By on October 25, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS

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.

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS

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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61 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz X-Class Concept is the Steed for Rhineland Cowboys...”


  • avatar
    Cactuar

    I guess if you’re already paying 50k$ for a pickup truck you might as well get a Mercedes.

  • avatar
    John

    Grille emblem too small…..it can’t be seen from outer space.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      You can always opt for the LED backlit logo that can actually be seen from space.

      This thing is funny for markets that get the Navara because aside from the nose and badges, everything about it screams Navara.

      So save your money and go get a D23? Or the Ranger 3.2 – or my favorite, the Nissan Navara STX550 twin turbo 3.0 v6 which is what we call a “USP”… in a sea of fours, the V6 is king.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @TonyJZX
        That Navara had to drop that engine because it did not meet Euro 6 standards. Now the 2.3 is a two stage turbo engine, that does a pretty reasonable job. Still it might be left wanting on engine braking, that is where the V6 3 litre engines by both VW and MB come in. Although the VW is to be introduced due to emission worries.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I guess bumpers and foot rails will be optional? I think an suv variant of this would sell better.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    “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.\'”

    Who doesn’t love to tug on their boat?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Adam Tonge
      Depends who you get too tug your boat HA HA. Still Europeans will not be the primary audience for this , will sell some though. Everywhere else except NA, will be the primary markets

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        Europe may not be the primary but it may be more important than you think. I recently enjoyed a business trip to Caen, France last month and on the roads there I saw about 7 or 8 pickup trucks, which is 7 or 8 more than I expected to see. I mentioned it over dinner with my business contact. He said that 10 years ago there likely wasn’t a pickup in all of France but within 10 years they have become a little more popular. They aren’t likely to dominate the market but they aren’t the oddities that they used to be.

        I saw:
        3 VW Amaroks
        1 or 2 Isuzu D-Max’s *
        1 Chevrolet Colorado
        2 Nissan Navarras (our Frontier)

        * This is where the uncertainty is. I passed a silver Isuzu D-Max on the A13. Then I pulled over for gas, or sans plomb** as its known over there. When I got back on the road I eventually passed a silver Isuzu, and logically it was the same one but I swear it looked a little different.

        ** Footnote on a footnote! holy footnotes, Batman!!! In French diesel is “gasoil” and gasoline is “sans plomb”. If you have the privilege to visit France and you pull up to a gas station and you have rented a gasoline car, do NOT pick the one which starts with the word “gas”! Because that would be horribly wrong. No I did not do this, I just can see where that mistake is easy to make.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          DevilsRotary86,
          Izuzu had by far the largest pickup dislay at the Paris Var Show, with at least 12 Dmax’s.

          Ford was not represented at the show. I fond this odd as I sae more Rangers in Paris than all the other pickups combined.

  • avatar
    86er

    C’mon Dr. Z they’ll want them in the Big D!

    What is a “ladder-type” frame?

  • avatar
    86er

    Dergrossepickuplastwagen.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      I was searching a phone app in my German night class for “pickup truck” and all it had was “Pritschenwagen”. My teacher got a big laugh from that and said it was not only hugely antiquated but usually just meant a big flatbed truck.

      Subsequent searching of better dictionaries hasn’t turned up anything better. I don’t think the Heinies have yet bothered to give a name to them a name beyond borrowing “Pick-Up”.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Europe? I can’t see M-B selling many of these there.

    My experience there is extremely limited. But during a full week in Prague last year, I saw exactly *zero* pickup trucks while traveling all over the city. In my neighborhood, probably 1 in 5 homes has a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @SCE to AUX
      I saw seven Pickups including a Dodge Ram after going through 8 countries. Europe has a major problem with personal use Pickups.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        Funny enough, after my father retired from 27 years of active duty service, he returned to Germany as a civil servant. My parents lived in a small community/village near Sembach back in the mid 90s. His last vehicle purchase before he passed away in 1997 was a bright red 1996 Dodge Ram, resplendent with chrome wheels and appropriately high off the ground as it was a 4×4. The amount of finger and nose smudges on his windows were near-comical as Bubba (the name we gave the beast) wouldn’t fit in the garage, so everybody in the village would stop and check it out when they walked by. He loved that truck and I wish I had kept it after he passed. I’d venture to guess from my time back and forth in Europe (and Germany specifically) that a large majority of the few trucks you see over there are owned by servicemembers and/or gov civilians.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      Maybe they just don’t know they need them because they haven’t been available… I’m sure most of yurop laughed at SUVs and crossovers, but who is laughing now? Next up for adoption, automatic transmissions…

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Tinn-Can
        SUV’s make sense for them as they are” 4 by 4’s”, not Pickups. Still they do not use a lot of vehicles Off Road,but interestingly they do build Off Road Heavy Trucks and Vans

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        There are few pickup trucks in Europe for two very good reasons.

        The first is that in North America, pickups are used for a blend of passenger and cargo vehicles. This means they are compromised as either.

