Mercedes-Benz is taking aim at the BMW X3 and the next Land Rover Freelander with this new baby off-roader to slot beneath the M-class.
The new X-class stretches the tape measure to around 4500mm, some 100mm shorter than the ML. The wheelbase, in particular, is noticeably shorter than the bigger SUV’s.
The new 4x4 is part of a two-pronged junior off-roader strategy being readied by the German car maker, which plans to sell the new high-riding five-seater to slot between a new Smart SUV and the next-generation, bigger M-class.
The new Smart off-roader will be called ForMore, in keeping with the company’s new naming policy that has already given us the ForTwo and ForFour. The name of the Mercedes has not yet been decided, although indications are that it may go into production as the X-class.
That name was registered in February last year for the US, Canada and Germany and Autocar has discovered that Mercedes has already registered model designations including X280 and X350.
‘There is clearly room at the lower end of the Mercedes line-up for a smaller four-wheel-drive vehicle,’ said one senior source in Stuttgart. ‘Our plan is to come at the established competition with a bottom-up and top-down approach.’