DRIVING DYNAMICS

The Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS illustrates that the X-Class will combine the hallmark strengths of a pickup – tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability – with the classic characteristics of a star-branded vehicle – design, comfort, driving dynamics, and safety. This will make Mercedes-Benz the first premium pickup manufacturer to account for the changing customer requirements in the global segment of mid-size pickups.

With the pickup, Mercedes-Benz Vans will expand its product range with a fourth model series. At the same time, the brand bearing the three-pointed star will become the first premium manufacturer to occupy the promising segment of mid-size pickups. Daimler AG will make investments in the high nine figures (Euro) in the new model series by the time of the market launch. It will be launched in late 2017 under the name Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

Unveiled in Sweden last October, the Concept X-CLASS study shows that the first star-branded premium pickup will combine the best of two worlds. This is demonstrated by the study’s two design variants. The concept car painted in lemonax metallic focuses on the classic traits of a pickup – toughness, functionality, strength, and off-road capability – with its electric winch, large, size 35 x 11.50 tyres, and an under-ride guard. The second concept car painted in white metallic combines these strengths with the design, comfort, driving dynamics, and safety for which star-branded vehicles are renowned. It impressively illustrates how the Mercedes-Benz pickup will make a decidedly stylish statement in its segment and in the urban environment.

The contrast of emotionally appealing and yet purist surface treatment (hot) and technically precise, innovative and clever details (cool) reinterprets the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. The athletic design lends the concept car a markedly expressive and dynamic appearance. The distinctive front represents an evolution of the hallmark SUV face of the brand – with a more massive power dome on the bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The classic SUV front apron and the strongly flared wheel arches put even more emphasis on the sense of width, and give the vehicle an even more solid stance on the road. At the same time, the front cites the single-louvre grille with centrally positioned Mercedes star, the face of the elegant Mercedes-Benz coupés.

The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use. 22-inch light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish give the concept car a towering and superior stance. The running boards are integrated into the bodywork and emphasize the athletically sculpted body. Depending on the angle of the incoming light, the paintwork developed specifically for this concept car lends the urban pickup a look that gives the athletic profile even more emotional appeal.

The extremely short front overhang, the very long rear overhang and two long lines stretching along the side amplify the focus placed on driving dynamics. The rear sports the hallmark chromed SUV trim at the lower edge and, as a distinctive feature, a continuous LED light strip in a slim chrome surround on the tailgate. It points to the unique character of the future pickup.

The interior of the concept car is an equally emotional and stylish statement – characterized by an intriguing contrast of warm and cool colors, as well as by high-quality materials. The world of colors and materials translates the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. The sensual touch and feel of the brown, very natural nubuck leather on the seats provides a cosy feel. This warm color, which is also found on the dashboard, is combined with cool white nappa leather. The trim made of open-pore smoked oak contrasts with the brushed and polished aluminum trim elements. The world of modern luxury is realized in a highly stylish fashion.

The modern flair is further boosted by round air vents, the free-standing high-resolution central display as well as the central controller and multifunctional touchpad. Similar to a smartphone, all telematics functions can be controlled with the touchpad by using gestures or by entering characters and digits. Mercedes-Benz thus introduces the most modern control and display concept in the segment of mid-size pickups. At the same time, the characteristics and functionalities typical in the pickup segment have been retained, such as the handbrake in the centre console.

The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The high-torque engine will provide high driving dynamics on the road and off the road. The all-wheel-drive system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. The traction system and the electrically operated on-demand differential locks will channel the power to where traction is best. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked. This will make it possible to safely master difficult obstacles and inclines.

The powerful drive system and the tough ladder-type frame will make a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons possible. Enough power for transporting some four cubic meters of firewood on the pickup bed and a sail boat hooked up to the trailer coupling, for example. At the same time, the specially constructed suspension with wide axles, a five-link rear axle with coil springs, and a precisely calibrated spring/damper set-up will ensure a high ride comfort – on the road and off the road. The pickup bearing the three-pointed star will impress with precise steering, a comfortable ride, and agile cornering. It will absorb bumps in a superior fashion, making it a perfect fit for the urban environment.

Like all Mercedes vehicles, the pickup will be distinguished by exemplary safety. Modern driver assistance systems based on cameras, radar, and ultrasound sensors will support and relieve the driver in many situations, and in so doing equally enhance safety and comfort. A host of assistance systems will already come as standard.

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