Progressive and Power – two names buyers of Mercedes-Benz’s bakkie, the X-Class, will come to know well. For the brand, though, these model designations hint at its ambition … it’s progressive, “establishing a new segment” (as the company claims), and it’s doing so with a mighty show of power.
“This is the first bakkie to convincingly combine the versatility of a double-cab with the luxury of a passenger car,” claims Nadia Trimmel, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Southern Africa.
So what’s the X-Class all about, then? Well, to begin, the Progressive models are aimed at buyers wanting a bakkie for dual use. It’s the more rugged of the two, featuring black plastic detailing, 17-inch rims (upgradable to 18-inch), halogen headlamps and cloth upholstery. It’s available in three model variants: X220d 4×2, and X250d 4×2 or 4×4.
Power models are the high-end versions; aimed at customers who want styling, performance and comfort, says Mercedes-Benz, in urban environments as well as for sports and leisure activities. You’ll spot these by their LED headlights, adornment of chrome and 18-inch wheels (as with the Progressive model, these are upgradable to 19-inches). This model is only available as the X250d 4×4.
Both the X220d and X250d employ a 2,3-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine. However, in the more powerful variant (the X250d, producing 140 kW and 450 Nm torque) a twin-turbo setup is employed. The X220d produces 120 kW and 403 Nm torque, and is currently only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. This gearbox, or a smooth-shifting seven-speed auto, are available on the other models.
Mercedes-Benz has engineered a high-level of ride refinement into the X-Class, which was evident on both the poor dirt roads and on the highways around the George area, chosen for the launch. Coil springs are used up front while the rear employs a multi-link suspension with sold axle. Comfort is up there with the best in class, while the X-Class also feels relatively light on its feet and easy to pilot.
It’s exceptionally capable off road. Models for the South African market have a 20-mm higher ride height, at 221 mm, and boast a gradeability rating of 100 percent and wading depth potential of 600 mm, for example. Features such as downhill speed regulation ensured our rather tough off-road adventure was dealt with without either car or driver breaking a sweat.
Speaking of which, the aircon is exceptionally effective, too… Naturally, the X-Class isn’t shy of standard equipment – but there’s also an extras list that would fill the entire load bay, which includes (to be honest) certain things one shouldn’t have to pay for at this price point.
And the price? The X220d 4×2 Progressive starts at R642 103, while the top-of-the-range X250d 4×4 AT Power stretches way up to R791 315… However, the range does come standard with Mercedes-Benz’s 100 000 km/six-year PremiumDrive maintenance plan.
Look out for the full launch report in Issue 6 of FOCUS, out at the beginning of June!