Mercedes-Benz is luring ute lovers closer to the edge of their chairs with an X-Class teaser launched less than two weeks before the premium pick-up’s public debut that hints at some cooling of previous styling ideas.
The X-Class – the third model in Mercedes’ commercial line-up after the Vito/V-Class range and Sprinter – was shown in a teaser video ahead of its July 18 launch that will, initially at least, be done online.
In the latest tease, the supposedly production-ready X-Class is shown speeding on a rain-sodden city freeway at night – clearly, or not so clearly – showing that there have been some changes made to the two concepts shown side-by-side in Stockholm in October last year.
The first is that it has a two-bar grille and the second is the lack of wheel-arch extensions. The street-ready version of the concept had no extended wheel arches but it had a single-bar grille, copying a C-Class sedan.
The "adventure" concept shown in Stockholm had the two-bar grille and add-on arches, together with a more dramatic dashboard fitted with extra gauges, handles and different seats.
Now it appears Mercedes has gone cool on the mucho-macho version and will take the middle road, offering a distinctive and even attractive ute that stands up to the company’s claim as being "the world’s first premium pick-up".
For Australians, the ute will be in showrooms in the first half of next year but there is no word on the model range or prices.
The X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara – in 2WD and 4WD versions – through an alliance to produce commercial vehicles and drivetrains struck in 2013 by Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
The Mercedes V6 diesel could be short lived as the company changes to in-line six-cylinder designs from next year.
It means the Navara will continue to be made for the Australian market in Thailand, while the X-Class is likely to be built for us in Spain or Argentina, home of the Volkswagen Amarok.
Production will be by Nissan employees at the Nissan factories and will spawn a third variant – the Renault Alaskan – next year.
The initial offerings will be a 190kW/620Nm 3.0-litre Mercedes V6 turbo diesel, plus the Nissan 140kW/450Nm four-cylinder turbo-diesel, and a four-cylinder petrol from Mercedes C-Class (up to 180kW/370Nm) or Nissan’s 2.5-litre at 122kW/238Nm.
But the Mercedes V6 diesel could be short lived as the company changes to in-line six-cylinder designs from next year.
Transmissions include a nine-speed automatic with a two-speed reduction box for the 4WD V6 diesel, and possibly either a six-speed manual or seven-speed (Nissan) automatic for the four-cylinder 2WD and 4WD versions.
If the Mercedes 2.0-litre petrol engine is used, it could be mated to a nine-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox.
Would you consider a Mercedes-Benz ute, or would a regular Nissan Navara suffice? Tell us what you think in the comments below.