When you think of Mercedes what normally comes into mind? To most car enthusiasts when they think of Mercedes Benz they think of premium luxury limousines, mind blowing supercharged AMG saloons, or the sleek lines of the SL class roadsters.
The very last thing that would come to mind are pickup trucks, which in Europe have normally been the preserve or more agricultural or unrefined machines more suited to the farmer's field or the building site as opposed to the open road.
Not so, say Mercedes Benz who are challenging this viewpoint with the release of their latest concept mid-size double cab pickup truck called the X class. The X class is a hulking machine that is alien to what we traditionally expect to see from as a Mercedes, whilst being automatically recognizable as a Mercedes design as at the same time.
Following the current Mercedes design philosophy of "Sensual Purity" which is essentially a combination of emotive and intelligent design styles, which in this concept car according to the designer means that the look of the car is influenced by a combination of "hot & cold" with specific elements of the car such as the muscular bodywork representing the "hot" elements whilst the "cold" elements are represented by the technical details touches such as the angular shapes.
All in all, this design philosophy has resulted in a very attractive modern looking yet practical design. The Pick up whilst looking very sleek and refined, visually it still maintains a tough and rugged bruiser like appearance, which it should for 4x4 pickup truck. Although as no show plates were used in the reveal, there may be some amendments to the concept design for the final production version, to accommodate road legal number plates.
Two variations of the concept were shown during the reveal, The Explorer and the Adventurer, the explorer being the much classier looking of the two variations, sitting on 22 inch wheels with its very smooth design it looks to be the version of the pickup that would be most suited to the road and the urban environment. Whilst the Adventurer variation has a much more rugged look and feel about it with its fat chunky mud tires combined with lashings of unpainted black plastic trim give much more of feel of tough as nails go anywhere type of vehicle, this is feel is further reinforced by the very prominent fire extinguisher present on the dashboard of the adventurer model.
Aside from the fire extinguisher, the interiors of both variations of these pickups, are more or less standard Mercedes-Benz fare, not that different from what can be found in a premium spec E class, such as high-quality leather and materials combined with high-tech infotainment systems and technology.
Although the concept car is a Mercedes Benz on the outside, it is mostly based on the well proven and tested Nissan Navara pick up platform on the inside but with a Mercedes Benz rear axle, Nissan also provides most of the 4 cylinder diesel engines with only the range-topping V6 engine being made by Mercedes themselves. The Nissan platform is tried and tested although some Mercedes purists may feel that they are buying a Nissan in a posh frock, seeing as some of the critical engineering components such as certain engines are not actually from Mercedes.
For many the badge appeal and attractive design should be one of the main attractions, but the X Class is not just a pretty face it also very practical as is to be expected from a pickup truck, with a 1.2 ton payload capacity and 3.5 ton pulling capacity, heavy loads and towing most caravans should therefore be a cinch for this machine.
The outdoorsmen among the X class buyers should opt for the adventurer version of the pickup, as it seems to be much better suited to off-road driving, it comes also comes with a winch which can be useful in difficult terrain situations. Please note that driving off road can potentially damage the vehicle and its bodywork if not done correctly, damage to features such as number plates may require replacement number plates to be sought.
Expected to hit European markets in late 2017, The X Class may just be the Vanguard to an onslaught of Premium brand pickups to hit our shores.