Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz launched its eagerly-anticipated X-Class bakkie last year with one very notable exception - no V6 engine with which to counter the Amarok.

Thankfully Mercedes did openly promise that a V6 diesel would follow at a later stage to supplement the Nissan-sourced four-cylinder units, and here it is!

Revealed online ahead of its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next week, the X 350d 4Matic is powered by Merc’s 3-litre V6 turbodiesel engine. As previously reported, the motor produces 190kW at 3400rpm and 550Nm between 1400 and 3200rpm and according to official claims, the brawny bakkie will sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds. 

The engine is mated to a 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox with ‘flappy paddles’, and as with range-topping Amarok models, the V6 Merc has a permanent four-wheel-drive system, rather than the selectable 4WD that you get on four-cylinder X-Class models - and just about every other other pick-up for that matter.

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That’s not to say it’s gone soft as there’s still a low-range reduction gear for steep ascents and descents and buyers can order a rear axle diff lock for those axle-twisting trails.

The AWD system features a transfer case, flange-mounted to the main transmission and incorporating a continuously adjustable longitudinal differential. 

There is a rearward bias in the power distribution, with the central diff apportioning torque in a fixed 40:60 front to rear split. The all-wheel-drive system has three selectable modes, namely 4MAT for on-road driving, 4H for optimal traction off-road and 4L (low-range) for the really rough stuff.

Also unusual in the bakkie realm is the X 350d’s driving mode switch that allows drivers to choose from five modes for the engine and transmission characteristics, including an off-road mode. 

You won’t be able to buy the X-Class V6 in ‘workhorse’ spec, with only ‘Progressive’ and ‘Power’ trim grades available. The new version also ushers in a range of available accessories, including a Sports Bar, Rollcover and Softcover.

All models come with keyless go and dual-zone climate control as standard.

The new X-Class is set to be launched in South Africa around April this year, although the initial range will only include four-cylinder Nissan-sourced engines. 

The V6 turbodiesel is expected to follow later in the year.

IOL Motoring