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Mercedes-Benz R-Class
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Mercedes-Benz R-Class

The R-Class is a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) offered by Daimler AG in 2006 model year under the Mercedes-Benz brand. It is the first full-sized multi-purpose vehicle ever produced by Mercedes-Benz. It was first seen at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show as the Vision GST (Grand Sports Tourer) concept, and the final production vehicle was shown at the 2005 New York International Auto Show. The R-Class is built on the W251 chassis, and is assembled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Toluca, Mexico. It is priced between the M-Class and the GL-Class. It was initially marketed by Mercedes-Benz as a "Sports Cruiser" and later as a "Family Tourer".[1]

The R-Class is offered in two wheelbases, and , the latter being the lone offering in the US.

Models using the BlueTec diesel engine were introduced for the 2009 model year in certain markets, with other markets getting Mercedes' BlueEFFICIENCY technology.



Not all engines are available in all markets.

Model Engine Power Torque Transmission Top Speed 0-62 mph Economy Emissions
R300 CDI 3.0 L, V6 in-V 440 Nm (325 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 209 km/h (130 mph) 9.7 secs 34.0 mpg 219 g/km
R350 CDI 3.0 L, V6 in-V 510 Nm (376 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 221 km/h (137 mph) 8.8 secs 30.4 mpg 246 g/km
R350 BlueTEC 3.0 L, V6 in-V 542 Nm (400 lb ft) 7G-Tronic ___ km/h (___ mph) 8.2 - 8.6 secs 20.6 mpg ___ g/km
R280 V6 3.0 L, V6 in-V ___ Nm (___ lb ft) 7G-Tronic ___ km/h (___ mph) 8.1 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R350 V6 3.5 L, V6 in-V 350 Nm (258 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 230 km/h (143 mph) 6.9 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R500 V8 5.5 L, V8 in-V ___ Nm (___ lb ft) 7G-Tronic 250 km/h (155 mph) 5.8 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R63 AMG 6.2 L, V8 in-V 630 Nm (465 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 250 km/h (155 mph) 4.9 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km

Safety and security

The R-Class scores "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) front crash test.[2] But was given an "Acceptable" rating in the side impact crash test before 2009 models built after September 2008 because the test dummy's torso faced excessive loads.[3] For 2009 models built after September 2008, Mercedes modified the seatbelts and interior door trim and the IIHS rated the R-class "Good" overall in side impacts allowing the R-Class to receive the Top Safety Pick award.[4]

Thatcham's New Car Whiplash Ratings (NCWR) organisation tested the R-Class for its ability to protect occupants against whiplash injuries with the car achieving the top 'Good' rating overall.[5]

The R-Class was tested by Thatcham's New Vehicle Security Ratings (NVSR) organisation and achieved the following ratings:[6]

Theft Of:
Theft From:


2007 changes to lineup

Pre-facelift R320 CDI L with the AMG pack Mercedes-Benz announced in May 2007 that the R-Class range would be broadened.[7] Rear-wheel drive variants will be available in addition to the four-wheel-drive versions, and more flexible seating options (5, 6, or 7-seat versions) would be offered, AMG styling and new 3.0L engines will be available in the R280 (petrol) and R300 CDI (diesel).

2011 mid-generational refresh

2011-present Mercedes-Benz R-Class (US) The R-Class received a redesigned front end and revised rear-end styling for 2011. The facelifted model was unveiled at the 2010 New York International Auto Show.[8]


Sales have not met with manufacturer's expectations, having fallen well short of a planned 50,000 a year, with half of units destined for the United States. In 2007 only 13,031 vehicles were sold in the US. Poor sales of the model have been attributed to a crowded marketplace, poor marketing positioning, and fuel efficiency concerns among consumers at the time the vehicle was launched.[9]

The lukewarm reception to the R-Class in Canada and the United States was similar to the poor sales of the Chrysler Pacifica, a large crossover produced from 2003 to 2007 by Mercedes-Benz's parent DaimlerChrysler, under the Chrysler division. Like the Pacifica, the R-Class is supposed to share the attributes of the minivan, SUV, and a wagon. Similar to Chrysler's marketing of the Pacifica which was unsuccessful, Mercedes was unable to convince the public that the R-Class was a pioneer of new category of vehicle, as consumers preferred more traditional SUV-style crossovers. Despite the R-Class being more upscale and sophisticated (compared to the Pacifica's minivan platform) with a better executed launch (while the Pacifica was plagued with production and marketing flaws),[10] it has sold poorly compared to the GLK and M-Classes.[11]

Calendar year US sales
2005 4,959
2006 18,168
2007 13,031
2008 7,733
2009 2,825[12]
2010 2,937[13]


The AMG version of the W251, the R63 AMG, was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show as a 2007 model. It features a handbuilt 6.2 L M156 V8 engine producing 503 hp (375 kW) and 465 ft lbf (630 N m) of torque. Mercedes-Benz's 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission is standard across the R-Class lineup, with the R63's version of the gearbox featuring AMG-calibrated shift times with shifting buttons on the back of the steering wheel. The R63 AMG is electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h), with 0-62 mph time of 5.0 seconds. The R63 AMG features 4MATIC all-wheel drive like the ML63 AMG.

The notion of a high-performance AMG version of the R-Class was not well-received, given the heavy weight of the vehicle, and as Mercedes-AMG in general was accused of stuffing huge engines stuffed into chassis' with poor handling dynamics.[14][15][16] Due to low sales, as the majority chose diesel-powered vehicles, the R63 was taken out of production in 2007 along with several changes in the R-Class lineup.


External links

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