Mercedes debuts first-ever pickup truck
The medium-sized pickup segment is global, high-volume and has further growth potential. According to estimates, by 2026 the market will increase from currently 2.2 million (2016) to 3.2 million units (+43%). High-quality private vehicles with passenger car-like characteristics and comfort features will play an increasingly important role here.
Mercedes-Benz recognized this trend early on and with the X‑Class is pushing forward into this attractive segment as the first premium manufacturer. The completely new vehicle segment with the star celebrates its world premiere on Tuesday evening in South Africa – one of the model's core markets.
The market launch is scheduled for November 2017. Followed by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand at the beginning of 2018 as well as Argentina and Brazil at the beginning of 2019. The Mercedes-Benz pickup is attractively positioned in the segment in terms of price and is available in Germany from 37,294 Euro (incl. 19% VAT).
Mid-size pickups are already part of a normal cityscape in many countries, especially in the southern hemisphere. In Argentina and Australia, for example, they account for well over 10 percent of the overall market (2016:12% and 16%). And the markets promise further growth. By 2026 experts anticipate growth just shy of 20 percent in Argentina and six percent in Australia. A high level of growth in the two digits is expected in Brazil, while clear growth is also predicted for Europe with 12 percent. At the same time, the segment of the mid-sized pickups is also changing: The vehicles are not only in demand with commercial customers, rather they are also becoming ever popular as versatile private vehicles – with passenger car-like characteristics and a high level of comfort.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class with room for up to five people is therefore specifically tailored to the changing requirements of the international pick-up markets. It complements the prized strengths of a mid-size pickup with the typical Mercedes-Benz characteristics of vehicle dynamics, comfort, design, safety, connectivity and extensive scope for individualization. There are three design and equipment variants to choose from, four or six-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and engageable or permanent all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic transmission as well as a diverse range of accessories developed by Mercedes-Benz.
Like the M-Class in 1997: X-Class opens up new customer groups
Conquering new markets and segments – significant investments
Conquering new markets and segments is a key element of "Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global", the growth strategy of the Daimler vans division. With the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vans is expanding its portfolio to a fourth model series and filling the intersection between passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Vans is already very successful on an international scale in this respect with the Vito and the V-Class, and with the X-Class Mercedes-Benz Vans is now aligning itself even more internationally. The Daimler AG is investing a high three digit million sum (euro) in the pickup until market launch.
The first pickup with passenger car characteristics – attractive for private customers too
"The X-Class is the first genuine pickup with convincing passenger car characteristics. It's robust with good load capacity and off-road capability, just like a pickup should be. It's also aesthetically pleasing, dynamic to drive, comfortable, safe, connected and individual – as you would expect from a Mercedes", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "As a result, the X-Class pushes the boundaries of the classic pickup and makes this vehicle class attractive for private use, too. With three design and equipment lines and extensive scope for personalisation, we offer the ideal vehicle for a range of different customer groups and their needs."
X-Class production: Most recent example of the strategic cooperation between Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance
The pickup with the star is being manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the markets in Europe, Australia and South Africa will start in 2017 at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting from 2019. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the fast-growing segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups in the world with a payload of one tonne, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
You can find further information on and images of the Mercedes-Benz X‑Class, as well as of the world premiere in South Africa, from 8 p.m. on 18 July at www.d.ai/XClassWorldPremiere. You will find the vehicle highlights here:
Robust character with dynamic charisma
With its progressive design, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class manages the fine balance between being both tough and stylish. The pickup embodies the enhanced Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. By emphasising the surfaces and featuring stripped-down, extremely precise elements, the purist design draws attention to the basic virtues of a pickup in an emotionally appealing way – combined with almost unlimited functionality. The X-Class can haul a payload of up to 1.1 tonnes. That is enough to transport 17 full 50-litre barrels of beer in the cargo area. Able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, it can also pull a trailer containing three horses or an eight-metre yacht.
