Mercedes Benz is obsessively serious about building vehicles. For example, their R&D department has more economic power than most South American countries, and they’ve literally sent planes up in the air to spray the clouds (cloud seeding) over the MB factory in Stuttgart to stop rain and hail stones from marring the finish on the rows of freshly minted Benz-es. Sure, the new GLA sucks, and the GLE Coupe looks like a bulldog taking a dump. But they’ve just built something new, something different. And it’s a pickup truck! (Seriously)
Meet the New Mercedes Benz X-Klasse
Dubbed the X-Class, Mercedes’ new pickup was recently unveiled in Stockholm. And yes, the launch event was about as serious as a Jewish banker’s funeral. They didn’t drop it from the ceiling through a sheet of glass. It didn’t climb up an impossible flight of stairs while towing a horse trailer. There were no dancing girls. No cowboy hats. Just a bunch of constipated-looking German’s trying to express how excited ‘zay’ are.
Now the Mercedes X-Class may sound like some blinged-out moving truck for Samuel L. Jackson, Miley Cyrus, and Rosie O’Donnell to use as they fulfill their pledge to Make America Great Again by moving their collective asses out of the USA. But it isn’t. This is a serious pickup that’s based on the newly redesigned Nissan Navara, which is actually the international version of our own Nissan Frontier. However, U.S. customers can’t get Datsun’s latest midsize truck. Partly because of emissions regulations, but mostly because midsize truck sales are booming in other parts of the world. And Nissan would have to spend a metric shit-ton of money to develop an EPA-friendly engine, for a truck that would ultimately be outsold by the latest Swiffer Wet Jet. American buyers prefer full-sized trucks by a huuuge margin, so most automakers don’t even bother to send us their latest Tacoma fighters.
Since all of Europe could practically fit in Shaq’s left shoe, and Asia has more people per square inch than Kim Kardashian has selfies, size is a prime concern for international truck buyers (and apparently, the Kardashian sisters too). Mercedes is projecting global midsize truck sales to reach 2.8 million a year by 2025, and Daimler Benz happens to know quite a lot about trucks. You see, Mercedes has been making vans and delivery trucks for nearly as long as they’ve been building cars. They also make all-terrain military trucks like the G-Wagen and Unimog. Plus, the two guys from that American Pickers show drove a Mercedes Sprinter van for like 4 seasons.
Even though there’s a wealth of truck-building expertise hiding behind that three-pointed star, they decided to crib a ready-made pickup from their Japanese development partner Nissan. This eHarmony match has already given birth to the Mercedes GLA and Infiniti OX30, so another utilitarian mashup seemed logical. It also helps that Nissan can build the X-Class alongside the Navara at their plants in Spain and Argentina. Which handily leaves MB production capabilities unencumbered by this experimental model.
Currently the Mercedes X-Class pickup is listed as a “concept”, so we don’t have all the obsessively nerdy details that MB usually provides. Instead, the lengthy press release is chock full of marketing speak like “athletic sculpting”, “new levels of”, “superior control”, and 6,759 different phrases that start with the word “dynamic”. It does say however, that Daimler is spending nearly $1 Billion dollars to develop this “dynamic” new ego hauler. So, it will likely have very little in common with the lowly Nissan on which it’s based.
Known Facts & Features
- Ladder frame with rear coil springs and a multi-link arrangement
- Permanent AWD with transfer case
- Lockable center and rear differentials
- 2,000 lb cargo capacity
- 7,000 lb towing capacity
- Top-spec engine will be a V6 turbodiesel
- Available driver assistance systems will use cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors
- A SIM card based communication module will allow for all sorts of connected features
The Mercedes X-Class concept was presented in two distinctly different forms; one for the street/mall/county club, and one for the actual country.
“Stylish Explorer” / The White One
We certainly hope there was something lost in the German-to-English translation, because ‘Stylish Explorer’ sounds like it came from a Chinese coat description on eBay. Weird name aside, this version of the MB X-Class Longhorn XLT Denali is designed for pretentious city folk, and it comes with a leather and wood lined cabin, 22-inch rims, integrated side steps, a shouty grille, and an LED tailgate tail light treatment that makes the back of the truck look like the Jetson’s toaster.
“Powerful Adventurer” / The Piss Colored One
Admit it, the off-road MB X-Class Raptor Rebel Z71 is the same color as post-bender urine… Anyhoo. This gnarly looking Mercedes X-Class is the most truck-like of the pair, and features knobby 35-in tires, skid plates, fender flares, an electric winch, bedrail bars, a grate-style tailgate, and a dash mounted fire extinguisher. If a dedicated X-Class off roader makes it into production, you can reasonably expect it to come with a tricked-out suspension, and maybe different programming/settings for the traction management system.
On Sale Date
The Mercedes Benz X-Class will officially launch for European, Australian and South African markets in late 2017. South American customers will have to wait until production begins at the Renault-Nissan plant in Argentina, sometime in 2018. As you might’ve already guessed, Mercedes say they have no immediate plans to sell their luxury trucks in the United States. So, if Hannah Montana wants to take her [insert your favorite item here] collection to Canada, she’ll just have to borrow Rosie’s jacked up Silverado.