We’ve heard the phrase “the Mercedes-Benz of pickup trucks” get tossed around on more than a few occasion. It’s taking on a brand-new meaning, though, because Mercedes-Benz has quite literally introduced a midsized, body-on-frame pickup truck. Named X-Class, the model was developed for global markets.
The X-Class was previewed last year by a pair of futuristic-looking concept cars. Their design has been considerably toned down during the transition to a production model. Up front, the X stands out with a tall, twin-slat grille similar to the one found on Mercedes’ crossovers and SUVs, and swept-back headlights. The rear end receives vertical lights with LED inserts, and wide tailgate that makes loading and unloading bulky items a breeze. And, isn’t that what a truck is supposed to do?
The lineup includes basic, work-oriented models with steel wheels and cloth upholstery, and more luxurious versions with alloy wheels, leather upholstery, and all the high-tech features you’d expect to find in a Benz. It’s a truck designed to work, play, or both.
Careful observers will point out the kink in the belt line betrays the X’s origins. As a product of the strategic alliance between Mercedes parent company Daimler and Renault-Nissan, it shares its underpinnings with the Nissan Navara, which is essentially the next-gen Frontier that for some mysterious reason is sold everywhere except in America.
Mechanically, the entry-level X220d receives a 2.3-liter four-cylinder diesel that makes 163 horsepower when it’s equipped with a single turbocharger, and a more usable 190 horsepower when it gets a twin-turbo setup. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard, but the twin-turbo oil-burner can be hooked up to a seven-speed automatic at an extra cost. Buyers are asked to choose between rear- and all-wheel drive.
Later in the production run, Mercedes will introduce a flagship model named X350d that benefits from a V6 turbodiesel tuned to produce 258 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. The six-cylinder exclusively ships with an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, and it’s fitted with a start/stop system to keep fuel economy in check. In its most powerful configuration, the X can haul nearly 2,300 pounds.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class will make its public debut this fall at the Frankfurt Auto Show. It will go on sale shortly after in Europe and in an array of other global markets, including Latin America and Africa. However, a Mercedes-Benz spokesman told Digital Trends that the X-Class will not be sold in the United States. If you want a midsized pickup with luxurious amenities, your best choice on this side of the pond is the GMC Canyon Denali.
The idea of a Mercedes-Benz pickup might sound a little bit odd, but it’s not the first of its kind. The Stuttgart-based brand has sold several pickups over the past decades, including two- and four-door variants of the w115 — the predecessor to today’s E-Class — that were built in Argentina for the local market.
Updated by Ronan Glon: Added information about the different X-Class variants, and more pictures.
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