The new Mercedes X-Class bakkie will go on sale in SA during 2018, dropping Mercedes right into the global mid-sized pick-up market

Yes, Mercedes is building a bakkie. It’s called the Mercedes X-Class and it’s due on sale in SA towards the end of 2018. Mercedes confirmed all of the above at a reveal event for the X-Class in Stockholm, Sweden, where it unveiled not the final production model but a near production concept dubbed the Mercedes Concept X-Class.

In fact, we’ve been treated to two distinct concept versions of the new bakkie that’s being built on the robust ladder frame platform shared with the Nissan Navara and Renault Alaskan pick-ups under Mercedes’ deal with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

First, the Concept X-Class Powerful Adventurer is an off-road focused design that sets out to underline the fact that a bakkie carrying the three-pointed star will still be tough. Second, the Concept X-Class Stylish Explorer is intended to showcase the premium refinement that will set the Mercedes pick-up apart from rough-and-ready rivals with less illustrious badges on the nose.

Details are a little scarce in the engines and powertrain area but we know that the production Mercedes X-Class will run on the ladder frame chassis from the Navara and use a 4MATIC permanent four-wheel drive system that has two locking differentials and a low-range gearbox. An alternative 4×4 system switchable between all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive will also be available.

We’re told that the top of the range X-Class model will get a Mercedes V6 diesel engine – a point of difference from the Nissan and Renault versions which also suggests that the 2.3-litre 4-cylinder diesel from the Navara will find its way into X-Class entry-level variants. The V6 diesel is expected to be the 3.0-litre unit from the Mercedes passenger car range with 261bhp and 620Nm of torque.

A 4-cylinder petrol unit will also be available in some markets with manual and automatic gearboxes offered globally. When asked if there was a high performance Mercedes-AMG X-Class in the pipeline, Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans was giving little away: “So far no, but maybe we will see in the future” he said.