For 2008, Mercedes-Benz has performed a series of updates on its R-Class people mover (Mercedes calls it an "SUV Tourer" -- identity crisis, anyone?), and as was previously reported, RWD-only variants are now in the mix. There's quite a bit more to the update than just that, however, and Mercedes is certainly hoping that the new choices customers face will help punch up the car's sales numbers. In the US, for example, the R-Class is down 38-percent versus last year (through April). Just in case variety isn't enough, the cost of entry is getting dropped several notches as well, with starting prices several thousand Euros lower than the outgoing model's.
The '08 R gets revised front and rear fascias, but the changes are subtle. In front, the round foglamps and trapezoidal, AMGish-looking surround to the lower air intake are the key identifiers. Both short and long-wheelbase editions are being offered, and new, more flexible seating options allow the luxo-MPV to haul five, six or seven passengers in comfort. Naturally, the usual assortment of creature comforts and convenience features is part of the overall package.
A range of gasoline and diesel engines is available, with Mercedes' 388-horsepower 5.5L V8 motivating the range-topping R 500 4MATIC. The only transmission available is MB's 7G-TRONIC seven-speed auto.The R280, R280 CDI, and R350 are available as RWD-only vehicles (In fact, the R280 gasoline-powered car is only available in this configuration). The 4MATIC roster is made up of the R280 CDI, R320 CDI, R350, and R500. There's no word yet on whether or not the ridiculously powerful R63 AMG will make a return sporting the new threads. Additional details, including the Euro price breakdown, are in the Mercedes press release pasted after the jump.
SUV Tourer offering a wealth of combination options: The R-Class - enhanced versatility and appeal
Stuttgart, May 10, 2007
Even greater interior adaptability, two wheelbase lengths, rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC all-wheel drive and new engine variants – the Mercedes-Benz R-Class now opens up even more possibilities, especially when it comes to seating arrangements. The line-up, which includes the familiar configurations with up to six individual seats, has been augmented to include a five-seat version and a seven-seat variant. Plus new, distinctive bodystyling at the front and rear end lends the SUV Tourer added appeal.
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class continues to set trends. This exceptional automotive concept combines the acknowledged strengths of several vehicle classes. Exemplary touring comfort, superlative handling dynamics, a high level of adaptability, extremely spacious accommodation, including a vast luggage compartment, coupled with expressive design and hallmark Mercedes safety – the R-Class leaves very little to be desired. For the first time, the SUV Tourer features a second row of seats for three people, giving a total of five seats and an unbeatably large versatile load compartment: the short-wheelbase versions can swallow 939 litres of luggage when loaded up to the roof, while the long-wheelbase models have a luggage-compartment capacity of 1118 litres. The short-wheelbase R Class can carry a maximum of 2001 litres (longest load-compartment length 1982 mm) whilst the figure for the long-wheelbase version is an unparalleled 2436 litres (longest load-compartment length 2217 mm). These passenger- and load-compartment dimensions make the R-Class the most spacious model in the entire Mercedes-Benz passenger-car range. Both versions feature practical stowage compartments under the load-compartment floor, with a capacity of 51 and 52 litres respectively. These can be used for stowing various items and keeping valuables out of sight.
Adaptability writ large
Even holiday trips with five people and all their luggage on board are handled with ease. If the rear seat in the centre is not required, it can be turned into a comfortable centre armrest in just a few simple moves. The second seat row has space for three child seats or child restraint systems. The outer seats are equipped with ISOFIX attachment points and come with the option of side airbags to further improve passive safety. All of the seats are fitted with three-point seat belts. Plus two individual seats can be added at the rear to transform the R-Class into a 5+2-seater. Despite the new seating arrangement in the centre of the vehicle, convenience functions such as fore/aft adjustment and EASY ENTRY, which facilitates access to the rear seats, are retained. All of the seats in the rear compartment can be folded down individually to produce a completely flat loading area. The previously mandatory 4+2-seat configuration is still available as an option.
Attractive exterior exudes confidence
The new model-year R-Class not only boasts new interior features. On the outside, too, the facelifted SUV Tourer is distinguishable by the highly distinctive bodystyling package at the front and rear, circular fog lamps and 18-inch light-alloy wheels for all V6 versions. The top-of-the-range R 500 4MATIC is fitted with 19-inch wheels. R-Class customers can also choose from three new paint colours: calcite white, sanidine beige or periclase green. These changes apply to both the short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase models.
