Mercedes had to stop benchmarking the X-Class against its closest competitors because they were so much worse.
When Infiniti got Mercedes to loan it the GLA’s chassis and components in order to build the QX30 mini SUV, there was little the Japanese automaker had to do in order to get the car ready. That’s because Mercedes is already one of the most (if not the most) established luxury brands in the world and Infiniti is the one that could use the pointers. However, as Autocar reports, when the situation is reversed, you’d better believe that Mercedes got to work engineering out any piece of Nissan before adding a Tri-Star hood ornament.
According to what Mercedes commercial vehicle boss Volker Mornhinweg told Autocar, that’s exactly what happened. As vehicles for the working class, pickup trucks aren’t the most refined things on the planet, but lack of sophistication is not a Mercedes characteristic. After taking the ladder frame chassis and suspension from the Navara, Mercedes got to work teaching the Nissan some manners. Using experience gained while building SUVs, Mercedes widened the truck’s track to improve handling. According to Mornhinweg, one can "hardly feel the difference between off-road and on-road.” “I wanted a precise line through corners, and it has crisp handling - you can feel what the car is doing," added Mornhinweg.
And then there’s the fact that at one point during development, Mercedes had to stop benchmarking the X-Class against its competitors during testing because dynamically, they were irrelevant to the X-Class. While the US won’t be getting the X-Class (unless Mercedes is planning a special surprise for us), it will go on sale in Europe at the end of the following year although it will only be available from Mercedes’ commercial vehicle network. The pickup will be offered in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive variants with either four or six-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, likely to include some of the new motors Mercedes released last week. If our dreams come true, then a twin-turbo V8 X-Class sporting AMG badges will come to the US.