Transport

Mercedes-Benz launches first X-Class ute

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Mercedes-Benz X-Klasse – Progressive Exterieur

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the production version of its first-ever ute, the X-Class, ahead of its arrival in Australian showrooms early next year.

Available as a dual cab only for the time being, the X-Class – which is based on the Nissan Navara – will launch with a 2.3L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine in two states of tune, and will follow up with a flagship V6 diesel around the middle of the year.

The vehicle will be offered in three model variants – Pure, at the entry level, which will be aimed specifically at tradespeople looking for a more functional ute without loading up too heavily on equipment; Progressive, which will have extra styling flourishes and ‘comfort’ features; and Power, which will come with all the bells and whistles.

Pricing and final specification details are still to be announced, but Mercedes’ first foray into the high-volume but increasingly competitive one-tonne utility segment will be shipped from Nissan’s factory in Barcelona, Spain, offering a mix of engine, transmission and driveline choices.

There are no plans for a single or extra cab body style, but the rear end of the dual cab will at least have the option of cab chassis or the tub you see in the picture.

At the entry level, the X220d 2.3L single-turbo diesel produces 120kW of power and 403Nm of torque while the higher-output twin-turbocharged X250d delivers 140kW/450Nm. Both of these engine outputs are identical to Navara, although only a six-speed manual gearbox will be available on the X220d.

This manual and the option of a seven-speed automatic are offered on the X250d, while both four-cylinder variants will be available with a 4×2 or conventional part-time 4×4 driveline, along with a diff lock, hill-descent control and low-range gearing.

Standing the X-Class apart from Navara, the X350d V6 diesel is a 190kW/550Nm 3L unit that takes the Benz ute to the top of the market in terms of power – its closest rival is the 165kW/550Nm Volkswagen Amarok V6 – and combines with a 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic gearbox and Mercedes’ 4Matic permanent four-wheel drive system.

The transmission has steering-mounted shift paddles, a fuel-saving ‘Eco’ start/stop function and a ‘Dynamic Select’ system that allows the driver to shift between various modes that modify the engine characteristics and transmission shift points (Comfort, Eco, Sport, Manual and Offroad).

Mercedes will also offer a 122kW 4×2 petrol model – dubbed X200 – for select left-hand-drive markets such as the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, but there are no moves to bring it to Australia at this stage.

Payload is around the one-tonne mark for all variants, while maximum braked towing capacity is 3,200kg for the 4×2 variants and 3,500kg for the 4x4s, including the V6.

The tray can hold a Euro-spec pallet between the wheel arches, while this area also contains a 12V socket and an LED light that illuminates the entire load bed (operated by a switch in the centre console).

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