The all-new Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute has a big talking point – a V6 diesel engine that has more power than anything in the segment.
That’s quite a headline act, considering the Volkswagen Amarok V6 launched with a class-leading level of power less than a year ago. But the new 3.0-litre V6 engine in the Mercedes-Benz X-Class Power flagship model will better its German rival for outright grunt.
The engine is good for 190kW of power, which is 25kW more than the Amarok V6, and an equal 550Nm of torque. It’s worth noting, though, that the VW has an overboost function that allows it to push out 180kW and 580Nm for a short period…
Anyway, the Benz engine helps it stand apart from its donor ute, the Nissan Navara (despite the fact the X-Class uses the same four-cylinder single- and twin-turbo diesel engines in the lower grade Pure and Progressive models respectively) and Mercedes-Benz Vans chief Volker Mornhinweg told Aussie media at the launch of the X-Class that the choice to include a V6 was clear from the outset.
“Pick-up wise, we had these kind of discussions – but we thought to position the product as a pick-up it might be appropriate with a V6,” he said.
“For the future we will see – it depends what’s going on, legislation wise, because in the meantime we are not free with what we can do there.”
Mornhinweg suggested that the light commercial vehicle (LCV) arm of the business had previously shelved a V6, the one that used to be offered in the Viano people-mover, and they were cautious at the time as to what the reaction would be from customers.
But, as he put it, customers haven’t been perturbed by the lack of the V6 drivetrain in the newer V-Class model.
“To be really extremely honest with you, we had a really big discussion with the V-Class.
“Before we launched the V-Class – this was obvious when customers listened and asked ‘what’s going on here?’ – and with the former V6, the V-Class was quite successful.
“But when you have a look at the trend with CO2 emissions and so forth, it’s not that easy to fulfil all the legislation, and also – to be honest – to invest in a huge line-up of powertrains into one LCV,” he said. “Sure, it's a private-driven one, but economical-wise, it’s not that successful.
“We had a lot of discussions with ourselves and in the meantime we decided the V-Class with a four-cylinder in-line engine with 140kW, which is performance-wise the same level as the V6 was in the past," he said... although that's not quite right, because the Viano, in its final iteration, had 165kW of power and 440Nm of torque, where the V-Class's twin-turbo four-pot has 140kW but an identical 440Nm.
“So, now we are roughly four years in the market, and I can tell you, our expectations were really blown into the sky with the four-cylinder engine. Nobody is asking for the V6.”
But it is clear that people expected a V6, and it's fair to assume the Amarok is the impetus. We can’t wait to do a comparison between the only two V6 utes on the market, but we’ll have to wait until at least mid-2018 for that.
Read all about the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class details here.