Road marking and specialist surfacing business Quality Marking Surfaces has relied on Mercedes-Benz vehicles since its inception in 2001 – so when the manufacturer announced that it was launching its first pickup, Managing Director Greg Clark was keen to ensure that his company was among the first customers for the exciting newcomer.
Having rewarded his three site managers with X 250 d versions of the X-Class, Mr Clark has now treated himself to a top-of-the-range, V6-engined X 350 d POWER.
Family-run Quality Marking Surfaces is based in Newton Abbott, Devon, and purchased all four vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter. They have joined a fleet that includes three Mercedes-Benz vans – a pair of Sprinters and a Vito – and a couple of 18-tonne trucks which also wear three-pointed stars
QMS’s highly-trained operatives apply durable line markings, anti-skid surfaces and decorative treatments to roads, car parks, playgrounds and the like. The company works throughout the UK and Ireland for a wide variety of customers, including Government departments, local authorities, construction, facilities management and storage companies, retailers, schools and private individuals.
Introduced in 2018, the doublecab X-Class broke new ground as the first premium brand pickup. This imposingly styled four-door, five-seater combines strength, functionality and off-road performance, with the classical design, comfort, driving dynamics and safety characteristics of a true Mercedes-Benz.
Mr Clark explained: “Mercedes Benz is a by-word for quality, and we’ve always been pleased to associate our own business with the brand. I was extremely interested, therefore, when Mercedes-Benz announced that it was entering the pickup market – the concept versions which it teased prior to release certainly whetted the appetite.”
A test drive laid on by the Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter confirmed that with its rugged practicality and ‘go anywhere’ capability, outstanding comfort and safety, the X-Class would be the ideal vehicle for site managers who travel the length and breadth of the country to oversee QMS’s operations.The X 250 d employs a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder diesel which produces 190 hp and impressive torque. It is equipped with engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive with low-range gearing, and an optional differential lock on the rear axle.
“Our managers are delighted with their pickups,” confirmed Greg Clark. “As well as offering an enhanced driving experience, the X-Class is extremely practical – the guys don’t generally carry a great deal in the way of materials and equipment, but should they need to do so the vehicle offers a payload of more than a tonne, and will tow a further 3.5 tonnes on a braked trailer.
“We’re also a very image-conscious company, and in their smart, QMS liveries, the X-Class also help us to convey a positive, and highly professional impression to customers.”Mr Clark took delivery of his own, permanent all-wheel drive X 350 d POWER shortly after the model’s addition to the X-Class family. Its 3.0-litre V6 delivers a muscular 258 hp and 555 Nm of torque over a wide engine speed range, and is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
“From the first press of the keyless ignition and the growl of the engine, you know you are sat in something special,” he enthused. “I feel totally in control at all times, and the ride quality is superb, even on long journeys when it’s extremely relaxing.
“The optional, 360-degree camera is great, and very easy to use, while the rear sports bar, roller cover and load divider all work hand-in-hand and give the pickup a look that really does turn heads. I’ve nicknamed my X-Class ‘Vikki Sixx’, and she’s now firmly embedded into my daily life.”
Classed as a commercial vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class therefore attracts the favourable Benefit-in-Kind rates afforded to doublecab pick-ups in the UK. This also enhanced its appeal to Mr Clark.Its wide track, a spring and damping system tuned for comfort, and internally vented disc brakes front and rear, combine to ensure that the X-Class performs supremely well, both on and off road. Intelligent on-board connectivity is another X-Class highlight. Standard features include a seven-inch high-resolution colour screen with touch pad, Bluetooth, DAB radio, reverse camera, and pre-installation for Garmin® MAP PILOT route guidance.
Below: Quality Marking Services Managing Director Greg Clark with his own Mercedes-Benz X 350 d POWER, and, behind, his site managers X 250 d pickups.