Thanks to its long 3150-millimetre wheelbase, the short and cladded front overhang, the backward shifted passenger compartment and the very long rear overhang, the X-Class has an elongated vehicle body which exudes pure dynamism. The design of the side windows with their dynamic kink along the beltline and taut lines contrasting with muscular, sculpted surfaces also allude to the longitudinal dynamics. Widely flared wheel arches, the commanding front and the purist design of the rear all accentuate the impression of width. Together they give the pickup a powerful on-road presence and make reference to the X-Class's excellent lateral dynamics.
Powerful and commanding front with three different characters
The front has the masterful looks of one of the brand's typical SUVs – with the centrally positioned star, twin-louvre radiator grille, high and powerfully honed bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The front apron emphasises width and has its own distinct character depending on the chosen design and equipment line. On the PURE basic variant it is unpainted and with the PROGRESSIVE design and equipment line it is painted in the vehicle colour. The POWER high-end model variant likewise has a bumper painted in the vehicle colour and also comes with a chromed underbody panelling. There are nine attractive exterior colours and a variety of exclusive 17, 18 or 19-inch rims to choose from across the three design and equipment lines.
Purist design for the rear with bumper including step as standard
Like the front apron, the rear bumper also varies depending on the selected design and equipment line: it is painted black for the PURE line and in the vehicle colour for the PROGRESSIVE line. The POWER line has a chromed bumper for a particularly classy look. To conveniently access the cargo area for loading and unloading, the bumper has an integral step. If the standard 90-degree tailgate opening is not enough, as an option the X-Class can be ordered without the rear bumper. Then the tailgate opens to 180 degrees.
In terms of width, the load bed is designed in such a way that a Euro-pallet can be loaded straight between the wheel arches. The X-Class is the only mid-size pickup to be equipped with lighting in the cargo area as standard. The third brake light contains LED lights which illuminate the whole load bed. Operation is by a switch in the centre console. As soon as the ignition is switched on, those lights turn off automatically. A 12-volt socket to power additional equipment such as compressors, for example, is also part of the standard equipment in the load bed.
New benchmark in comfort and quality feel
In the interior, the X-Class elevates comfort and quality feel to a new level within the segment for mid-size pickups. The instrument panel has the concave trim element typical of a Mercedes. It stretches across the entire width of the instrument panel – a novel feature in this vehicle segment. It creates an open feel and purist modernity. There are three trim variants to choose from for the X-Class POWER: a pixelated look in matt black, an aluminium effect with longitudinal grain and a brown matt woodgrain effect. To complement the high-quality feel, the upper section of the cockpit is available with ARTICO man-made leather in either black or nut brown. The characteristic round ventilation outlets add a sporty touch. Depending on the design and equipment line, these come in either high-gloss black or silver shadow, creating a high-end cool touch effect. With the PROGRESSIVE and POWER design and equipment lines, the centre console is also prominently framed by a decorative trim in silver shadow. The large door handles are also finished in silver shadow. The cool touch effect is reinforced by the freestanding central display, which is familiar from the V-Class. In conjunction with the COMAND Online multimedia system it has a screen diagonal of 8.4 inches, making it the biggest display in the segment. With a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and the high-contrast IPS technology (In-Plane Switching), it offers a brilliant display that markedly increases the image quality of the 360-Degree Camera and the navigation maps.
The control and display concept shows the familiar high levels of convenience and ergonomic comfort. The instrument cluster consists of the large, analogue round dials from the C-Class and V-Class. In the X-Class PROGRESSIVE and POWER they are tubular. A 5.4-inch colour multimedia display is nestled between the round dials. Thanks to the push-buttons on the standard-fit three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, the settings on the colour display can be controlled without drivers having to take their hands off the steering wheel. The steering wheel with its 12 buttons in total is height-adjustable, thereby improving ergonomic posture and allowing a relaxed seating position. In the X-Class PROGRESSIVE and POWER, the steering wheel, shift lever knob and handbrake lever are also covered in leather. In conjunction with the Audio 20 CD and COMAND Online multimedia systems, and in addition to the central control unit, the X-Class contains the multifunction touchpad familiar from the passenger car model series – the multifunction touchpad is another novelty in this segment. It is located in an ergonomic position on the centre console and, like a smartphone, it can be controlled using gestures or by entering letters and characters.
