Mercedes X-Class is dynamically and visually unique, unlike any other pick-up, Nissan Navara platform donor included, according to Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle boss Volker Mornhinweg quoted by Autocar.
The X-Class shares with the Navara the ladder-frame chassis, five-link live rear axle and McPherson strut front suspension. Even so, Mornhinweg insists Mercedes’ first-ever large scale production pick-up is different: “We knew what had to be done. A hell of a lot of work, but we learned from our SUV experience. You hardly feel the difference between off-road and on-road. I wanted a precise line through corners, and it has crisp handling – you can feel what the car is doing.”
Refinement has also been a priority; this is not usually an area of excellence for pick-ups. Morninhinwg added that “a lot of work” had gone into this area.
The vehicle’s lead engineer, Klaus Benzinger, went on to say that, during the development of the X-Class, Mercedes gave up using its original set of benchmark comparators because their dynamics were no longer relevant to the X-Class, such has been the progress made with it. Contributing to this improved road behavior is a wider track compared than the Navara’s, which increases stability and grip while reducing body roll.
The unique character of the X-Class will likewise distinguish the engine range. The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The high-torque engine is not offered by Nissan for its Navara. 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 on-demand differential locks channel the power to where traction is best. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked. This will make it possible to safely master difficult obstacles and inclines.
The new model series will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price. The pickup 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 plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.