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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - X-Class

Mercedes rules out AMG X-Class – for now

Maybe baby: An AMG version of the X-Class is not on the cards for now, but Benz executives say ‘never say never’.

Performance-honed Mercedes-AMG X-Class unlikely, but cab-chassis on the way

Mercedes-Benz logo21 Jul 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON in CAPE TOWN

THE head of Mercedes-Benz Vans worldwide, Volker Mornhinweg, has poured cold water on a V8-powered AMG version of the just revealed X-Class pick-up, but an AMG styling pack could form part of the line-up down the track.

Mercedes unveiled the production-ready X-Class in South Africa this week, revealing a three-grade, three-powertrain line-up topped by a 190kW/550Nm turbo-diesel V6 that will be the most powerful mid-size utility on the market when it rolls in Australian showrooms next year.

Despite Mercedes’ expansion of AMG-fettled models in the past two years, a higher-performance version of the X-Class seems unlikely, although Mr Mornhinweg did not rule it out entirely.

“Wait and see,” he said at the unveiling in Cape Town. “I think the car is quite impressive already when it comes to styling and so on. I think the product is not right for V8.

“I think so far we have decided nothing in that direction.” Mercedes-Benz Van Australia and New Zealand managing director Diane Tarr also said that an AMG-fettled X-Class was not on the immediate agenda, despite the popularity of AMG models Down Under.

“We won’t be bringing in an AMG at this point in time but naturally the headquarters colleagues are very aware of the AMG status and demand,” Ms Tarr said.

“And for us, let’s bring our product into the market, let’s consider it, let’s get the customer feedback and certainly we will continue to have conversations with headquarters colleagues around an opportunity that may or may not arise.

“Let’s not ever rule anything out. Let’s see how we go.”

If Mercedes does decide to pursue an AMG X-Class, it could look to its ‘43’ twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine – capable of 295kW/520Nm – or tweak the current diesel V6 to pump out even more power.

Mr Mornhinweg said it was important to offer the X-Class with a V6 engine, but admitted that its future in the line-up would depend on “what is going on legislation-wise” in terms of ever-tightening international emissions regulations.

He also said an AMG styling package that could include a bodykit and other AMG flourishes was “something that we will … look at carefully”.

“I think we have a broad line-up with the three lines (Pure, Progressive and Power) and we will now go to the market and then we will decide,” he said.

The Mercedes Vans global chief again ruled out a single-cab or space-cab body style for the X-Class, saying that it would lose some of its premium status as a simple workhorse ute.

“It’s always difficult to say never, but so far from our perspective what we see, from our talks with possible customers, the single-cab is more really focused on pure workhorses for construction and the price level is quite low,” he said.

“It is a price-sensitive level and it is not really a perfect fit and the stretch is too huge to have a really pure workhorse up to what you see here (X250d Power).

“So far, I am convinced that that is the right approach, but it is difficult to say never ever. But from current perspective … we positioned the product on the upper scale. I think it is something that customers are really attracted to by putting down payments.”

Mercedes will offer the X-Class as a cab-chassis from launch in Australia in base Pure and mid-spec Progressive guise, but not in top-spec Power guise.

Mr Mornhinweg said the company opted for the X-Class nomenclature, instead of a word-based name such as Vito, Citan or Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz Vans’ other offerings, due to its premium positioning.

“We said with the success of the V-Class, we thought it might be a good opportunity to lift it at a positioning level to more premium, more lifestyle-ish to take the name ‘Class’. Then when we thought about which letter – ‘Oh yeah, what they hell, X is available’.

“Then the thing about that, X is also a perfect fit to take the rough-and-tough commercial to some extent, and also to take the more refined premium lifestyle thing from the other side and make this kind of a cross, intersection (X). We were convinced X-Class might be the right name.

“It is a strong name I think.”

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