Mercedes-Benz R-Class

The first Mercedes-Benz R-Class debuted in 2006 with the R350 and R500. The Mercedes engineers shocked the public by combining a minivan and a station wagon. Oddly enough, it seems to work. A bevy of standard features and good mechanics make driving this huge monster a piece of pie.

More on the Mercedes-Benz R-Class
About the Mercedes-Benz R-Class

The first inkling Mercedes-Benz gave its fans about the R-Class came in the form of the Vision GST, which the company revealed at the 2004 North American International Auto Show. The Mercedes-Benz R-Class is best described as a luxury touring wagon. It represents the first full-size, multi-purpose vehicle ever produced by Mercedes-Benz.

Although the R-Class doesn’t offer quite as much room as a minivan and only features six standard seats, it essentially provides a luxury family vehicle option for people who wouldn’t consider owning a traditional minivan.

Of course, the R-Class isn't quite as versatile as a real minivan. The traditional hinged rear doors fall short of the family-friendly sliding doors of the minivan. However, it comes standard with all-wheel drive for extra traction in bad weather. The R-Class offers a great vehicle for those who desire a versatile luxury automobile that avoids the silly stereotypes that come with driving a minivan.

Mercedes-Benz R-Class Features

The R350 4Matic model gets a new gasoline-powered V-6 for 2012 along with an upgraded transmission. New standard features on both R-Class models include LED daytime running lamps, a navigation system, real-time traffic, satellite radio, and HD radio.

The Premium 1 trim package adds a rear-view camera, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming exterior and interior mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory functions, and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The Premium 2 package includes all of the above along with keyless ignition/entry and an 11-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound audio system. The Lighting package adds bi-xenon headlamps with a self-cleaning system. The Sport Appearance package adds 20-inch AMG wheels and blue-tinted glass.

Regardless of what name you hang around its neck, the R-Class has more cargo capacity than virtually every luxury crossover and survives in the harsh environment of the vehicle market.

Mercedes-Benz R-Class Evolution

The Mercedes-Benz R-Class debuted in 2006, with an all-wheel drive R350 and an R500 model that could only be purchased in a six-passenger configuration. The R500 features a 5.0-liter, 302-horsepower V-8 engine.

Eighteen-inch wheels and heated front seats represent some of the extra features that come standard on the R500.

For 2007, Mercedes-Benz released the R-Class R320 CDI and R63 AMG. The R320 CDI shows similarity to the current Bluetec diesel in terms of output, but it doesn’t meet the emission certification requirements for sale in California.

The R63 AMG performance-tuned model is virtually a minivan on growth hormones, boasting a powerful, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that pushes 503 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque.

Mercedes engineers claim that the R63 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The R63 also handles better than the other R-Class trims thanks to larger wheels and tires and firmer suspension tuning.

Innovation did not equal sales for the R-Class, as a sluggish reaction by the public brought the demise of R500 and R63 AMG. Both vehicles ceased production after 2007, and a rear drive R350 joined the lineup for 2008, as well as optional seven-passenger seating that adds a middle seat to the second row.

Changes for the 2009 Mercedes-Benz R-Class include the R320 Bluetec diesel engine becoming 50-state-compliant and taking the place of the diesel-powered R320 CDI.

Additionally, a sunroof comes standard, along with an audio and navigation head unit with HD radio, real-time traffic updates, Bluetooth, an iPod interface, and new voice controls for various features. Mercedes also discontinued the rear drive R350 in 2009, which means all R-Class models now come equipped with all-wheel drive.

For 2010, the Mercedes-Benz R-Class gains standard 19-inch wheels and the seven-seat configuration as a stand-alone option. Other minor feature changes and adjustments include heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, three-zone climate control, and a rear entertainment system.

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz R350 4Matic features a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes estimates a zero to 60 mph time of 8.0 seconds. The mid-range fuel economy reaches 14/19 mpg city/highway.

The 2010 R350 Bluetec R-Class features a 3.0-liter turbo diesel V-6 engine that employs Mercedes-Benz's clean-diesel technology. It produces 210 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

The 2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, active front head restraints, front- and second-row side airbags, and side curtain airbags for all three rows. Mercedes' new ""mbrace"" emergency telematics system, which replaces the TeleAid system, also comes standard.

In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s crash testing, the R-Class achieves the highest rating of ""Good"" for frontal-offset and side crash protection.

Select a Mercedes-Benz R-Class Year

2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

The most significant change to the Mercedes-Benz R-Class for model year 2012 is the 3.5-liter V-6 to the R350 4MATIC model. More powerful yet more fuel efficient, the new engine generates 302 horsepower and is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission for EPA-rated fuel economy of 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.

2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

The 2011 model year brings a restyle that gives the R-Class more crossover-like looks. There’s a more rugged-looking grille, restyled hood, fenders, side mirrors, new headlights, and LED taillights. Inside, there is new wood trim, new seat stitching, a 3-D instrument cluster, and “saddle” head restraints. Daytime running lights and blind spot assist are now available. The five-spoke 19-inch wheels are a new design.

2010 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

2009 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

In an effort to attract more buyers, Mercedes chose to scrap the top two models from the lineup of its high-end 2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

2007 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

Luxury, performance, practicality, and family are rarely words used to describe the value of one vehicle.

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Minivan/Van, Wagon

Technically classified as a wagon, the all-new 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is an impressive crossbreed of a minivan, sport sedan, and luxury SUV.