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Jan 28

Join us for a ride in the Mercedes-Benz X-Class

We attended the global premiere of the X-Class in the Western Cape last week and caught a ride in one of these exciting new bakkies.
The reveal of the production-ready Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Cape Town last week was followed by “taxi rides” in it for the journalists who attended. The venue was the Franschhoek Motor Museum and its owner’s private race track next door.
After presentations on the design of the X-Class by Mercedes-Benz (MB) engineers, test drivers from MB Germany took each of us for a spin: one reporter on the passenger side, on the right, and the German test driver behind the steering wheel, on the left. All the bakkies were fitted with the Nissan-sourced 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine (140 kW and 450 Nm), mated to the Navara’s 7-speed auto-box with selectable 4×4 and low range. The bakkie I was chauffeured in was an X 250 d in luxurious POWER trim.
The test track was a mix of simulated city driving, some fast track driving and then off the smooth tar and onto poor dirt roads, with very steep inclines thrown in.
My driver introduced himself as Frank Schumacher (I don’t think he’s related to Michael) and we set off. At first Frank drove slowly and gently. Then he turned the X-Class around and pressed down hard on the accelerator. The bakkie responded quickly and within seconds we were well past 100 km/h. (The Navara’s claimed 0-100 km/h time is a brisk 11 seconds and the X-Class, based on the Nissan, felt quick too.) There was a fair amount of tyre squeal from the Bridgestone Dueller H/P 255/55 R19s that were obviously not in their natural habitat – but they coped reasonably well.
In the fast, sweeping corners of the racetrack it immediately became clear that Mercedes-Benz has achieved their goal of building a bakkie with the road holding of an SUV. Certainly not of a GLA 45 AMG, a BMW X6M or a Porsche Macan, but at least that of a Nissan Pathfinder. The latter, incidentally, offers very decent handling. It also passed an obstacle avoidance test (or so-called “moose test”) with honours. Off road the comfort and composure of the bakkie and its suspension impressed. Frank attacked the ruts, holes and poor surfaces with enthusiasm and no mechanical sympathy. Again the X remain composed and it didn’t feel less comfortable than the average SUV.
For a full verdict we’ll have to drive it, but this shotgun ride left me with the impression that Mercedes-Benz is the new king of ride comfort and handling in the double-cab bakkie realm.

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2 comments

  1. Sameera Khan

    This is a fake Mercedes. Nissan Sucks. Want to buy this but its not 100% Mercedes !!! What happened???

  2. Kuzi Baye

    watch out hilux

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