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Last night, Mercedes-Benz revealed two versions of what it calls the Concept X-Class. The Stuttgart automaker says these concepts provide a “concrete” preview of its upcoming bakkie, which will be launched late in 2017.
So, what do these concepts – and the accompanying press material and quotes from various executives – tell us? Well, it’s early days, of course, but we picked out five key points…
1. It will be called X-Class … not GLT
In the months leading up to this reveal, the motoring world was all but convinced that the Mercedes-Benz pickup would be called the “GLT”, which would see it positioned alongside the German brand’s SUV portfolio. There was, of course, mention of the possibility of an X-Class badge, but GLT was thought to be the overwhelming favourite. Turns out, Mercedes chose X-Class…
2. The flagship will use a V6 diesel
Up until now, Mercedes had made no mention of the sort of powertrains it planned to offer in the new bakkie. But at the unveiling, Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, confirmed that the range-topping version of the production X-Class will indeed employ the brand’s “high-torque” six-cylinder engine, linked to permanent all-wheel drive. However, we still expect lower-spec derivatives to use Renault-Nissan powerplants.
3. It will be able to tow this much…
According to Mercedes, the flagship model equipped with the V6 oil-burner will be capable of towing “up to 3,5 tons”, and will boast a payload of “more than 1,1 tons”. The somewhat obscure example it provides? “Enough power for transporting some four cubic metres of firewood on the pickup bed and a sail boat hooked up to the trailer coupling”.
4. Mercedes promises an ‘attractive price’
How much will it cost? This is the question on everyone’s lips, but it’s not one that will be answered for quite some time. Right now, the most expensive bakkie (here’s a list from July) on the South African market is the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 4,5D-4D LX V8 double-cab, at R731 100. While it seems plainly obvious that the poshest X-Class derivatives will easily surpass this figure, Mercedes-Benz says the X-Class “will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price”. Make of that what you will.
5. SA-spec models will be built in Spain
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class will be bolted together – alongside the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan – at two global production sites: Renault’s plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018, and at Nissan’s plant in Barcelona, Spain, from next year. And it has now been confirmed that South African models will be imported from the latter.
Read more about the Concept X-Class (and see more images of the second version of the concept pictured below) here…