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Driven: Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 touches down

Mercedes lobs top-tier 190kW/550Nm X-Class V6 contender into booming ute segment

4 Feb 2019

MERCEDES-BENZ Vans anticipates the long-awaited V6-powered X-Class to be the stronger seller of the range, with the better-equipped Power variant to lead the way.
Speaking to GoAuto this week about the new X350d, Mercedes-Benz Vans PR and corporate communications manager Blake Vincent said initial response has favoured the higher end of the one-tonne dual-cab series.
“Our expectation is that the V6 will be the higher seller of the range, with customers going more strongly for that,” he said. 
“We’ve seen that quite a lot of people who have come in to drive the four-cylinder turbo-diesel have decided to wait until the six-cylinder turbo-diesel has become available, since it is one of the most powerful vehicles of its type on the market.
“And judging from how the X250d four-cylinder variants have performed since going on sale in April last year, the Power should be the more popular of the two X350d models on offer.
“Plus, a high number of buyers are also adding accessories and we’re roughly seeing up to $4000 worth on the X-Class, so people are very happy to spend extra on their trucks.” 
Mr Vincent said that despite the favourable early reaction to the V6, only the two variants in the single dual-cab body style will be offered. 
“We have no plans for any extended variants right now, as we’ve been focussing on getting the V6 to market,” he added. “We now have the full range and we just want to focus on getting the X-Class portfolio imbedded and so we’re comfortable with the current line-up as it stands.”
While the X350d models only just started hitting the dealerships before Christmas, pricing and spec details were released last August, with the Progressive starting from $73,270 before on-road costs and the Power from $79,415 – $15,470 and $14,915 pricier than their X250d equivalents respectively.
The Spanish-built V6-powered Mercedes X-Class are also more expensive than the Volkswagen Amarok TDI580 Ultimate (from $66,990) and the fast-selling Ford Ranger Raptor ($75,390).
The X350d sidesteps the X250d’s Nissan-made 140kW/450Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel engine and seven-speed automatic for Mercedes’ own 190kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, driving all four wheels exclusively via its proprietary 7G-Tronic seven-speed auto. 
While the X350d is 30Nm shy of its VW Amarok TDI580’s output, the Benz can still shoot from zero to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds, with maximum torque available between 1400-3200rpm.
Fuel consumption is rated at 9.0 litres per 100km and the carbon emissions average is 137 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
Like the Volkswagen (but not the four-pot X-Class), the X350d models have a permanent four-wheel drive system fitted, which in this case uses a centre differential that distributes torque between 40 to 60 per cent front to rear depending on conditions in default 4MAT mode. 
Additionally, there are two other selectable modes – 4H for High, with a 30/70 front/rear torque split, while 4L low-range splits drive evenly for steeper slopes or muddier roads. 
Ground clearance is 222mm, fording depth is up to 600mm, approach angle is up to 30 degrees, departure angle is up to 25 degrees, ramp breakover angle is up to 22 degrees and maximum tilt is up to 49 degrees. 
On the road, the Dynamic Select system offers five choices – Comfort (for smoothest-possible throttle and transmission shift points), Eco (for earliest up-shift to save fuel), Sport (faster throttle and transmission responses), Manual (allowing the paddle shifters to operate) and Offroad (for higher and smoother shift inputs to minimise traction losses).
One area where the V6 diesel trails the X250d is payload (918-977kg versus 998-1092kg). Kerb weight is also up, from 2137kg to 2285kg for the Progressive in X350d guise.
Both V6 X-Class variants mirror their X250d Progressive and Power equivalents equipment wise, and include seven airbags, front and rear vented disc brakes, active lane-keep assist, autonomous emergency braking, trailer sway control, tyre pressure monitoring and a reversing camera, which is upgrade to a surround-view monitor on top-spec versions.
The X350d also adds keyless start, dual-zone climate control and 18-inch five-spoke alloys on the Progressive, and aluminium dash trim, black roofliner and 19-inch six-spoke wheels on the Power grade.
Options include leather seats, sports bars, hard tray cover, canopy, stowage box, a bedliner, lead-securing rails and underguard protection.
As we’ve reported before, the X-Class is loosely based on the D23 Nissan Navara launched in 2014, though no body panels are shared.
The Benz pick-up also features a shorter front overhang, extended tail and wider body than its Nissan-badged cousin. 
The body-on-chassis construction is the same, with a steel ladder-type frame and coil springs at each end. 
The front has double wishbones while the solid rear axle employs a multi-link arrangement. Steering is via a modified hydraulic rack and pinion set-up. 
Most of the components and tuning are unique to the Benz however, with the X-Classs frame and body featuring additional bracing and reinforcement, while added sound deadening in areas such as the firewall and transmission tunnel are used.

2019 Mercedes-Benz X-Class X350d pricing*

Progressive (a) $73,270
Power (a) $79,415

*Excludes on-road costs

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