After months of speculation, the pricing of Mercedes’ initial X-Class line-up has been revealed.
As soon as it was unveiled and it was announced that it would be sold in South Africa, the general consensus was that we were looking at the first R1 million bakkie. That’s not the case.
The initial range well under R1 million and we reckon even the top-of-the-line X350d, unveiled at Geneva and powered by a V6 turbocharged diesel, might even fall under this seemingly important hurdle.
As we expected, it’s not priced to compete directly with SA’s already well-performing double-cab segment. The Ford Ranger double-cab line-up starts at R305 900 and stretches all the way to R624 900 for a top-spec 3.2-litre 4×4 Wildtrak.
It’s the same story with the Hilux range, which starts at R398 600 and escalates to R644 700.
The X-Class pricing kicks off at R642 103 for the 120kW/403Nm X220d Progressive with a manual transmission. This is the same engine as used in the Nissan Navara, but tuned to deliver a less powerful punch. Nissan SA does not offer a Navara with the engine in this particular state of tune.
The rest of the range is dubbed X250d and is powered by the exact same 2.3-litre twin-turbo diesel from the Navara (so it has 140kW/450Nm).
The X250d 4×2 Progressive with an automatic transmission retails for R694 025, while the X250d 4×4 with a six-speed manual transmission retails for R696 785. The latter can also be ordered with an automatic transmission (the same seven-speed auto used in the Nissan).
The halo model, until the X350d is unleashed in SA at least, is the X250d 4×4 Power with a manual transmission. It retails for R791 315, but an automatic transmission is available, which will see the price rise to well above R800 000.
So, the X-Class, when it makes its debut in May, will be the most expensive bakkie on sale in SA, marginally beating the record set by the Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI 4Motion Extreme which retails (at the time of going to print) at R784 400.
Since everyone already knows that the X-Class is based on the Navara, it’s worth looking at how prices compare.
The entry-level X-Class, with the less powerful 2.3-litre engine and a manual gearbox, is around R40 000 more expensive than a top-of-the-line 4×4 Navara with leather seats.
If you compare spec to spec, the picture gets less rosy. An entry level Navara 4×2 with a manual transmission retails for R457 900, which equates to a price difference of around R230 000 compared to the X-Class 2WD.
The top-of-the-line models have a price difference of around R190 000.
The tricky part is now going to be justifying this price difference, but it seems Mercedes is well up to the task. It may be a Navara underneath, but Mercedes spent a large chunk of cash developing the rest.
The X-Class has its own unique interior (although a handful of parts are still shared with the Navara), sound dampening and suspension setup. The ladder frame chassis has also been beefed up, according to Mercedes Commercial Vehicle standards.
And one simply can’t ignore the allure of the oldest badge in the industry. Unless Rolls Royce decides to get in on the bakkie game, there isn’t another manufacturer that can offer this kind of prestige in a utility vehicle.
What do you think?
Will the premium-priced Mercedes manage to outsell its Navara cousin? Remember, we preside in a country where cars are often considered status symbols – more than half of all the VW Golfs sold in this country are GTIs. And small car market counts amongst the top Merc AMG and BMW M ones in the world.
Will the Benz sink, or swim?
Over to you.