STOCKHOLM – Mercedes-Benz introduced its first pick-up truck concept tonight in Sweden. We now know the latest product intent as the Concept X-Class. Previously, it was rumoured that it might be badged as the GLT.
As CarSifu has pointed out last week, the pick-up truck shares platform with the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan. But in tandem with the brand’s image, it would be marketed as a premium pick-up. It is scheduled for series production and sales at the end of 2017.
The vehicle was unveiled at the art gallery Artipelag in Stockholm, the same spot where the current MINI Clubman was introduced last October
The concept car is offered in two design variants: the Concept X-Class powerful adventurer and the Concept X-Class stylish explorer (shown here in metallic yellow and white body colour respectively).
The “powerful adventurer” is what Mercedes-Benz define as a classic pick-up – tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability. The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer goes a step further and shows what will distinguish the pickup bearing the Mercedes star.
Mercedes-Benz said the one-tonne X-Class would be able to seat five persons and cater for an urban lifestyle and family life.
Hosts of the world premiere was Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG, Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, and Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG.
Mornhinweg said the target markets for the pick-up are Latin America, South Africa, Europe and Australia. Although Asia wasn’t mentioned, it is possible that selected Asian countries may get the pick-up at a later stage.
The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. 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 powerful drive system and the tough ladder-type frame will make a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons possible.
It will have modern driver assistance systems based on cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors to support and relieve the driver in many situations. A host of assistance systems will come as standard.
The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017. The new model series will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price. The pickup will be manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.
Worldwide the market for mid-size pickups is undergoing a radical change. Gone are the days when they were bought as mere “workhorses”. Instead, they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for a simultaneous private and commercial use and as vehicles for a strictly private use. The percentage of privately used pickups has been growing steadily for years.
Accordingly, the double cab has emerged as the dominating body style, because it offers room for up to five persons. More and more private and commercial customers ask for vehicles with the characteristics and comfort features of a passenger car. A similar development took place in the segment of off-road vehicles some 20 years ago. Back then, Mercedes-Benz was the first premium manufacturer to launch a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the M-Class, and completely redefined the off-road segment – with lasting success.
“The Concept X-CLASS design variants interpret the hallmark brand design idiom of our SUVs in a most expressive form, and embody the dichotomy of our design philosophy: they are hot and cool”, said Wagener. “With its progressive design the powerful adventurer expresses cool modernity and thirst for adventure, while the stylish explorer on the other hand uses pure emotion to provide a tangible experience of modern beauty.”
The distinctive front represents an evolution of the hallmark SUV face of the brand – with a more massive powerdome on the bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The classic SUV front apron and the strongly flared wheel arches put even more emphasis on the sense of width, and give the vehicle an even more solid stance on the road. At the same time, the front cites the single-louvre grille with centrally positioned Mercedes star, the face of the elegant Mercedes-Benz coupés.
The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use. 22-inch light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish give the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer a towering and superior stance.
The running boards are integrated into the bodywork and emphasise the athletically sculpted body. Depending on the angle of the incoming light, the paintwork developed specifically for this concept car lends the urban pickup a look that gives the athletic profile even more emotional appeal.
The short front overhang, the long rear overhang and two long lines stretching along the side amplify the focus placed on driving dynamics. The rear of both concept cars sports the hallmark chromed SUV trim at the lower edge, and, as a distinctive feature, a continuous LED light strip in a slim chrome surround on the tailgate. It points to the unique character of the future pickup.
The interior of the Concept X-Class explorer is characterised by a contrast of warm and cool colours, as well as by quality materials. The modern flair is further boosted by round air vents, the free-standing high-resolution central display as well as the central controller and multifunctional touchpad.
Similar to a smartphone, all telematics functions can be controlled with the touchpad by using gestures or by entering letters and characters. At the same time, the characteristics and functionalities typical in the pickup segment have been retained, such as the handbrake in the centre console.
The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer towers with a height of 1.90 metres. It has large tyres of size 35×11.50, high ground clearance, and athletic design.
The brand’s hallmark SUV radiator grille with two louvres, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches additionally underscore the off-road aesthetics. An electric winch at the front and a metal hook at the rear are further indications of the rugged power of the future pickup.
Customers of the X-Class will be able to choose from different equipment scopes to customise the exterior and interior. In addition, the premium brand will develop a special range of accessories for the pickup, for example bed covers and various styling elements.
A host of interior components that customers know and appreciate from the C-Class and V-Class will be found in the X-Class – from the high-quality materials and the infotainment system to the ergonomic seating comfort.
The X-Class also promises to set new standards in the segment with regard to connectivity. Thanks to the communication module with on-board SIM card, it will be possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services. Drivers can connect with their pickup by smartphone, tablet or PC at any time and from anywhere.
The pick-up will be the fourth model in the Mercedes-Benz Vans.