THE 157kW/500Nm Ford Ranger Raptor now has a performance target to beat. The challenger? It’s the 190kW/550Nm V6-engined Mercedes-Benz X350d, which will officially dispatch the 0-100km/h benchmark in 7.9 seconds.
Ford has shown its Raptor-badged version of the Ranger, but released few details of its performance swagger. We know it sits on a wider track and a little higher than the boggo trade ute it uses as its template, but while US buyers will talk reverently of the 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 under the hood of their version, we’re left standing around scratching our heads at the 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel under the bonnet of ours, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. A 2.0-litre oil burner? How fast could that be?
The German luxury brand will show its top-end trade ute at next week’s Geneva motor show, featuring a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and permanent all-wheel drive.
It will come with Benz’s dynamic engine mode as standard, meaning in sport mode the big trade ute will hold its gears, fire through gear shifts (either by itself or via steering wheel-mounted shifter paddles), sharpen throttle inputs and – if it is fitted with active dampers, which so far it isn’t – corner like it’s trying out for an AMG badge.
Mercedes-Benz is keen to talk up the X350d’s performance qualities, stating: “The performance of the X-Class is not only thrilling off-road, but also on the road.
“The wide track, the long wheelbase and the sophisticated design of the comfort suspension with a double wishbone front axle, the multi-link rear axle with a rigid section and coil springs at both axles ensure plenty of on-road driving pleasure and driving dynamics – with no compromises when off-road.”
That’s because the range-topping X-Class, due on sale in Australia late this year, has a coil rear suspension like the Ranger. But Ford’s system is a Watts link, just like its closely related Everest SUV, and it wears custom Fox performance shocks. We’re yet to see what the bent-six Benz will use.
By default, the X-Class’s all-wheel-drive system pushes 60 percent of drive to the rear wheels.
“This rear-based configuration ensures improved vehicle dynamics and higher lateral acceleration on the road, and better traction during acceleration,” Mercedes said.
The V6-engined X-Class ute will sell in Europe in mid-spec Progressive and high-end Power equipment lines. Like the Ranger, the top-end V6 will feature underbody bash plates that help protect things once the bitumen ends.
And it wouldn’t be Mercedes-Benz without making some obscure link to Formula 1 when talking up new product. It says the special coating on the cylinder linings of the 3.0-litre turbocharged donk comes straight out of the technology developed for the Grand Prix circus.