World premiere for a concept. Great train station in the archipelagos in Sweden. Which somehow makes sense, because the Swedes can do stones and trees - and stones and trees look just enough rustic and “down to earth” to present a pick-up. Not just any - the Mercedes among the pick-ups. Raise the curtain, for a very gentle among the tough: the premium pick-up from Stuttgart!
Mercedes-Benz X-Class Concept
Regardless of whether GLT, GLX or X-Class, what Mercedes presented near Stockholm is one of the things that nobody really needs anymore. But probably half of those present would have taken it with them, because it triggers this “I want to have” feeling. No matter how pointless it may be. A premium pick-up class? Honestly. A fantasy of marketing school dropouts, right? Or not. Just a logical consequence. Everyone has SUVs. Everyone wants. And the pick-up? He's just losing his shirt-sleeved image and turning into a lifestyle buddy. Like the station wagon, almost 40 years ago. Of course, that poses a few questions. I'll answer ten of them in this article!
1.) Does this monster really need it?
No. Or is it? The fact is: There are markets where these pick-up vehicles are sold incredibly well. South America, Australia, Russia and also the USA. But so far there has been no real trend towards premium pick-ups. Mercedes-Benz wants to change that and, with the X-Class, establish an offer that arouses new needs. The premiere of the two variants in Stockholm provided a foretaste of this. Both the “golden” and the mother-of-pearl white drew a lot of attention. And yes, we are still talking about concept status when it comes to design, but the direction is clear. Masculine or elegant. Offroad or urban. Hot or cool - and no, we won't say a word about “sensual clarity” at this point. Others already do enough. Of course, a pick-up is not an answer to the questions of modern mobility in highly concentrated urban living environments - but not everyone asks that question. There are markets that need more than one electric smart. And Mercedes-Benz sees itself in the role of being able to provide all the answers. Even if the question has not yet been asked.
2.) Which engines will come?
Mercedes will pack the well-known V6 Diesel in the pick-up. This guarantees reliable technology, enough pressure and acceptable consumption. The fact that it extends the life cycle of the V6 engines a little bit, in the Controlling should be well received. Because it is clear: Mercedes-Benz is just on the threshold of a new generation of engines.
In addition to the 250 + PS strong diesel, there will also be the 2.3 liter Nissan diesel engine. So as an introduction to the premium pick-up class. Priced more attractive, but contradictory to the idea of the premium pick-up, right?
3.) Can the vice also load, or what?
Yes. Up to 1.2 tons of payload should be able to spread out on the platform. These are target values and because Mercedes-Benz relies on independent suspension on the rear axle, the V6 diesel could also end up at 1.05 tons. We will have to wait and see. At the premiere, however, Mercedes-Benz never tire of emphasizing how seriously they take the start. And even if you want to create a new segment - a premium pick-up must also meet the performance values of the mid-size pick-up class. Even without a rustic rigid axle. Let's wait and see - probably only Rotwild mountain bikes, surfboards and now and then a Billy shelf will end up on the loading area of the “X-Class”.
4.) How seriously do you take the all-wheel technology?
Serious. At least the V6 diesel variant will come with an all-wheel drive train from Mercedes-Benz. Two differential locks and a reduction gear included. And with a permanent 4matic all-wheel drive. But - yes - there will also be an “entry-level variant” with an all-wheel drive system from the cooperation partner, in which the rear axle is primarily driven.
5.) Does the Daimler have a competitor?
According to Daimler, the segment is being reinvented. Which is only half the truth, of course. On Volkswagen Amarok with V6 diesel will be in the same price range and should address the same target group. Otherwise, the new X-Class is quite a combination that one otherwise does not know.
The interior of the concept also shows the direction well. A mix of V and C class. A touch of E-Class and an appearance that is well above the usual pick-up experience.
6.) What about the safety of the pick-up?
Of course, Mercedes-Benz insists on stuffing everything on board that you have in your drawers. The safety and assistance systems will be based on the new E-Class. Spacers, blind spot warner and what they call themselves. When it comes to crash safety you will hold your breath for a moment, because the basis for the GLT / GLX / “the X-Class”, the Nissan Navara, only has 4 stars in the EuroNCAP crash test. And 4 stars for a Daimler? The CITAN was already embarrassed - I'm curious to see how things are done here!
7.) Are they doing that just because of the Americans?
Pick-Up = America. No. Funnily enough, when it comes to pick-ups, the US market immediately springs to mind. And yes, in the USA pick-ups are something like the VW Beetle for us after the war. But: In the USA you buy “full-size trucks”. They like to have 3.5 tons of payload and are in a different class. Significantly more rustic. Significantly cheaper. Mercedes-Benz (currently) does not want to enter this segment. So: No - the GLT / GLX / “the X-Class” is not built because of the Americans or for the Americans. The target markets are Australia, Russia and South America. The pick-up will be manufactured in the Nissan plants in Barcelona and Argentina.
8.) Will there be an AMG variant?
If you look at the mother of pearl white lacquered, then you can smell the AMG badge already formally. A variant with 4.0 liter V8 Bi-Turbo and 500 PS? Yes why not.
9.) How Expensive Will This Pick-Up Be?
Of course, Mercedes-Benz has not yet announced any prices. It's still a concept. But. If we take our bearings from the Volkswagen Amarok, then I would expect a starting price of € 42.205,50 for the “small” Nissan diesel - and almost € 60.000 for the V6 diesel with a Mercedes drive train.
10.) And what is Nissan doing now? And why?
Boo! Just a “re-badged” Nissan. It's not a Mercedes at all. That was also my fear - and yes, the pure Nissan world was to be found among the concept vehicles in Stockholm. But I think Mercedes-Benz is well aware of what it means to incorporate the word premium into the product. And when it comes to technology, they seem to have put a lot more effort into their work than with the CITAN project. Own axes, own motors, own gears, own electronics, own safety and assistance systems. And a significantly changed sheet metal skin. For example, the surface of the doors has been changed. Not the shape that remains true to the dispenser chassis, but the sheet metal skin that you can see. In principle, you don't have to develop your own lead frames. You take the modern platform from Nissan and then adapt the elements that influence the driving experience and perception.
This saves costs and allows entry into a new segment with a manageable cost risk. But is it a risk?