades below that.
Only Volkswagen’s new TDI V6 Amarok will come close in price and performance in the foreseeable future, but higher spec and price ute variants from both Toyota and Ford are tipped to arrive at some time, too. Exciting times ahead at the crest of the 4x4 ute market.
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