The new X-Class pickup truck has only been on the market for a few months, but Mercedes-Benz may already be considering adding a V8 to the model lineup.
At a launch event celebrating the official debut of the new range-topping diesel V6 X-Class, Mercedes-Benz’s head of X-Class engineering, Frank Schumacher, revealed to Drive.com.au that the German manufacturer is waiting to hear whether customers will request an even more powerful package.
When specifically asked whether a V8 might be on the horizon, Schumacher replied, “Yeah, there is always more [power] but that’s if the requirements come from a marketing point of view and if customers want more power – with other platforms, we react to customers’ wishes. If there will be wishes after the launch of the vehicle that says we need to have V8 then probably we will put in a V8, but that’s always a response on customer request.”
The X-Class figures to slot into the world’s pickup marketplace (though it will not ship to North America) as perhaps the premier combination of luxury and utility offered to date. Primary competition abroad will come in the form of the Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok, neither of which offer the interior amenities of the X-Class or a V8 engine under the hood.
Schumacher's remarks came at the launch celebration for the C-Class' V6 diesel package, which pairs a seven-speed automatic transmission with 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 creating 255 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. V6 models are expected to ship later in 2018.
For domestic consumers expecting Mercedes-Benz to offer an even wider range of options on top of the current four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines—and the newly revealed six-cylinder diesel—a gasoline V8 might just be the answer. And even though Mercedes-Benz offers almost every model available in the States with upgraded AMG goodies, the X-Class does not appear likely to receive any such trims in the near future.
Blame it on the C-Class' Nissan-sourced platform, which likely wouldn’t be able to handle the crushing torque of an AMG Biturbo engine — which in the S65 AMG tops out at 664 lb-ft alongside 603 horsepower. Comparing the X-Class to G65 AMG editions of the G-Wagen, Schumacher added, “with a V8 you get out of the mid-size pickup but if you look at the market correctly most of the market is focussed on the four-cylinder. A UTE-like that’s a different size of vehicle, it is very limited to the US really - they will have their own market.”
It seems Mercedes-Benz has duly considered the fact that pickups and SUVs offered in the United States typically feature engines with massive displacement and power figures, but that the international market, for which the X-Class is intended, is more focused on efficiency — case in point being the Hilux and Amarok, both of which are most popular with a fuel-sipping four-cylinder engine.