Mercedes-Benz; the connotations include luxury, premium and not bakkies… until 2018 that is. It’s fitting that the final local motoring launch of the year is the vehicle that created the greatest amount of polarising views this year, the Navara in mascara, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
The X-Class that hit our market earlier this year was only offered in 120 and 140 kW diesel guises, the reviews were mixed (at best) regarding the engine line-up and general execution of the double cab. Some felt that as a lifestyle segment vehicle the X 220 d or X 250 d was all you’d ever need in 4×2 guise to cruise the ‘burbs and let it sniff some dust on the weekends as a treat for good performance.
Others were steadfast in their opinion that you should wait for the big boy 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6, didn’t matter whether or not you were going to do anything with the performance and grunt, simply having it there in reserve was enough peace of mind should your Hilux owning friends mock your silver-starred bakkie, then you could show them a thing or two.
Let’s start with the numbers, bakkie owners love the numbers; both the Progressive and Power derivatives of the X 350 d will give you 190 kW and 550 Nm, mated to the 7G Tronic Plus automatic transmission as standard fare with the flappy paddles. Dynamic Select driving modes offer Comfort, Eco, Sport, Manual and Off-Road, before you get excited at the Sport button, it’s purely engine and throttle response, not a magic AMG mode. The closest rival in numbers is VW’s V6 TDI Amarok auto, it’s matched on torque though falls short by 25 kW of what the X 350 d offers.
If this inspires you to want to go and play a 4×4 variation of capture the flag with your X 350 d and the Hilux, Ranger, Triton, Navara and Amarok, we recommend you do it. The 4×4 agility of the X 350 d knows no boundaries, sure it has a pretty face and interior, but mud is only temporary, running boards can be replaced, pride is forever. The all-wheel drive system has three modes to choose from; 4MATIC for increased dynamics, 4H for more traction when conditions get loose, 4L for the tougher stuff with help available from the rear differential lock.
“…mud is only temporary, running boards can be replaced, pride is forever”
Putting it through a few obstacles including axle twists and a 30-degree incline, the X 350 d showed no hesitation, having driven the competition over the same type of obstacles the X 350 d more that holds its own in a competitive class. Did we mention a class leading 222 mm of ground clearance?
The interior is matter of subjective opinion, it’s littered with all the usual Mercedes-Benz accoutrements, however the finishes seem a little glitzy and trendy, think mock wood and brushed aluminium, not exactly rough and rugged stuff. Though that’s the point of an X-Class, it’s for the executive who wants a bakkie and luxury and comfortable seats and a quiet cabin and, and, and, and. The moniker of lifestyle bakkie owner.
Let’s talk money, for the executive with cash to splash the price tag should be no issue, starting at R904 188 for the Progressive line and R973 188 for the Power derivative. For the rest of the us the X 350 d’s price is definitely a barrier to the V6 derivative, which is a pity as it’s a well packaged model that would be loved by all who set foot behind the wheel. We doubt that the price will be an issue to the order books and we’d bet our bottom Randelas that many an end-of-year bonus cheque will be heading towards Mercedes-Benz coffers this festive season.
|Mercedes-Benz X 350 d||Progressive||from R904 188|
|Mercedes-Benz X 350 d||Power||from R973 188|