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Mercedes-Benz pickup concept revealed, will become X-Class

As promised, Mercedes-Benz has previewed two concept variants of its upcoming X-Class ute, to showcase both the aesthetic and off-road potential of the new luxury pickup.

mercedes-benz-x-class-concept-lineup

The X-Class “stylish explorer” and X-Class “powerful adventurer” are two variants unveiled at the Artipelag museum in Stockholm, designed to illustrate the versatility of Mercedes-Benz’s entry into the market.

Mercedes says that sales of utes have risen consistently in the past few years, with buyers now looking for more than a workhorse; and Mercedes thinks it can provide a product for this.

The X-Class will ride on a platform shared with the Nissan Navara, with Mercedes closely collaborating with Renault-Nissan alliance in the development of the X-Class. While there’s no confirmation on engine specifics, Mercedes did confirm in its presentation of these two variants that “the top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive”. Mercedes also says the X-Class will be fitted with two differential locks, and offer a 1.1-tonne payload and towing capacity up to 3.5 tonnes.

Speculations point to Mercedes’s existing turbo-diesel V6, which produces up to 195kW and 620Nm in some other models. Meanwhile, in lower-end variants Nissan’s 2.3-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder is likely to be used. In the Navara the unit develops 140kW and 450Nm.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class concept city-rear

The stylish explorer concept is finished in white metallic paint and is the company’s attempt at merging its elegant design language with a new rugged utilitarian purpose. There’s the classic single-louvre grille up front, flared wheel arches housing the 22-inch alloys, chrome accents and futuristic LED lighting on the tailgate.

Stepping inside the stylish explorer, there’s contrasting brown nubuck and white Nappa leather upholstery complimented by polished aluminium and smoked oak wooden contrasts. There’s also a high-resolution central display with touch-pad, which has gesture recognition.

“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. 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,” Gorden Wagener, head of design at Daimler, said.

mercedes-benz-x-class-pickup-interior

The other X-Class, the powerful adventurer, is the “redefinition of toughness”. Mercedes says the powerful adventurer focuses more on the characteristics of a ute that are synonymous with buyers, like toughness, durability and off-road capability.

Using these as criteria, Mercedes has created a 1.9-meter tall ute that can accommodate 35×11.50 rubber for off-roading and lots of ground clearance. In terms of design, there’s a two-louvre grille with chrome accents, wing-cladding and matte carbon wheel arches. If you haven’t noticed already, there’s an electric winch up front too. Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said:

“Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star.”

X-Class models destined for Australia will be produced in Spain, with deliveries expected to start in the first half of 2018.

Alexi is a contributing news journalist and junior road tester at PerformanceDrive. He has a passion and appreciation for the engineering in cars, as well as new technologies that lessen the impact on the environment. His dream cars are an M3 to drive to work, and a LaFerrari for the weekend.

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