LEGEND HAS it that quality cannot be compromised…
To affirm the above statement, Mercedes Benz SA finally quenched the thirst of South Africans with the unveiling of the much talked about bakkie: X-Class in George, Western Cape.
X Class for many is a disruptor within the bakkie and SA market that would ruffle some feathers, and already at the launch the social-media was abuzz with concerns from affordability, design to performance, safety and class the Mercedes Benz is associated with.
Despite checking in from the tiny George Airport, yours truly and a large media contingent were spoilt with sumptuous lunch at the world’s famous Golf ‘sanctuary’ the Fancourt, that was followed by an eventful evening at some farm, were the actual launch and state of the art tented stay –over.
“There has never been a more perfect time for Mercedes-Benz Vans to enter the bakkie segment in South Africa. But in true Mercedes-Benz fashion, we are opening this segment to a new customer group who want a robust bakkie with refined sophistication and unparalleled driving comfort.”
“This is the first bakkie to convincingly combine the versatility of a double-cab with the luxury of a passenger car. The X-Class is robust with exceptional load capacity and off-road capability, but yet it’s also aesthetically pleasing, dynamic to drive, comfortable and safe,” says the affable and jolly Nadia Trimmel, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Southern Africa.
The X-Class was launched with two design and equipment lines for different lifestyles and working environments: X-Class PROGRESSIVE aimed at consumers who are seeking a rugged bakkie with extra styling and comfort functions, while also being a comfortable yet prestigious vehicle for private or dual use; and the X-Class POWER the high-end line.
It is aimed at customers for whom styling, performance and comfort are paramount. As a lifestyle vehicle beyond the mainstream, it is suitable for urban environments as well as for sports and leisure activities off the beaten track. Its design and high level of equipment reflect an independent and individualistic lifestyle.
Ok, we took it for a rugged test drive and must point out the route planners did their job, as we did four to five-hours drive through the breathtaking mountains and valleys of the Western Cape.
The high-torque common-rail diesel drive system with a displacement of 2.3 litres is available with a choice of two power outputs.
The X 220d is available in rear-wheel drive, while the X 250d is offered in rear-wheel drive or with engageable all-wheel drive, with low-range. Power is transferred via a six-speed manual transmission.
Coupled with 1632 millimetres at the front and 1625 millimetres at the rear, the X-Class has a wider track than most competitors. This provides the ideal pre-requisites for optimum driving stability and higher cornering speeds.
At 3150 millimetres, the wheelbase is also longer than many other bakkies. This reduces vibrations during the journey and makes for smooth and reliable straight-running stability, as it took turns on both the ascending and descending terrains.
Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer in the segment to opt for large disc brakes on both axles as standard. The front axle has internally vented brake discs with a diameter of 32 centimetres.
The internally vented brake discs on the rear axle have a diameter of 30.8 centimetres. They ensure short braking distances, good response times and high thermal capacity.
Furthermore, as with all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, various control systems for driving dynamics form part of the standard equipment, thus boosting safety and ride comfort further.
Try that with your dog, plumber or better still with your buddies you will realize the safety components are in a league of its own.
The X-Class offers line-specific packages such as the Parking Package (PARKTRONIC and a 360 degree camera); Comfort Package (driver and co-driver lumbar support, electrically adjustable seats for the driver and co-driver, ARTICO / DINAMICA seat covers, THERMOTRONIC automatic air-conditioner and a stowage net in co-driver foot-well) and the Style Package (LED high performance headlights, partial LED tail lamps, roof rails, a privacy glass, electrical opening rear window, 18” alloy wheels and running boards).
With winter only weeks away from ravaging our bodies, the winter package offers a driver and co-driver heated seats and heated washer fluid jets. Aha…
The X Class comes with full maintenance cover for cover for 100 000 km/6 years, whichever occurs first, for a nominal cost.
Customers have the option of extending the maintenance plan up to a maximum of 180 000km/8 years, whichever occurs first.
The disruptor is now available South Africa, for delivery from mid-May 2018, subject to stock availability, although Nadia flatly refused to divulge on how many units will be made available.
Start of sales in Southern African neighbouring countries will be confirmed at a later date, says Mercedes-Benz Vans Southern Africa, spokesperson Sibusiso Mkwanazi, whom many did not realise draped in an (unassuming) design costume- the themefor the launch.
For selling prices of various derivatives and selling outlets, go www.x-class.co.za.