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Mercedes’ SA-bound X-Class bakkie: Here's all you need to know

2016-10-26 08:17

COMING TO SA: Two nearly production-ready concepts of the long-awaited X-Class bakkie have been shown to the world media. Image: Wheels24

  Gallery

The new Mercedes-Benz bakkie has been revealed. Check out Ferdi de Vos' close-ups of the new Concept X-Class.

Ferdi de Vos

Sweden - The wait is over. The much speculated about Mercedes-Benz bakkie is finally here - heralded by two nearly production-ready concepts of the long-awaited X-Class.

And according to Mercedes-Benz the world’s “first premium bakkie” will combine the best of two worlds, as demonstrated by two design variants of the concept model; The Stylish Explorer and Powerful Adventurer.

The concept X-Class “powerful adventurer” illustrates that the future X-Class will possess all the strengths of a traditional bakkie - “tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability”.

The Stylish explorer goes a step further and shows what will distinguish the bakkie; style, sporty design and all the trimmings we’ve come to expect from a vehicle bearing the Mercedes star.  

Headed for South Africa 

The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe is set to begin later in 2017.

How much will it cost? According to Mercedes-Benz: “The new model series will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price.” At the time of publishing, the most expensive bakkie in SA is the Toyota Land Cruiser 79 4.5D-4D LX V8 double-cab, at R731 100. Here's hoping Mercedes makes good on its promise of an an attractive price.

READ: Mercedes reveals new SA-bound bakkie - Meet the X-Class double-cab

The model will be manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan factory in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017.

The key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Europe and Russia.

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class

Engines, transmissions, load capacity

The top-of-the-range model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential-locks. The traction system and the electrically operated differential- locks channel the power to where traction is best. 

According to the automaker: “The powerful drive system and the tough ladder-type frame will make a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons possible.”


X-Class Stylish Explorer or Powerful Adventurer... Which is your favourite Mercedes-Benz bakkie concept? Email us  and reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

PICS: Mercedes teases new SA-bound bakkie

At the same time, the specially constructed suspension with wide axles, a five-link rear axle with coil springs, and a precisely calibrated spring/damper set-up will ensure a high ride comfort – on the road and off the road. 

The bakkie benefits from Mercedes’ driver assistance systems such as cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors as well as a host of safety systems as standard.

A video posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

Huge investment

Daimler AG will make investments in the high nine figures (euro) in the new model series by the time of the market launch in late 2017 as the Mercedes-Benz X-Class. 

Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: "Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment.”

WATCH: Mercedes teases new SA-bound bakkie

Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: "We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world's first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle.

"Our X-Class will be a bakkie that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. 

“As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before."

A video posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

Check out the interiors of both concepts:

X-Class Stylish Explorer:

The X-Class Stylish Explorer, painted in white metallic, demonstrates the style elements the production version might receive. 

It’s distinctive front represents an evolution of the hallmark SUV face of the brand – with a more massive powerdome on the bonnet and LEDs extending across the front. 

It uses a classic SUV front apron and strongly flared wheel arches at the same time, the front benefits from a “single-louvre” grille, with centrally positioned Mercedes star, usually found on the automaker’s coupés.


X-Class Stylish Explorer or Powerful Adventurer... Which is your favourite Mercedes-Benz bakkie concept? Email us  and reach us via Facebook  and Twitter.

The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use. The concept model is fitted with 22” light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish.

The running boards are integrated into the bodwork. The extremely short front overhang, the very long rear overhang and two long lines stretching along the side amplify its sports-car inspired design.

Inside, it borrows heavily from the GL and C-Class as is evident by the contrasting nappa leather  throughout the cabin. It has oak elements with the brushed, polished aluminium trim. It features a free-standing, high-resolution central display borrowed from its siblings. 

Powerful adventurer

For those seeking something more rugged, the Powerful Adventurer features the classic traits of a pick-up.
 
The powerful adventurer sports a “lemonax” metallic paintjob and is aimed as the more ‘workhorse’ variant of the X-Class.

The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer towers above it all with a height of 1.90m. Large tyres of size 35x11.50, the huge ground clearance, and the athletic design instill respect even at first glance. 

The brand's hallmark SUV radiator grille with two louvres, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches additionally underscore the superior off-road aesthetics. 

It has an electric winch at the front and a metal hook at the rear. The model has carbon-fibre elements throughout, metallic brushed surfaces, and a bold colour scheme.  Inside it uses glossy black nappa leather and carbon-style black embossed leather surfaces. 

A photo posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

Market shift

Worldwide the market for mid-size pickups is undergoing a radical change. Gone are the days when they were bought as mere "workhorses". 

Instead, they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for a simultaneous private and commercial use and as vehicles for a strictly private use. The percentage of privately used pickups has been growing steadily for years.
 
Accordingly, the double cab has emerged as the dominating body style, because it offers room for up to five persons. More and more private and commercial customers ask for vehicles with the characteristics and comfort features of a passenger car. 

Based on its market research studies, Mercedes-Benz has identified five customer groups for the X-Class, which are of different relevance in the individual countries.

One important target group is constituted by families with an active lifestyle and an affinity to premium products. They use the pickup mostly for commuting to work, for shopping, taking the kids to school or sports activities, for weekend trips, and vacation. 

A similar development took place in the segment of off-road vehicles some 20 years ago. Back then, Mercedes-Benz was the first premium manufacturer to launch a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the M-Class, and completely redefined the off-road segment – with lasting success.

A high-tech bakkie

As is the norm for Mercedes-Benz, customers of the X-Class will be able to choose from different equipment scopes to customise the exterior and interior. 

In addition, the premium brand will develop a special range of accessories for the bakkie (i.e load-bay covers) and various styling elements. 

The X-Class borrows elements from its C-Class and V-Class siblings such as the high-quality materials, infotainment system and seats. 

The model is fitted with an on-board SIM card enabling drivers to use the extensive Mercedes Me connected services. Drivers can connect with their bakkie by smartphone, tablet or PC at any time and from any location. For example, to send navigation destinations to the vehicle or query where the pickup is parked and how much fuel is in the tank.

In addition to these optional remote online services, standard services such as accident recovery, maintenance management and breakdown management will also be available. Variety will likewise distinguish the engine range. 

A photo posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on


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