Electrically adjustable comfort seats also available with lumbar support
Plenty of attention was paid to comfort when developing the seats, too. Premium materials and a seat structure featuring optimum lateral support, a high seat position and the use of ergonomically formed soft foam make sitting comfortable for both the driver and front passenger, even on longer journeys. With their clear, ergonomic and functional design, the comfort seats can be adjusted in the longitudinal direction as well as for height and backrest tilt. The X-Class POWER has electrically adjustable seats and electric two-way lumbar support as standard. The rear seat row for three people is positioned at a comfortable height and has reinforced seat side bolsters for optimum support in the outer seating positions. These seats are also equipped with attachment points for an i-Size/ISOFIX child seat as standard.
Widest selection of materials and colours in the segment
As well as various trim elements, there are six seat covers to choose from, including two leather variants with contrasting topstitching, and there are two colours for the roof liner as well. The X-Class thus provides the widest choice of materials and colours in this vehicle segment. The seats in the X-Class PURE are fitted with black Tunja fabric as standard. Black man-made leather is available as an option. The comfort seats in the PROGRESSIVE variant are covered in black posadas fabric. Familiar from the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series, ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre in black is available if desired.
As standard, the X-Class POWER comes with ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre in black with additional contrasting topstitching in alpaca grey. Black leather with alpaca grey topstitching or nut brown leather with black topstitching are optionally available. Topstitching in a contrasting colour raises the aesthetic appeal of the seats even further. Exclusive topstitching also appears on the ARTICO man-made leather coverings on the upper section of the instrument panel, the armrests and the beltlines of the doors. This emphasises the premium effect of the interior as a whole. For the first time in this vehicle segment there are two variants of roof liner to choose from: macchiato beige fabric and black fabric. On the X-Class POWER, the A-pillar is also covered in fabric of the same colour.
Made-to-measure individualization – Style Packages and an extensive range of accessories
Optional equipment as well as a specific Style Package for each of the PROGRESSIVE and POWER lines enable further individualization. For example, side running boards and an electrically opening rear window can be added to the X-Class. What's more, Mercedes-Benz had an in-house team of designers and developers create an extensive range of accessories. These allow the X-Class to be modified even more to suit personal tastes and requirements – in respect to design, functionality and off-road capability. For example, there is a choice of styling bar, side bar, soft tonneau cover, hard tonneau cover and roll cover, as well as a canopy which makes the pickup look like an SUV. The canopy continues the X-Class's lines perfectly, merging with the vehicle body to create a distinctive silhouette. Other items available include a bed liner, a bed divider system, load-securing rails in the floor and a technical underguard.
High-torque, enjoyable performance with four and six cylinders
As from its market launch, there are two powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines to deliver spirited performance. The high-torque common-rail diesel drive system with a displacement of 2.3 litres is available with a choice of two power outputs. In the X 220 d with single turbocharger it generates 120 kW/163 hp and in the biturbo X 250 d no less than 140 kW/190 hp. Both diesel models are available as left- or right-hand drive vehicles with purely rear wheel drive or with engageable all-wheel drive. Due to very specific market requirements, for example in Dubai and Morocco, the 122 kW/165 hp X 200 petrol model is only available as a left-hand drive vehicle with rear wheel drive. All engines are characterised by quiet, low-vibration running and excellent power delivery coupled with low consumption figures. Power is transferred via a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed automatic transmission is available on request for the 140 kW/190 hp X 250 d and X 250 d 4MATIC models.
