The highly stylised Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class models shown in Sweden overnight give a glimpse as to what to expect, but there’s still very little known about the exact specifications of the utes.
A lot of the talk was of a flagship production model with a turbo-diesel V6 engine and permanent all-wheel drive – and with good reason. In some applications in Europe that engine is rated at a stonking 195kW of power and 620Nm of torque, eclipsing the current class-leader in the segment, the soon-to-arrive Volkswagen Amarok V6 (which has 165kW and 550Nm).
That’s not to say those outputs are what the V6 engine will churn out when it’s offered in the X-Class, but it would be a pretty strong selling point for the dual-cab ute - particularly if, in that specification, it had a 3.5-tonne towing capacity.
The other drivetrains set to be offered include a four-cylinder turbo diesel, which is expected to be the same 2.3-litre twin-turbo unit seen in high-spec Navara models (not to mention the Renault Master van). That engine has 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque in the Navara.
Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said at the launch of the new ute concept that the brand will have a broad range of drivetrains to suit different buyer demands.
“All of them, diesel and gasoline,” he said, before going on to clarify what he meant by that sweeping statement.
“We have the V6, two four-cylinder engines – diesel and gasoline – and then we have 4x4 and we have 4x2. That is it as, far as powertrains are concerned,” he said. “And then we have manual and two different automatics going with the different engines.”
Mornhinweg said that the full range of engines will be available from the start of production, though it is currently unclear if Australia will get the petrol engine, or indeed what the engine will be. It may be a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, with outputs similar to the either the C200 (135kW/300Nm) or C300 (175kW/370Nm).
Dr Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and chairman of the board of Daimler, said the engine options – no matter which stable they come from – will meet buyers' needs.
“Altogether our cooperation is based on the discussions and benefits either side sees in the cooperation. And if all parties are convinced it’s a win for them, they’ll do it. There’s nothing forcing something down the throat of the other one – this wouldn’t make sense.
“The four-cylinder engine they have in the Navara, for example, is a very powerful engine with a lot of torque when it comes to a four-cylinder,” he said.
“But we thought when it comes to premium – and one of our core assets is performance in our brand – we also thought the V6 might be the right answer for this demand that customers might have for pick-ups,” Zetsche said.
As for a Mercedes-AMG model with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 stuffed under the bonnet? No. Well, not yet…
“There is no AMG, now every round table is asking this question,” Zetsche said. “Obviously not, there is no plan. But you never know – we’ll see how the market goes, and how this product will be received in the marketplace.”