28 Jul Mercedes-Benz X-Class launch
A significant event took place at FMM in July when Mercedes-Benz used the L-Ormarins Estate’s facilities as part of the international launch of its new X-Class all-terrain pick-up. The event was a major planning and logistics exercise for the combined M-B and museum teams, which included creating an off-road demonstration circuit around the periphery of PlaasPad. No less than 196 journalists from around the world took part, and between 08h00 and 18h00 on one day, following an introduction session each had a turn behind the wheel on the custom-built course as well as taking part in info workshops on site. “The sessions went like a well-oiled machine,” said FMM curator Wayne Harley.
General feedback from the journalists on the X-Class was favourable, a view supported by Wayne who also had a chance to briefly drive the new vehicle, commenting on its impressive performance. Overall, the launch was a great success, “One of the best we have done” being the opinion of some of the overseas M-B staff.
Quoting the vehicle’s press release, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class unites the typical traits of a pick-up – robustness, functionality, strength and off-road capabilities – with the classical characteristics of a real Mercedes – design, comfort, driving dynamics and safety. With the centrally-positioned star, twin-louvre radiator grille, powerfully honed bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings, the X-Class seamlessly fits into the Mercedes-Benz portfolio.
Three trim levels including six seat covers with two leather variants with contrasting topstitching, and two colours for the roof lining provide the widest choice of materials and colours in this vehicle segment. The PURE basic variant caters for classic robust use, PROGRESSIVE is targeted for higher requirements in terms of quality feel and comfort, and POWER is aimed at the high-end variant for urban lifestyles.
A top-of-the-range V6 diesel with 190 kW will be released mid-2018 occupying a leading position in the mid-size pickup segment. The market launch will start with the diesel 120 kW X220d and 140 kW X250d, as well as a 122 kW petrol engine in selected markets. From launch, customers can add a styling bar, side bar, canopy, various covers as well as numerous cargo and off-road options all developed and designed by Mercedes.
Thanks to the wide track, the suspension is tuned for the comfort typical of a Mercedes. Coil springs as well as internally-vented disc brakes are fitted front and rear Mercedes-Benz claims that the X-Class is the first pick-up that offers not just excellent off-road but also superb on-road performance. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system with low-range, and optional differential lock on the rear axle, masters any terrain. From the middle of next year a permanent all-wheel drive will be available.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the X-Class stands out for its exemplary passive and active safety equipment. This includes Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist, among others. Thanks to Mercedes’ ‘Me Connect’, X-Class customers are connected to their vehicle via smartphone at all times, and can call up useful information such as the location of the vehicle or the fuel level, and navigate from door to door.
Market launch begins in November 2017 in Europe. South Africa and Australia will follow at the beginning of 2018, as well as Argentina and Brazil at the beginning of 2019.