Our spies have spotted a Mercedes X-Class pickup with a larger cargo bed, which makes more sense for the US market.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz made its first foray into the pickup sector, revealing the polarizing X-Class. Billed as the world's first truly premium pickup, the X-Class is being sold in Europe but remains forbidden fruit in the US, despite America's unrelenting love for pickup trucks. Not selling the X-Class in a country where pickups are incredibly popular may seem like a baffling business decision, but Mercedes believes the time simply isn't right to introduce the unproven X-Class to the American market.
The automaker has had doubts that the mid-size X-Class would sell well Stateside since US consumers tend to prefer full-size trucks. It's also considerably more expensive than most mid-size pickups, and its range of gasoline and diesel engines are also under-powered compared to its rivals. Mercedes recently rectified this with the reveal of the more potent V6-powered X-Class at Geneva but its body style remained unchanged, so the luxury pickup was still deemed unsuitable for the US market. However, the German automaker hasn't ruled out the possibility of eventually selling a new version of the X-Class in the US – and this could be our first glimpse of it.
Our spies have caught a prototype X-Class being tested in the snow with a longer rear bed, which would be more suitable for the US market. As standard, the rear cargo bed of the X-Class measures 62.4 inches. Since the luxury pickup is based on the Nissan Navara, the long bed version could be based on the Navara NP300, which has a rear bed measuring 70.3 inches. Engine options are likely to be carried over from the standard model. These include a gasoline inline-four unit that produces 165 horsepower and two 2.3-liter diesel options: one has a single turbocharger producing 163 horsepower, while the other features a twin-turbo system that increases the output to 190 horses.
Introduced at this year's Geneva Motor Show, the range-topping X350d 4Matic is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 diesel good for 258 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque enabling the premium pickup to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 7.9 seconds and hit a 127-mph top speed. It's also mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission and features a 4Matic all-wheel system with five driving modes. If a long bed X-Class is destined to arrive in the US, the 3.0-liter V6 version seems like the only model that would sell well over here but time will ultimately tell.