2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class Release Date, Price and Specs

Mercedes-Benz came flying out of left field last October when it introduced the Concept X-Class, a two-pronged approach to a luxury pickup that either focused on lifestyle or actual ruggedness. Like it or not, pickup trucks are equal parts workhorse and lifestyle item now, which is why Mercedes-Benz realized it was time to give the midsize pickup segment some serious luxury.

The X-Class doesn’t stray too far from the concept. The trademark design elements are all present and accounted for, from the three-pointed star in the grille to the headlights that look at home on any other large Mercedes-Benz vehicle. It appears all X-Class pickups will come in the four-door crew cab configuration, and the bed out back looks like any other. One thing that’s changed between the concept and the production version is the taillight arrangement — it’s no longer a solid strip of LEDs around the bed. That’s a shame from a design standpoint, but it should make taillight repairs and replacements much easier and probably a bit less expensive.

As for the interior, you’ll recognize a large chunk of its innards — the steering wheel, the vents, the “floating” infotainment screen — from other modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The automatic-transmission shifter looks a bit low-class and out of place, based on pictures we’ve seen from the launch event, though, with a more traditional stick-type shifter and some plastic cladding around it. Trucks do need some degree of ruggedness, so it’s not like Mercedes is going to load up every X-Class with high-end leather seats and dashboards covered in gold filament.

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So, clearly it’s got the lifestyle angle down. But what of the honest-to-goodness truck stuff? According to Mercedes-Benz, the X-Class is capable of hauling up to 1.1 metric tons (2,425 pounds) in the bed, and it can tow up to 3.5 metric tons (7,716 pounds).

The headlights might be slightly different, as well as the taillights, but surprisingly little has changed between concept and production.


Mercedes-Benz

The X-Class will need some serious engines to get all that weight moving. The base X200 wields a 165-horsepower gas I4, and the X220d and X250d sport two different diesel I4s (163 hp and 190 hp, respectively), but if that isn’t enough, there’s a range-topping diesel V6 with 258 hp. Buyers have a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, as well as a choice between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the latter of which comes with a low range and an optional locking differential. There’s also a middle-ground drivetrain option that acts like a rear-wheel-drive truck until it needs to engage the front axle for additional traction.

In keeping with proper truck tradition, there won’t be any fancy Mercedes-Benz air suspension here. Instead, the X-Class will sport a set of static coil springs on all four corners.

It is still a Mercedes-Benz, though, and that definitely shows with its technological complement. The X-Class packs a variety of active and passive safety systems, including autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist and traffic sign recognition. It will also work with Mercedes-Benz’s connected-car services, so owners will be able to locate or otherwise check up on their trucks remotely. This connectivity will also permit door-to-door navigation, with instructions for first-mile and last-mile navigation appearing along with whatever’s loaded into the navigation system.

Mercedes-Benz will offer the X-Class in one of three distinct lines — Pure, Progressive and Power. Pure is for the real truck people, placing a focus on ruggedness and utility, making it more of a work truck than a lifestyle item. Progressive splits the difference between Pure and Power, adding more luxurious appointments and giving it more of a work-and-play vibe. Power, on the other hand, is all about styling, comfort and performance, marketed towards those would would buy a pickup truck as a lifestyle enhancer and not as much for work.

Underneath all the flashy bits, it’s not entirely a Daimler product. The frame comes from the Nissan Navara, a truck that’s not currently sold in the US. The previous-generation Navara, however, is still in the US — it’s just called the Nissan Frontier. The X-Class will be manufactured in a joint operation between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Its fate in the US is still uncertain. Back in February, Mercedes-Benz still wasn’t sure if there was room for this truck in the US market. The full-size pickup segment is where all the money’s at — midsize pickups are still popular, but sell in far lower volumes. If it were to come here, Mercedes would need to build a new plant or retool an existing one in order to satisfy perceived US demand.

In Europe, Africa, South America and other markets, though, the X-Class is a go. It will be sold as part of the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, and it’s expected to go on sale in Europe this November, starting around €37,000 ($42,758). Other markets will see the X-Class starting in 2018 or 2019.

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