Mercedes-Benz Vans global boss Volker Mornhinweg has dismissed the possibility of an AMG-tuned, V8-powered X-Class high-performance flagship that would take on the likes of the rumoured Ford Ranger Raptor.
The just-revealed X-Class will already be the most powerful pick-up available in Australia when it lands in showrooms in 2018 thanks to its 190kW/550Nm turbo-diesel V6 in top-spec guise, but given the local love of V8 petrol power and an AMG badge, many had hoped for a more performance-tuned Mercedes workhorse.
Speaking at the reveal of the X-Class in South Africa this week, Mr Mornhinweg shot down the idea of shoehorning AMG's venerable 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 petrol engine under the bonnet of the X-Class.
"I think the car is quite impressive already when it comes to styling and so on," he said. "I think the product is not right for V8."
However, the prolific V8 engine – which is shared across the C63 mid-sizer, GT coupe and E63 sedan in various states of tune – is not the only engine available in AMG’s arsenal with a new 295kW/520Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol unit also on offer in its '43' variants.
Mercedes-Benz Vans local boss Diane Tarr did not dismiss the idea of an AMG X-Class out of hand, but said the proposition would not likely materialise until further down the line, if at all.
"We won't be bringing in an AMG at this point in time but naturally the headquarters colleagues are very away of the AMG status and demand," she said.
"And for us, let's bring our product into the market, let's consider it, let's get the customer feedback and certainly we will continue to have conversations with headquarters colleagues around an opportunity that may or may not arise."
"Let's not rule anything out. Let’s see how we go."
While the future of a full-fat AMG version remains unclear, Mr Mornhinweg divulged the brand was looking at introducing an AMG styling package, which would include a more aggressive bodykit and other flourishes.
Mr Mornhinweg also confirmed that the X-Class will not be offered in a single-cab or space-cab body style, at least initially, and that its three variant line-up (Pure, Progressive and Power) is designed around its premium appeal.
"It's always difficult to say never, but so far from our perspective what we see, from our talks with possible customers, the single-cab is more really focused on pure workhorses for construction and the price level is quite low," he said.
"It is a price-sensitive level and it is not really a perfect fit and the stretch is too huge to have a really pure workhorse up to what you see here (Power)."
"So far, I am convinced that that is the right approach, but it is difficult to say never ever. But from current perspective … we positioned the product on the upper scale. I think it is something that customers are really attracted to by putting down payments."
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