Mercedes has announced it will be entering the pick-up market and has unveiled a near-production ready version of the X-Class to show what it will look like.
The Mercedes X-Class will go on sale towards the end of 2017 and will come in two flavours, Adventurer and Explorer. Both use the same ladder frame shared with the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan as part of a recent Mercedes deal with the Renault-Nissan alliance.
The X-Class Adventurer is the rugged, go anywhere variant of the two that promises to be a hardy off-roader. As for the X-Class Explorer, it cares more about being luxurious and refined, which will set it apart from its more functional (and no doubt cheaper) pick-up rivals.
Clear similarities with the Nissan Navara can be seen, particularly the profile, but the five-seater double-cab design of the X-Class does include a few Mercedes references to make it stand out. Plus the interior offers the sort of luxury you expect from the German manufacturer.
The Adventurer is especially meaty looking – rather like that bonkers 6×6 Merc – and features an electric winch to ensure it can also walk the walk. It also has a fire extinguisher, just in case things get really heated, and can take up to 1,200kg of weight on the rear deck.
As for the engine and powertrain, a permanent 4Matic four-wheel drive setup with two locking differentials is expected. Reports suggest the top-spec X-Class will have a 3.0-litre V6 diesel and Mercedes is yet to rule out a high performance AMG version.
Mercedes was brave enough to head into unchartered waters with the M-Class back in the day and this may just be a smart move. The pick-up market is on the up and though few people actually need a pick-up, a posh offering may just tempt luxury SUV buyers into something different.