Mercedes-Benz X-Class much more than ‘a reskinned Nissan Navara’
Mercedes have been quick to point out that their new X-Class double cab pick-up has undergone a thorough reworking, dynamically as well as visually, according to their commercial vehicle boss Volker Mornhinweg.
Revealed several weeks ago in concept form, the X-Class retains many of the easily identifiable features of the Nissan Navara: the ladder-frame chassis, five-link live rear axle and McPherson strut front suspension layout.
Despite the similarities, Mornhinweg has gone on record to say: “We knew what had to be done. A hell of a lot of work, but we learned from our SUV experience.” He added that you can “hardly feel the difference between off-road and on-road. I wanted a precise line through corners, and it has crisp handling – you can feel what the car is doing.”
One of the key reasons for the much improved road behaviour, is a much broader track than the Navara’s, which boosts stability and grip, and at the same time reduces the body roll. Mercedes’ head engineer Klaus Benzimger says that the company relinquished its original set of benchmark comparators because the dynamics they represented were no longer applicable to the X-Class; such is the level of progression made.
Refinement has also been specifically focused upon by the design team; not usually an area you’d usually associate with a pick-up. Morninhinwg said that “a lot of work” had been invested in this area.
At the moment, the X-Class is set to go on sale in Britain towards the end of 2017. It will only be available to buy from the Mercedes commercial vehicle network. It will come in both two and four-wheel drive formats, and will have the option of either four or six-cylinder engines. There will be a wide choice of optional extras and accessories. The UK is only to be offered the diesel options.