A high-torque V6 diesel engine will be released mid-2018, ensuring even greater agility on- and off-road. It will generate 190 kW/258 hp and a maximum torque of 550 Nm. With that the X 350 d occupies a leading position in the segment. The top X-Class model will come as standard with permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive and the seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS with steering-wheel shift paddles and ECO start/stop function. The DYNAMIC SELECT system is available in addition. To date, the inclusion of a drive program switch has been rare in the pickup segment. This technology enables the driving experience to be tailored to individual preferences – from relaxed comfort to engaged sportiness. There are five drive programs to choose from: Comfort, ECO, Sport, Manual and Offroad. These modify the engine characteristics, the automatic transmission's switching points and the ECO start/stop function.
Dynamic and comfortable driving enjoyment on a par with Mercedes-Benz passenger cars
The X-Class is the first pickup to deliver both excellent off- and on-road performance. The wide track, long wheelbase and comfortable spring and damping tuning typical of a Mercedes open up a new world of driving enjoyment and driving dynamics on the road – without resulting in compromises when off-road. A special feature in this segment: coil springs are used both at the front and the rear, which contributes to a harmonious suspension comfort. The comfort suspension is designed in such a way that it achieves a high level of driving dynamics and ride comfort on the road, while also delivering maximum off-road capability in conjunction with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The elaborately designed comfort suspension consists of a double wishbone front axle and a rear multi-link solid axle that is ideal for transporting heavy loads and has good articulation capability. This combination ensures that the suspension is comfortable and the handling is safe given any permitted load condition.
With 1632 millimetres at the front and 1625 millimetres at the rear, the X-Class has a wider track than most competitors. This provides the ideal prerequisites for optimum driving stability and higher cornering speeds. At 3150 millimetres, the wheelbase is also longer than many other mid-size pickups. This reduces vibrations during the journey and makes for smooth and reliable straight-running stability. Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer in the segment to opt for large, internally vented brake discs on both axles as standard. The front axle has brake discs with a diameter of 32 centimetres and the rear axle with a diameter of 30.8 centimetres. Together they ensure short braking distances, good response times and high thermal capacity.
The comfort suspension is part of the standard equipment in all European markets. Its ground clearance is 202 millimetres. A 20-millimetre higher suspension is available as an optional extra. The increased ground clearance improves off-road capability even further, including a higher seat position and sharper off-road look. In all markets outside Europe, the X-Class comes with the higher suspension as standard. The safe and comfortable handling typical of a Mercedes is retained despite the higher suspension.
Engageable or permanent – 4MATIC all-wheel drive for any surface
Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which is available on the X 220 d 4MATIC and X 250 d 4MATIC diesel models, masters any terrain. With it, the front wheels can be engaged or disengaged by electric means depending on the surface. As from mid-2018, Mercedes-Benz will also make its pickup available with permanent all-wheel drive. This will ensure that the X-Class delivers maximum performance and traction, even at top speed on roads. The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will only be offered in conjunction with the six-cylinder engine. Off-road, both 4MATIC variants benefit from the same superior assertiveness thanks to the low-range gearing and optional differential lock on the rear axle. All the all-wheel drive models come with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) on board as standard.
Comprehensive range of safety equipment
Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the X-Class stands out for its exemplary level of safety. The pickup bearing the star comes with a comprehensive array of comfort and safety equipment that is exceptional in this vehicle segment. The X-Class’s high level of occupant protection results from its especially solid car body with a high-strength passenger cell and a structure with a front and rear that can absorb energy through well-aimed deformation. Furthermore, passive safety is provided thanks to standard equipment such as seven airbags and the i-Size attachment system for two child seats. The airbags in the front for driver and front passenger come with a two-stage, deferred triggering mechanism. For active safety, three driver assistance systems are at the ready, simultaneously increasing safety and comfort: Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist. Additionally, there are Trailer Stability Assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, emergency call system, cruise control and LED headlamps that deliver the brightest light output in the segment thanks to six LEDs respectively. If required, a 360-Degree Camera is available in addition to a reversing camera. Given this extensive level of equipment, the X-Class perfectly fulfils the requirements placed on a modern family and lifestyle vehicle.
