V6 Twin Test: Mercedes-Benz X-Class vs Volkswagen Amarok

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class V6 and Volkswagen Amarok V6 are the two most powerful pickups on general sale in the UK, so we’ve pitched the two highest-powered versions together for a head-to-head battle.

X-Class and Amarok V6 models

X-Class vs Amarok: Background

Both these models are relative newcomers to the market. While the likes of the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Ford Ranger have been on the scene for generations, the Volkswagen Amarok was only launched in 2011 and the X-Class is even younger still, having hit the market in 2017.

Volkswagen began spicing the segment up in 2016 by introducing the V6 ‘EA897’ engine to the Amarok, with a maximum output of 224hp/550Nm. Mercedes-Benz responded by announcing that the X-Class would also be available with a V6, but this time producing 258hp and 550Nm.

Not to be outdone, Volkswagen pipped Mercedes to the post. The company matched the 258hp power output, but offered an extra 30Nm (for a total of 580Nm) and a 272hp overboost feature.

X-Class and Amarok V6 models

X-Class vs Amarok: Appearance

From the outside, it’s clear that the designers were following completely different principles; with Volkswagen opting for a smart and formal appearance and Mercedes-Benz, as ever, going for a more sensual and sleek look. The X-Class is certainly the fresher faced, while the exterior of the Amarok hasn’t altered much since its launch in 2011.

At 1,954mm wide (2,228mm including wing mirrors), the Amarok is the widest pickup on the market although the X-Class isn’t too far behind (1,920mm/2,113mm). The X-Class, however, is slightly longer at 5,340mm, compared with the Amarok’s 5,321mm.

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X-Class and Amarok V6 models

X-Class vs Amarok: Interior

It’s a similar story inside. The Amarok’s cockpit is practical with plenty of storage spaces, but very uninspiring with a boxy dashboard and lots of black plastic, whereas the X-Class definitely has more flair thanks to glossy and two-tone materials, but it lacks functionality and there isn’t even an easy-to-reach pocket to place a phone or wallet.

X-Class vs Amarok: Performance

Both models feature the highest-powered engines in the pickup segment. Despite matching on standard power, the overboost feature, 30Nm greater torque, quicker gear changes and lighter chassis means the Amarok feels a lot quicker, although it only reaches 62mph half a second faster than the X-Class (7.4 seconds versus 7.9 seconds.)

Both have remarkable road manners and even though the X-Class features coil-springs, the Amarok has a slight edge when it comes to comfort and composure going into the bends. We admired the X-Class’s precise and smooth seven-speed automatic, although there is simply no beating the Amarok’s eight-speed auto, which is undoubtedly the most refined on the market.

X-Class vs Amarok: Verdict

When it comes to standing out from the crowd and that luxurious, premium feel inside, the X-Class X350D is the pickup for you. However, if you’re more practically focused and you’re after a smooth operator, the Amarok comes out on top.

The X-Class X350D Power and Amarok Aventura V6 (a special edition) are similarly specced, and are also evenly priced at £39,510 and £39,040 plus VAT respectively.