This is the most anticipated bakkie in a very long time. Mercedes-Benz’s V6 powered X350d. Here’s what we learnt about it after getting up close during the the Geneva motor show.
1: It’s quick
With a 3-litre turbodiesel V6, nobody ever expected that X350d would be slow, but when it arrives year towards the end of this year, expect a very rapid double-cab. In fact, expect the most rapid of all double-cabs. With 190kW and 550Nm, the Amarok V6 might have more torque on overboost, but the Mercedes bakkie has all rivals bested on peak power output. Little wonder it does 0-100kph in 7.9 seconds and runs a true top speed of 205kph.
2: X-Class was built with the V6 in mind
There’s no denying that Mercedes-Benz’s double-cab is a cousin of the Nissan Navara. The two bakkies share a similar chassis configuration, with Mercedes deciding to partner with Nissan due to Navara’s coil-sprung rear suspension. The X-Class chassis is a touch tougher, though, featuring many engineering upgrades to cope with the additional cradle weight and speed of that high-output V6.
3: There’s not column shifter
Strange details as it may be, but unlike any other V6 Mercedes, X350d does not have a column shifter. The gear selector is in its traditional bakkie position, configured between the seats, sliding up and a down a centre console. Although the ergonomic benefits of a column shifter would have been substantial (more space for stowage between the seats), Mercedes-Benz market research indicated that customers preferred a bakkie shifter between the seats.
4: It can snatch almost anything
The biggest advantage X350d has over Amarok V6 is its low-range transfer case. VW has decided the additional weight and complexity of low-range is unnecessary for most applications, and that Amarok’s 8-speed transmission has a first gear that can climb anything off-road. This might be true, but if you must haul something heavy out of trouble in your convoy, then low-range is essential. And this is here X350d, with its abundant power and surfeit of gears, could be unstoppable off-road.
5: An AMG version?
Ford’s Ranger Raptor has changed perceptions about performance bakkies. Especially diesel-powered double-cabs. Mercedes must be very aware of Ranger Raptor’s reveal, but they contend that there simply is not sufficient capacity at AMG to develop anything bakkie related, for now. Affalterbach has a massive portfolio of product and its engineers are nearly overburdened servicing upgrades to the current portfolio. Doing an AMG X350d simply isn’t a time management option right now.