The first intelligently connected mid-size pickup
The X-Class is the first mid-size pickup to feature a communications module with an integrated SIM card. This makes it possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services and to access the vehicle by smartphone. Thus X-Class drivers in 21 European markets can, for example, call up useful information such as fuel level and tyre pressure, and find out the X-Class's location when it is parked or being driven by someone else. In addition, with the Mercedes me app complete door-to-door navigation is possible. Further Mercedes me connect services include the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system and the standard services Breakdown Management, Accident Recovery and Maintenance Management as well as Remote Vehicle Diagnostics.
In addition to this, control and display systems – that have already been used successfully in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series – are being introduced in the mid-size pickup segment for the first time: these include the multifunction touchpad and fully integrated COMAND Online multimedia system with hard-disk navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice control and internet access via smartphone. Other than COMAND Online, the proven Audio 20 USB and Audio 20 CD audio systems are also available.
First pickup with Live Traffic Information
Transferring traffic information in real time is a further highlight of intelligent connectivity thanks to the communications module with an integrated SIM card. In conjunction with an account in the Mercedes me portal, and within Europe, the COMAND Online navigation system can show the beginning and length of a traffic jam on a map to within 100 metres of the exact position and compute a dynamic route with shorter travel times. The potential loss of time is taken into account automatically in real time for the arrival time displayed by COMAND Online navigation. The system also provides a 3D view with three-dimensional urban models, making orientation in unfamiliar city centres easier. Moreover, special personal destinations can be saved or imported via SD card, and four alternate routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation.
In conjunction with the optional Garmin® MAP PILOT system, in most European countries the Audio 20 CD also becomes a fully-fledged navigation system with Live Traffic Information. With both systems, X-Class drivers benefit from early information about disturbances such as traffic jams, increased traffic volumes or other possible delays along the route, allowing them to adjust their route planning in good time. The relevant pre-installation for the Garmin® MAP PILOT is likewise available as an option.
Portfolio expansion in production cooperation with Renault-Nissan
With the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vans is expanding its portfolio to a fourth model series and is closing the gap between commercial vehicles and passenger cars. As such, the pickup marks another milestone in the growth strategy "Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global".
The pickup with the star is being manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the markets in Europe, Australia and South Africa 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 from 2019. With the pickup, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are expanding their strategic cooperation which began seven years ago. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the high-growth segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups with a payload of one tonne in the world, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz management on the new X-Class
"The segment for mid-size pickups is ripe for a premium vehicle. With the X-Class we will open up this segment to new customer groups, just as we redefined the off-road segment with the M-Class more than 20 years ago. Our pickup convinces as a workhorse, yet also as a family and lifestyle vehicle. In short, the X-Class is the Mercedes among pickups." Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
"With the X-Class we are closing a gap in the portfolio between passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Vans is already very successful internationally in this respect with the Vito and the V-Class. With the pickup, too, we have various international markets in mind. Mercedes-Benz Vans is thus becoming even more international in orientation." Wilfried Porth, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Human Resources and Director of Labor Relations, Mercedes-Benz Vans
"The X-Class is the first genuine pickup with convincing passenger car characteristics. It's robust, strong and with good off-road capability – just like a pickup should be. It's also aesthetically pleasing, dynamic to drive, comfortable, safe, connected and individual – as you would expect from a Mercedes. As a result, the X-Class pushes the boundaries of the classic pickup and makes this vehicle segment attractive for private use, too. With three design and equipment lines and an extensive scope of further individualization options, we offer the ideal vehicle for a range of different customer groups and their needs." Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans
"Like no other pickup, the X-Class manages being both tough and stylish, and is thus hot and cool at the same time. With its puristic and yet extremely emotional design, the X-Class is following a radically new approach for pickups."
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