Wednesday 19th September 2018
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First drive: Mercedes-Benz X 350 d pickup. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

First drive: Mercedes-Benz X 350 d pickup
With the V6 under its bonnet, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class packs a punch and knocks out the competition.

 



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Mercedes-Benz X 350 d pickup

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Up until now, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class has not only shared a chassis with the Nissan Navara, but also the same engines, gearbox and four-wheel-drive system. However, this X 350 d model is now a full-on Mercedes product with a Mercedes built engine, Daimler 7G-Tronic Plus gearbox, Merc's 4Matic four-wheel-drive system and yet more tweaks to the suspension. This means that the V6 thrusts the posh pickup even more upmarket and even further ahead of its fellow Teutonic rival.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-Benz X 350 d 4Matic
Engine: turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: four-door pickup
CO2 emissions: 237g/km (250 flat rate commercial vehicle road tax annually)
Combined economy: 31.4mpg
Top speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Power: 258hp at 3,400rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1,400-3,200rpm
Maximum payload: 965kg

What's this?

This is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class with a 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6 engine under its bonnet, which is mated to a 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic gearbox and 4Matic permanent four-wheel drive, complete with variable centre diff. It also comes with five selectable drive modes as standard, Comfort, Eco, Sport, Manual and Offroad. Each selection modifies the engine response, the gear shift points and the engine's stop-start function.

The X 350 d comes in top-of-the-range Power trim, which kits it out with 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, keyless start and go, two-zone Thermotronic air conditioning, electrically adjustable seats and an Audio 20 CD infotainment system with seven-inch high definition screen, rotary controller with touchpad and Bluetooth audio.

It is the exact same inside and out as the 2.3-litre models, but a few differences include the addition of shift paddles and a reduced payload down from 1,067kg to 965kg. The suspension has been tweaked for more spirited driving and improved handling and the 4Matic permanent four-wheel drive changes the torque distribution to a rear-biased configuration of 40 to 60 per cent - in the 2.3-litre models the centre diff is locked for a 50-50 torque distribution between the two axles.

However, if you want your V6 X-Class to stand out from the other models you can pimp out your pickup with plenty of styling packages, interior trims options and high-tech add-ons as well as accessories that have been made in-house by Mercedes.

In terms of rivals, at this level it really only has one, the 3.0-litre V6 Volkswagen Amarok, which matches the X-Class for power, but claims bragging rights when it comes to torque with 30Nm more of the stuff. But the Amarok has a trick shot and that's its overboost function. When you mash your right foot to the floor, the VW's engine peaks at 272hp for short periods.

How does it drive?

With the V6 under the bonnet, the extra grunt is noticeable as soon as you put the foot down and those extra ponies make it feel a lot faster than the 0-62 time of 7.5 seconds suggests it will. The X 350 d gains a natural advantage off the line too thanks to its permanent all-wheel drive helping make the X-Class feel rather brisk, considering how heavy it is.

The V6 is smooth and refined and the seven-speed automatic gearbox is quick and slick high up the gears, but can feel a little off-beat at the lower end.

The steering remains slow-geared, but it feels like it has a bit more heft to it than before whist still being consistent and accurate. Grip and road-holding are good and body roll and lean are kept well in check. The ride quality is very good, comfortable even. Long journeys won't leave you needing to see a chiropractor, but over larger bumps the ride can get a little bouncy, especially for those in the back. Oh course, being a pickup there is some shimmy over rougher road surfaces and pot-holes, but with a payload this should settle the shudders and make the X-Class feel even more compliant.

The suspension has been tweaked to cope with the added weight of the V6 and this makes the pickup surprisingly keen in the corners and when pushed offers up a more spirited drive too. It is also easy to manoeuvre and back up, but the large turning circle does make it a bit awkward in more congested areas.

Off-road, the X-Class feels right at home with a surefootedness that would impress mountain goats. There are three all-wheel-drive modes to choose from - permanent 4Matic, 4 High and 4 Low - and you don't need to stop in order to select the different modes. The off-road course of our test route put the X-Class lightly through its paces and it easily overcame all obstacles and terrain in a refined and controlled manner.

Verdict

Final pricing isn't confirmed, yet, but the V6 powered X-Class sets the bar high in terms of refinement and driving dynamics in the pickup segment. Heck, it drives better than some SUVs on the market. When it comes to duelling double-cabs, there is only one real rival and the X-Class out-classes the Amarok in almost all areas apart from performance. But since when did pickups become about how fast they can go? If you are looking for a workhorse truck that doesn't compromise on style and also works hard as a family motor and leisure vehicle, the X-Class is hard to beat.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

5 5 5 5 5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Melanie May - 29 Jun 2018









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2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.

2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.2018 Mercedes-Benz X 350 d. Image by Mercedes-Benz.








 

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