Mercedes-Benz is quenching the power thirst in the pickup sector by introducing the 3.0-litre V6 to the X-Class. The Mercedes-Benz X-Class X350D V6 is the most powerful pickup on the market, producing a monstrous 254bhp and 550Nm, and we put it to the test on and off the road in the forests of central Slovenia.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class hit UK dealerships in December 2017 but, up until this summer, was only available with Renault-Nissan’s 2.3-litre engine from the Nissan Navara. Available in power ratings of 161bhp (X220D) and 188bhp (X250D), the 2.3-litre outputs fail to produce hair-raising results, partly due to the colossal 2.2 tonne kerbweight.
However, in the summer of 2018, Daimler installed the hugely anticipated 3.0-litre V6 (2,987cc, codenamed OM642) from the G-Wagon and GLC. The company also fitted a permanent 4-wheel drive system (4Matic) to improve stability and control, and stiffened the suspension for better performance.
“We conducted comprehensive focus group testing in the early planning stages for the X-Class, and a V6 engine drew high interest and was clearly an attractive proposition” explains Blake Vincent, a spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz.
“The high-powered X350 V6 engine offers functional benefits to customers when towing or navigating steep terrain, but also provides emotional benefits due to the excellent driving experience and class-leading power.”
Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 specification
V6 models will be available with either the Progressive or Power trim levels, with the entry-level Pure trim reserved only for the 2.3-litre engine. Progressive models feature Keyless-Go and two-zone Thermotronic air conditioning as standard. Other standard items include 17-inch 6-spoke light-alloy wheels, leather-lined steering wheel and parking brake, seats in black Posadas fabric and the Audio 20 infotainment system with eight-speakers, 7-inch touchscreen display App-Connect, voice control and USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Moving up to the Power, users also receive front and rear chrome bumpers, 18-inch 6-spoke light-alloy wheels, LED High Performance headlamps, dashboard with large trim element in a matt black pixel look and with leather upper section, Artico leather seats, 8-way electrically adjustable seats, and a CD players and multifunctional touchpad.
In the cab
As we’ve already mentioned in previous appraisals, the X-Class has a luxurious interior that’s unrivalled in the pickup segment. Depending on the design and equipment line, these come in either high-gloss black or silver shadow, creating a premium, high-end feel. Our main criticism of the cab relates to the practicality; there is a distinct lack of storage pockets for things like wallets and phones, and the steering column isn’t adjustable for reach.
Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 engine and driveline
As stated, the new engine produces 255bhp at 3,600rpm and 550Nm at just 1,600rpm, although this has been toned down from 620Nm as its believed the live-rear axle and certain other components would struggle to handle that much torque.
With the right foot down, there is an initial feeling of disappointment as it takes a brief moment for the V6 unit – as powerful as it is – to move the 2.3t lump of metal. Once the momentum is behind you, the X-Class swiftly gathers pace and it reaches 62mph in just 7.5 seconds – 0.4 seconds faster than the Amarok V6 221bhp.
As with the 2.3-litre X-Class, the X350D is extremely quiet and refined, with only a faint growl under heavy acceleration thanks to the extensive sound dampening undertaken by the engineers. The X-Class has the widest track in its class providing better stability, while the suspension has been revised all-round for a more ‘dynamic drive’, which means there’s less body roll so corners can be taken at higher speeds.
There will be five driver settings available on the ‘Dynamic Select’ control; Comfort, Eco, Sport, Manual and Off-Road – each of which alters the engine and transmission characteristics. Comfort and Eco are similar in that they’re geared towards the low engine revs and get the best fuel economy, whereas the Sport increases the sensitivity of the throttle and holds the gears for longer.
Manual passes gear control over to the driver via the paddle shift, located behind the steering wheel, while the Off-Road setting sends more drive to the front wheels for more balance. Unlike the 2.3-litre models, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 (titled ‘4Matic’) is permanent 4-wheel drive like the Volkswagen Amarok, and available with just the 7-speed 7G Tronic automatic.
Weights and loads
Weighing in at 2,285kg, the V6 X-Class is 50kg heavier than the 2.3 which is largely attributed to the heavier engine and the permanent 4WD system. Gross vehicle weights have increased to over 3.3 tonnes so it can still carry one tonne, and the towing capacity remains industry-leading at 3.5 tonnes.
The X-Class isn’t scared of getting its wheel dirty, either. Under normal driving conditions, the permanent 4WD system splits the torque 40:60 front:rear although, when driving off-road, optimum traction is ensured by a continuously adjustable interaxle differential in the transfer case. It adapts extremely quickly on uneven ground and wasn’t caught wrong-footed during our test.
There are three all-wheel-drive modes to choose from; 4MAT for on-road driving and increased vehicle dynamics, 4H for improved traction when in muddy fields or dirt tracks, and 4L for more serious off-road dricing. The combination of a controlled interaxle differential lock (0–100%), the optional rear-axle locking differential, and low-range delivers a respectable performance whether you’re on or off the beaten track.
The all-wheel-drive system and the suspension with its long spring travel ensure impressive off-road capabilities. The X-Class effortlessly climbs gradients of up to 45 degrees, fords water courses with a depth of up to 600mm, and maintains its poise on inclines of almost 50 degrees, although the ground clearance is fairly poor at 202mm.
Pricing and availability
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 X350D will be arriving into the UK in September 2018, with prices expected to start at around £37,995 plus VAT – almost £4,000 more than the most expensive 2.3 X-Class and the most expensive Amarok. The X-Class is available from the 110-strong Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle dealer network and is backed by a 3-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 X350D technical information
No. of cylinders/arrangement: 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged engine
Displacement cc: 2987
Bore x stroke mm: 83 x 92
Rated output kW/hp: 190  at 3400 rpm
Max. rated torque Nm: 550 at 1400–3200 rpm
Compression ratio: 15.5
Transmission: 7G-TRONIC PLUS with steering wheel shift paddles and ECO start/stop function
Front axle: Double-wishbone front axle, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, stabiliser bar
Rear axle: Multi-link rear axle with a rigid section, coil springs, gas-filled dampers, stabiliser bar
Braking system: Internally ventilated disc brakes at front, internally ventilated disc brakes at rear, Parking brake, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP®
Steering: Hydraulic rack-and-pinion power steering
Wheels: 17, 18 and 19-inch
Tyres: 255/65 R17 110H, 255/60 R18 112V/H, 255/55 R19 111H
Dimensions and weights
Wheelbase mm: 3150
Track width – front/rear mm: 1632/1625
Length mm: 5340
Width mm: 1920
Height mm: 1819
Kerb weight kg: 2285
Payload kg: 1045
Gross vehicle weight: 3330
Turning circle: 13.4
Tank capacity/of which reserve l: 73/10
Performance and fuel consumption
Acceleration 0–100 km/h s 7.5
Top speed km/h 205
Fuel consumption (urban/extra-urban/comb.) l/100 km: 10.2/8.3/9.0
Comb. CO2 emissions g/km: 237