Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new premium pick-up truck: the stylish, sleek X-Class. The midsize truck comes with permanent all-wheel drive and high-torque V6 engines, and is set to hit markets in Europe and South America late 2017. (No, the US is not on that list.) There are two major versions of the truck, one focused on off-road use and the other highlighting Mercedes' premium stylings.
"With the Mercedes-Benz pickup we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio," said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche in a press statement. "The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."
Both X-Class variants look unmistakably like a Mercedes-Benz (you'd know even without the badge) but come with a few differentiating features. The off-road focused model (dubbed the "Powerful Adventurer") has a higher ride-height and ground clearance, along with extra protection on the wheel arches, an electric winch at the front, and a metal hook at the back. While the more genteel "Stylish Explorer" model has more of an SUV feel to it, with cleaner running lines, flared wheel arches, and 22-inch light-alloy wheels. Both, of course, have all the usual technological extras, including a central touchscreen display "similar to a smartphone" and "modern driver assistance."
As a decidedly premium vehicle, the X-Class might look unusual to US consumers, but Mercedes-Benz is banking on the expanding popularity of the pick-up truck sector to drive sales. The company says truck drivers aren't just looking for a mechanical workhorse anymore; they want a vehicle that can do duty for both "private and commercial use," bridging the gap between urban and city use.
Potential customers cited by Mercedes-Benz include "families with an active lifestyle and an affinity to premium products," and "successful adventurers who live in an urban environment." (Otherwise known as rich people and rich people.) And despite the polished look of the X-Class, it's certainly got power, with the vehicle's robust ladder-type frame giving it a payload capacity of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of around 3.5 tons.
The X-Class will be available in European, Australian, and South African markets in late 2017, and then in Latin American countries the following year. The company noted that "while a pickup is under consideration for the US market at some point, no timeline is available for a decision to be made."