Mercedes-Benz X-Class Concept is the Steed for Rhineland Cowboys

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mercedes benz x class concept is the steed for rhineland cowboys

Mercedes-Benz unveiled two concepts for its mid-sized pickup, dubbed the X-Class, in Stockholm, Sweden today. The event was live-streamed across the globe and, at thirteen minutes in, two gussied up Nissans took the stage.

The premiere spent painfully little time giving up details on what the X-Class would offer. Instead, we were given a discussion on a vehicle that can apparently conquer the urban frontier as well as rugged landscapes. The trucks were kitted out in “stylish explorer” and “powerful adventurer” trims — the latter coming with off-road tires, a winch, and a electric gold paint.

During the event, Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche proclaimed his love for pickups and admitted that the unveiling of the X-Class prototype was an “emotional” experience for him. He went on to say that he had long discussions during his DaimlerChrysler days on the level of luxury an American pickup truck should possess and consulted a “tough old ranger” on the subject of exactly how a pickup differs from a car.

Zetsche says that Mercedes wanted to bring a truck to market for the type of consumer who may want to “shovel snow, tug boats, or appear at the opera house.”

It’s a premium urban lifestyle truck. And similar to the Lincoln Blackwood, it’s likely to come to market as regular work truck with a redone face and new amenities tacked on. While this didn’t work for the Blackwood, which lasted a single model year, it might for the X-Class if done inconspicuously enough.

Clearly, Mercedes is just trying to expand their portfolio and reach into a untapped market as quickly as possible. The presentation even included several minutes spent on how the X-Class would reach new customer groups previously unavailable to the brand. The aim is to use the truck platform used on the Nissan Navara — the Frontier in North America — and create a premium truck that can outmatch the competition in capability, comfort, and safety.

The press release was a little more forthcoming with the finer details. The automaker claims that the X-Class interior will offer familiar interior design elements from both the C-Class and the Metris van. Top-of-the-line models should see a diesel V6 mated with 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system combines an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked.

A ladder-type frame offers a 1.1 ton payload and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons. The X-Class will also include assistance systems based on cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors. That means enhanced cruise control features and parking assist.

If any of that sounds good to you, that’s tough luck for now. Mercedes-Benz made no mention of North America. The key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe starting late next year.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

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  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
  • Cha65689852 To drive a car, you need human intelligence, not artificial intelligence.Unfortunately, these days even human brains are turning into mush thanks to addiction to smartphones and social media.
  • Mike1041 A nasty uncomfortable little car. Test drove in 2019 in a search for a single car that would appease two drivers. The compromise was not much better but at least it had decent rear vision and cargo capacity. The 2019 Honda HRV simply was too unforgiving and we ditched after 4 years. Enter the 23 HRV and we have a comfy size.
  • SCE to AUX I wonder who really cares about this. "Slave labor" is a useful term for the agendas of both right and left."UAW Wants Auto Industry to Stop Using Slave Labor"... but what will the UAW actually do if nothing changes?With unrelenting downward pressure on costs in every industry - coupled with labor shortages - expect to see more of this.Perhaps it's my fault when I choose the $259 cell phone over the $299 model, or the cheaper parts at RockAuto, or the lower-priced jacket at the store.Do I care about an ethical supply chain? Not really, I just want the product to work - and that's how most consumers are. We'd rather not know.Perhaps the 1990s notion of conflict-free, blood-free, ethically-sourced diamonds will find its way into the auto industry. That would be a good thing.