The Mercedes X-Class is based upon the Nissan Navara and has relied solely upon that vehicle’s 163hp and 190hp 2.3-litre engines for the source of its power. Until now.
That’s because Merc has added its own engine: a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel that produces 258hp and is capable of 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 127mph. Tested here, it means the X-Class matches the VW Amarok’s top model for horsepower, and is better equipped to shift the 10-20% of extra kerb weight Mercedes added to the Navara in order to meet its upmarket aims.
That engine isn’t the only thing that’s new to the double-cab X-Class. Merc has introduced its own seven-speed auto gearbox; permanent, rather than selectable, four-wheel drive; and five driving modes.
These are Eco, Comfort (the setting for early February’s snow and slush, according to the instruction book), Sport, Manual (there are gearshift paddles on the steering wheel) and Off-Road, and can be chosen via the rocker-switch between the front seats while on the move, as the virtually instantaneous surge of acceleration felt when engaging Sport on a dual-carriageway proved. Of the three 4WD modes on offer, 4Matic is for use on the road (in all of the driving modes bar Off-Road), and 4High and 4Low are for off-tarmac work, although 4H can be deployed in the Comfort driving mode and both it and 4L are useable when Manual is selected.
Of course, the new engine comes into its own on the road, particularly on longer, straighter, stretches. Progress is both smooth and effortless, although life gets a little trickier on twistier sections, when the X-Class can start to feel its size and it becomes necessary to back off on the accelerator.
The X350d is only available in the top-spec Power trim. As standard that gives you, for example, keyless entry, LED headlights and tail-lights, heated seats that are eight-way adjustable electrically, and a chrome rear bumper over and above what’s available lower down the range.
We also had a wealth of optional extra kit worth over £6,500, including 19in alloys, metallic paint, the Parking package with a 360° camera view, the Style package including privacy glass, and the Comand Online Navigation 1 package, which includes an 8.4in screen, satnav, live traffic information and voice control. There was an optional load area cover too, although there was a knack to locking it that wasn’t quite mastered in my short time with the vehicle. Meanwhile, the cabin itself is still as sumptuous looking and comfortable as the first time we tried the X-Class, and the vehicle overall attracts lots of positive reaction.
The thing is, though, at £38,350 it’s pricey. But then again, so is the latest top-of-the-range VW Amorok, which costs £39,040. Which you choose may depend on factors such as how much priority you place on badge snobbery. If that’s high up on your list, then the X-Class will be the vehicle for you.
Mercedes-Benz X-Class 350d 4Matic Power
Price (ex VAT) £38,350
Price range (ex VAT) £27,310-£38,350
Insurance group 38E (est)
Service intervals 2yrs/30,000mls
Load length 1,587mm
Load width (min/max) 1,130/1,560mm
Load bay height 431mm
Gross payload 1,066kg
Engine size/power 2,987cc/258hp
Combined fuel economy 31.4mpg
A wonderful luxury cruiser, but you’re going to pay for it.