It’s been hyped up plenty since concepts were revealed late last year, but the real thing is now here: take your first look at the 2018 Mercedes X-Class 4X4 ute.

It’s their first crack at the segment which has been dominated lately by the Ranger and HiLux, who are accounting for almost half of all 4X4 ute sales between them.

Mercedes reckon the 2018 X-Class is the first ute from a 'premium manufacturer'

Mercedes reckon the 2018 X-Class is the first ute from a ‘premium manufacturer’. Gone are those Simex Centipedes tyres, this model looks like it’s sporting some Cooper Discoverer AT3s. We can’t say we’re surprised, but we’re still a little disappointed.

So, what do we know about it? It’s Nissan Navara based, but plenty has changed. It’s going to be available in Australia early 2018. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

X-Class engines

V6 Diesel: This is the one folk will care about the most, and will wrangle the ‘most powerful’ moniker from the V6 Amarok. It’s picked from the current Benz litter of diesel engines, with figures of 190kW and 550Nm. It won’t be available straight away, you’ll have to wait until mid-2018 for the X350 d. Interestingly, this engine has been used in the E-Class with 620Nm, running through a nine-speed transmission. Perhaps that’s something to look forward to in the future …

Mercedes reckon the 2018 X-Class is the first ute from a 'premium manufacturer'

The X-Class interior does look very sharp and modern, and will no-doubt offer some serious luxury for the ute segment.

The V6 diesel will come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox, the ‘7G-TRONIC PLUS, which will be full-time 4X4 and will offer a variety of driving modes: Comfort, Manual, Sport, Eco and Off-road.

Four-cylinder diesel: This one will look familiar to ute buyers, because it’s a dead ringer to the one found under the bonnet of the Navara. It’s the 2.3-litre donk, making 120kW @3,750rpm and 403Nm @ 1,500-2,500rpm with the single-turbo, cheapest specification. This is called the X220 d.

Opt for the twin-turbo 2.3 engine, called the X250 d, and you’ll have 140kW @ 3,750rpm, and 450Nm @ 1,500-2,500rpm. This engine is a strong performer in the Navara, which punches well above it’s listed weight compared to others. It will be interesting to see what Mercedes change, in terms of how it drives, and how diesel clatter is managed.

Both of these 2.3-litre engines will run through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. The press release isn’t clear about specifics on the 4-MATIC 4WD setup, but we will assume it will be a part-time 4X4 setup like the Navara, with selectable low range.

This would have to be first time a Benz has come with steelies, since the 300SL or something.

This would have to be the first time a Benz has come with steelies, since the 300SL or something.

It looks like a locking rear differential will be standard across the range, as well as disc brakes all-round. Hooray. Fuel capacity is listed at 73 litres, plus a 10-litre reserve.

Suspension

Also like the Navara, the 2018 Mercedes X-Class will sport a coil-sprung rear end, which isn’t offered by any other mainstream ute manufacturers. Up front is a double-wishbone independent setup. This will most likely have a different tune to the Navara, so we’ll have to see wait and see how it drives.

Listed payloads of the X-Class look great on paper, but we'll reserve judgement until we give it a good assessment.

Listed payloads of the X-Class look great on paper, but we’ll reserve judgement until we give it a good assessment.

Where it has changed is the wheel track: a wider stance will improve the centre of gravity, and make it look a bit more aggressive at the same time. The wheel track is 1632mm front, and 1625mm back, which is a big difference compared to the 1,570 of the Navara. The wheelbase is unchanged at 3,150mm, or 124 inches in the old money.

Ground clearance is an unimpressive 202mm, which is behind other ute manufacturers. ‘comfort’ suspension is standard, you can opt for a raised, firmer suspension, giving you an extra 20mm of ground clearance at the rear.

The Mercedes will share production with the Navara, out of their facilities in Spain.

The high-spec 'Power' Mercedes X-Class, which will top the range.

The high-spec ‘Power’ Mercedes X-Class, which will top the range.

Specifications

There’s going to be three different spec levels, all aimed at different buyers:

Pure: Is the X-Class at it’s most basic. Think workhorse, with the most basic interiors and 17″ wheels. Being the lightest, this will also be the ute with the best payloads.

Progressive: is the mid-spec option, providing a solid inclusion of specs and gear. Think Ranger XLT, we reckon.

Power: Will have the book thrown at it. There will be big wheels, lots of chrome, a very tasty interior, and the highest price tag of them all. How much? We aren’t sure yet. But it can’t veer away too much from the $67,000 Amarok Ultimate, or the $62,000 Ranger Wiltdtrak, for that matter.

There's going to be a decent list of accessories available with the X-Class, which will include all of the usual suspects for the ute segment.

There’s going to be a decent list of accessories available with the 2018 Mercedes X-Class, which will include all of the usual suspects for the ute segment.

Payloads

Mercedes have listed some solid payloads for the X-Class, showing it should be able to do more than just prance around looking smart. Depending on your spec level, you’ll have up to 1,092kg of capacity to drag around. Highest-spec models will have 918kg of payload. Let’s just hope it does the load lugging better than the Navara.

Like it's German ute counterpart, you can fit a pallet in between the wheel arches on the X-Class

Like it’s German ute counterpart, you can fit a pallet in between the wheel arches on the X-Class

There is 3.5-tonne towing on all 4X4 models, and a 6,200kg GCM. In the worst (heaviest) spec, kerb weight is 2,332kg. That means at full towing, you’ve got a 378kg payload: not the worst, and not the best. Having a compromised GCM is shyster trick by ute manufacturers to promote a 3.5-tonne towing capacity and big payloads, but they always neglect to mention you can’t have both at the same time.

2018 Mercedes X-Class off-road details

Fording depth 600 mm
Ground clearance Front axle 202 mm

Rear axle 221 mm for suspension with raised ground clearance

Approach/Departure

angles

28.8°/23.8°

30.1°/25.9° for suspension with raised ground clearance

Maximum tilt 49.8°

49° for suspension with raised ground clearance

Rampover angle 20.4°

22° for suspension with raised ground clearance

Maximum gradeability 100%
2018 Mercedes X-Class Progressive

“Hey mate, you left your headlights on!”

2018 Mercedes X-Class X250 d Specifications

Wheelbase mm 3150
Track width front/rear mm 1632/1625
Length mm 5340
Width mm 1920
Height mm 1819
EC kerb weight kg 2251 (2259 auto)
Payload kg 999 (991 auto)
Gross vehicle weight

Turning circle

kg

m

3250

13.4

Tank capacity and reserve l 73/10