Complete range from R 280 CDI to R 500 4MATIC
The engine line-up is augmented by the new V6 petrol powerplant in the R 280, which shines with its impressive power delivery and moderate fuel-consumption figures. This particular unit develops 170 kW/231 hp, propels the R-Class from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.6 seconds and consumes a mere 10.9 litres of premium unleaded per 100 km (NEDC-combined figure). The R 280 CDI 4MATIC, fitted with a latest-generation common-rail diesel engine developing 140 kW/190 hp, is even more fuel efficient. With a peak torque of 440 Nm, the V6 powerplant delivers smooth performance yet requires just 9.3 litres of diesel per 100 km. The R 500 4MATIC model also features a new engine in the shape of a 5.5-litre V8 developing 285 kW/388 hp and a peak torque of 530 Nm, thus ensuring impressive performance figures. The flagship V8 engine develops 82 hp more than the previous model, while fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 7 percent (all NEDC-combined figures). All R-Class models are specified with the innovative 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT lever on the steering column.
Mercedes-Benz now offers three new entry-level R-Class models – the R 280 CDI, the R 280 and the R 350 – all of which are V6 versions with rear-wheel drive and a choice of a short or long wheelbase. Thanks to the reduction in weight and the lower powertrain losses due to friction, the latter on account of the rear-wheel-drive configuration, these models return even lower fuel-consumption figures. The most fuel-efficient R-Class is now the R 280 CDI which consumes just 8.9 litres of diesel per 100 km (NEDC combined).
All five-seater and 4+2-seater model variants are equipped with steel suspension, while air suspension with level control is available as an optional extra for the rear axle. All 5+2-seater variants and the flagship R 500 4MATIC model have air suspension with level control fitted as standard at the rear. AIRMATIC air suspension with the Adaptive Damping System (ADS) is available as an optional extra for all versions.
At a glance: the R-Class technical data
170/231 R 350
Nm from rpm
0-100 km/h s
Top speed km/h
R 280 CDI
R 280 CDI*
R 320 CDI
* Only available with short wheelbase; figures in brackets are for models with long wheelbase
Complete range of equipment for the ultimate in comfort
** Electronically limited
All R-Class models feature new items of standard equipment that make automotive travel even more relaxing. For instance, the THERMATIC automatic climate control is equipped with a combination filter to further reduce the pollutants in the air inside the vehicle whilst the spacious glove compartment now incorporates an AUX-IN connection for external audio or entertainment devices.
In addition to the extensive standard-equipment package, the R-Class offers numerous assistance systems that represent the pinnacle in handling comfort and safety and back up the claim to leadership in this market segment. These include DISTRONIC proximity control, actively ventilated front seats, LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control and a reversing camera for safe and easy parking or manoeuvring when visibility is poor. As soon as the driver selects "R" (reverse gear), the camera image appears on the COMAND APS display. Rear passengers can select their own programme of on-board entertainment courtesy of the rear-seat entertainment system. Further comfort-enhancing options include an auxiliary heater with remote control and an electrically heated steering wheel for when the weather turns colder.
Scientific studies carried out by the DaimlerChrysler research department confirm the outstanding level of long-distance comfort provided by the R-Class. This comfort has a profound effect on driver-fitness safety. Driver stress, measured based on heart rate, is much lower in the R-Class than in comparable vehicles.
The latest-generation R-Class can now be ordered from authorised Mercedes-Benz outlets, with deliveries commencing in autumn 2007. Prices start at € 46,707.50 incl. VAT (R 280 short-wheelbase) – well below the previous entry-level price of € 50,337. Prices for long-wheelbase models start at € 48,492.50 incl. VAT (R 280 long-wheelbase) as against the previous entry-level price of € 54,621.
R-Class prices* at a glance:
|Short wheelbase**||Long wheelbase**|
|R 280 CDI||EUR 47,421.50||EUR 49,206.50|
|R 280 CDI 4MATIC||EUR 50,039.50||---|
|R 320 CDI 4MATIC||EUR 53,252.50||EUR 55,037.50|
|R 280||EUR 46,707.50||EUR 48,492.50|
|R 350||EUR 49,920.50||EUR 51,705.50|
|R 350 4MATIC||EUR 52,538.50||EUR 54,323.50|
|R 500 4MATIC||EUR 69,079.50||EUR 70,864.50|