If it’s one thing we’ve learned from Mercedes-Benz in recent years, is that the company is unafraid to push the boundaries of the norm. There hasn’t been a premium pickup truck in the market, so they’ve decided to go ahead and make one. The resulting attempt is this, the all-new Mercedes-Benz X-Class Concept.
In fact, this is not the first time Stuttgart toyed with the idea of having a pickup. Many years ago, they had one called the Gelandewagen, or known as the G-Class/G-Wagon. Currently, it’s available in a six-wheeled guise (G 63 AMG 6×6), which is exclusive for the elites who have gone bored of flying past speed humps and road kerbs with their SUVs.
The X-Class is the product of a three-way joint venture between Daimler and Renault-Nissan; the other pick duo are the Renault Alaska and Nissan Navara. The X-Class deploys two different concepts – the civilised Stylish Explorer and the rugged Powerful Adventurer.
Overall, the X-Class isn’t that far off from its teaser revealed a few months back. Both concepts wear the same large front grille with the three-point star emblem mounted at the centre. On top of the headlights is a tall and muscular hood. The X-Class remains strictly a double cab pickup for now.
Now this is where the similarity ends. The “Stylish Explorer” is the variant you’d want to own and cruise around town with. It sits on humongous 22-inch wheels (unlikely to make it to production) and the back adopts a cool looking oval shaped LED taillight design. We think the latter should be featured in the production version of the X-Class.
Next up is the “Powerful Adventurer”. We can imagine this roaming effortlessly in the sand dunes of the Sahara, rocky foothills of Mount Kinabalu or even in your backyard orchard. Vivid colours aside, it wears a more conventional, high-profile off-road tyres and a higher ground clearance. The back meanwhile, gets a set of conventional taillight. It also receives an off-road kit which consists of electric winches, side rails and so on.
Interior wise, the tablet-styled central console and dashboard remain consistent as per any modern Mercedes-Benzes. Interestingly, handbrake operation is manual (lever type). The X-Class is set to include many of Mercedes’ modern driver assistance systems, making it the safest, most luxurious pickup truck money can buy.
Top of the line X-Classes will be powered by a V6 diesel mated to 4MATIC all-wheel drive. A range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel mills are also planned for the X-Class. The powertrains will allow this pickup to have a payload of more than 1.1 tonnes and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes.
The Barcelona-assembled X-Class will go into production by late 2017. Since the Nissan Navara is being locally assembled, perhaps Mercedes-Benz Malaysia can come up with a strategic partnership with Edaran Tan Chong Malaysia to assemble this luxury pickup truck. Ford Ranger? Say what?