2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Auto Review

21 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Auto Review

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

#220;ber wagon

Dan Lyons on 10.01.2005

We know that many people are getting out of their SUVs, but where they go from there though is anybody’s guess. It’s a topic of more than merely passing interest to automakers, whose livelihoods depend on meeting market demands. Just reacting isn’t enough: If a manufacturer waits until sales trends appear, it will already be too late to respond.

The key is to anticipate, to figure out what buyers will want three of four years from now, and have it ready and waiting for them.

Comfort Zone

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

A bigger outside means a bigger inside-an important trait in a people hauler like the R-Class. This new Mercedes has a flexible floor plan, allowing seating for as many as six or as few as two. Choose the former and the R-Class provides three rows of two individual seats. Each can be adjusted to accommodate an average-sized adult and the rear two rows fold flat forward in whatever combination one may need.

In maximum seating mode, there’s 15.2 cubic feet of storage space, whereas 42.2 cubic feet are available with the 3rd row folded down. Maximum storage is a whopping 85 cubic feet and, with seats so configured, a 4×8-foot sheet of plywood will fit flat inside.

Two R-Class models are offered, distinguished mainly by engine. The $48,775 R350 is powered by a 268-hp, 3.5 liter V-6. The R500, at $56,275, draws 302 hp out of its 5.0-liter V-8.

Mercedes reckons 0-60 times of 7.8 seconds for the R350 and 6.5 seconds for the R500. For the family transport class, that’s quick and quicker respectively, especially when tipping the scales at nearly two and a half tons. One reason for the heft is the platform. Both R-Class models are all-wheel drive. The 4Matic system has a default power spilt of 50/50 front/rear.

The system varies the amount of torque from front to rear and side-to-side to maximize traction as conditions dictate. Along for the ride is an armada of active electronics: traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes.

Although not intended for off-roading the combination of four drive wheels with traction control and a lower, car-like center of gravity should make the R-Class far more roadworthy in winter weather than a traditional SUV. On dry roads, the four-wheel, independent suspension feels more like a sedan than a minivan, handling with assurance that belies its size. Both 6- and 8-cylinder engines are coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission.

Triggered by a steering wheel-mounted stalk, there are fingertip buttons on the back of the wheel for do-it-yourselfers.

Mercedes-Benz has had the long wheelbase, luxury sport tourer class all to itself since the October 1 release of the new R-Class. That’s expected to change, with competitive models in the works from Audi, BMW, Lexus and Lincoln. Mercedes frames the R-Class as an automotive decathlete, aimed at a target market of late forming affluent families and socialite empty nesters. Exclusive, elegant and accomplished, the new Mercedes-Benz R-Class has the flexible floor plan of a minivan and the upscale trappings of a luxury sedan. (www.mbusa.com)

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

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