A Mercedes-Benz X-Class V8 pickup could be on the cards if there is customer demand, a local report has uncovered. It could come in as a performance variant, inspired by the sporty X-Class concept (pictured below).
Head of X-Class engineering, Frank Schumacher, spoke to Drive at the launch of the X350d, which joins local showrooms later this year. With 190kW and 550Nm, the turbo-diesel V6 ute will be the most powerful in its class, at least until Volkswagen ups the ante on its Amarok and rolls out a 200kW upgrade for its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6.
Nevertheless, there are not currently any V8 medium-sized pickups on sale in Australia. This is strange considering Australia’s decades-long love-affair with V8 utes. Since Ford and Holden left the game, the only options now are the Ram 1500, from AU$79,950, or a conversion such as the Killa Kustoms LS3 kits for the Holden Colorado. Schumacher did mention that there is still untapped potential to regain its power crown, however:
“Yeah, there is always more 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.”
Schumacher did go to pains to stress that there is not something in Mercedes’ current product plans to fulfil the desires of V8 ute customers at present, and that US customers would be prioritised, if we even get it at all.
“We surely can make it happen, it’s just a question of what V8 you want to put in. You can put the six-litre in, yeah, but so far there is no plan. A ute like that is a different size of vehicle, it is very limited to the US really – they will have their own market,” Schumacher said referring to the full-size pickup category which includes RAM 1500.