        Europeans use cars for passenger vehicles. For cargo they use flat-front box vans and flatbeds, vans like the “Sprinter”, and small box trucks.

        Europeans have never mixed up their utility vehicles with ego problems, as many North Americans do. They also have less need to tow dwellings about, preferring to vacation by driving their nice cars to more spacious, cheaper, stationary dwellings such as hotels.

        As for laughing at them, they’re starting a conversion from diesels to hybrids, and will have the last laugh over North Americans. The version of automatic transmissions in hybrids are more efficient than old-fashioned manuals or automatics that are seldom in the ideal ratio.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @brandloyalty
          You have that partly right. Yes they do have bragging rights when it come to HDT Trucks. Rush to hybrids? Contrary to what you thing they like to tow reasonably heavy loads, either using a Cab Chassis variation of a Van or many of the trucks that they use. You will see SUV’s and even cars towing as well

    • 0 avatar
      LambourneNL

      Euro here. Personal use of pickups is very limited. Ford sells the Ranger but its sales are a footnote compared to things like chassis cab Transit pickups ( https://en.wheelsage.org/ford/transit/v/30374/pictures/157749/ ) which is entirely utilitarian and only used by construction crews etc. Not something you’d want to be seen in on friday night.

      From what I saw in the US, Americans don’t drive vans as personal transportation in the same way they do pickups, despite their similiar loading and towing capacity, with the added benefit of your stuff not getting wet in the rain. The reason Americans don’t drive vans is probably the same as why Euros don’t drive pickups (i.e. mostly image related)

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        “From what I saw in the US, Americans don’t drive vans as personal transportation in the same way they do pickups.”

        Minivans were and to an extent still are common daily-drivers here but that has tremendously declined over the past couple of decades with their profound bloating and the growing predominance of mid-sized SUVs.

        More than ever, “minivans” of nearly BOF service-van size have become just as much special-use vehicles as their BOF counterparts and are an excellent way to spot right-to-lifers.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “The reason Americans don’t drive vans is probably the same as why Euros don’t drive pickups (i.e. mostly image related)”

        There was a time when large vans were relatively popular for personal use. (Search the internet for “conversion vans” to see what some of them were like.) In essence, they were larger US alternatives to the VW microbus/Kombi. But fashions change, and those are now a rarity.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      SCE to AUX,
      I went to the Paris Car Show and I saw Raptors, Rams on display. Oh and some XLT dual cabs.

      In Paris I only saw few midsizers, but putside of Paris they are marginally more common.

      I’m in Spain at the moment and I have yet to see pickup of any sort.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    MB? No… Slap a Mazda logo on it and we are good to go…

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Keep going with that silver one’s emblem and turn it into a nose cone like a Studebaker Champion.

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    Get a set of metric truck nutz, a “Tin Tin pissin’ on BMW” sticker and the latest cd from the best C&W group in the Rheinland Pfalz, “Truck Stop,” and I’m there.

  • avatar
    Mathias

    This is the second time in one day that TTAC authors feel the need to somehow work “Rhineland” into a title.

    Please stop it. Neither Benz nor BMW are anywhere near there; Swabia and Bavaria are where it’s at. And if you don’t know your German provinces, no problem. Just don’t mention them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Heh… simmer down, Gauleiter, it’s just a play on “Rhinestone Cowboy”, a popular American song circa 1975 by Glen Campbell.

    • 0 avatar
      BoogerROTN

      Your observation doesn’t seem to jive with the fact that one of the largest truck manufacturing plants in Europe is the Daimler-Benz plant in Wörth (Rheinland Pfalz).

      Source: Relative interned there, landlord worked there, I used to cut-the-rug at the A65 disco in Kandel, other mundane life experiences, etc.

      Official source:
      http://www.emercedesbenz.com/autos/mercedes-benz/classic/mercedes-benz-history-the-worth-truck-plant-in-germany/

  • avatar
    Brumus

    You guys who continually complain about the weekend warriors and penicularly challenged guys driving American pickups, just wait to see the douches and douchettes who’ll be driving this thing should it ever make it to North America.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Needs bigger wheels. (/s)

  • avatar
    Joss

    If anything like Sprinter utility the transmission will shift like sxxt with serious turbo lag. The magnetic locks will need to be reprogrammed – no its not the fob battery…

    Beasty boys will pry off badges with jagged hunting knives.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Well, I had to wonder the first time i visited Germany to see more than a handful of big grilled vehicles there with horseshoes affixed to the grille with the proper concavity pointing upwards. The only other time I has seen such a thing was on Texas Pickup trucks. Maybe there are a few subterranean roots running between Swabia and Bavaria and Texas.

  • avatar
    lon888

    “Mercedes Trucks – Built Drugstore Cowboy Tough”.

  • avatar

    The same a**hole who buys a Donzi boat is the same a**hole who tows it with this thing.


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