It’s a model that in many ways is the bastard of the Mercedes-Benz model lineup, not because there’s anything wrong with it (in fact, the R-Class is actually quite nice inside), but rather due to Mercedes’ horrid marketing approach when attempting to promote the vehicle. It’s not a minivan, it’s a “sports tourer” may sound familiar. Or maybe you saw the R-Class when it went on tour with the Rolling Stones (probably not). Rather than calling it what is was and marketing it as a model suited perfectly for families, Mercedes instead aimed for the senior citizens and their lavish Social Security checks, and the rest, as they say, is a sales disaster.
But if there’s anything to be said for Mercedes, it’s that they’re not quitters. For better or for worse, sales figures be dammed, when Mercedes wants a model to work, they’re going to make it work. Want proof? Meet the new R-Class. You thought it was on its way out, relegated to the history books and our distant memories, but it’s back, and it’s bigger and stronger than ever (figuratively speaking).
When you look at the updated Mercedes R-Class, you’ll immediately notice one thing: this isn’t your ordinary mid-life revision. Mercedes knew the old R-Class design wasn’t working, so they altered it – significantly. The oval headlamps are gone; the grille that was proportioned way to small is gone; the severely sloping hood is gone. Replacing them, stretched headlamps that in no way reflect an oval shape; a substantially larger grille; and a heightened hood to match. If you kind of squint a little bit, the changes almost make the R-Class look a little like the Audi Q7. In the back, the changes are a little more subdued; however the taillights and bumper have both benefitted from a bit of tweaking.
Inside, a variety of new color combinations are available, including almond beige paired with mocha brown and alpaca paired with basalt. In addition, an AMG sports interior is an optionally available extra, which includes AMG sports seats in nappa leather, an AMG sports steering wheel with shift paddles, sports pedals in brushed stainless steel, a new lighting package and floor mats with AMG lettering. Topping it all off, Blind Spot Assist and NECK-PRO head restraints are now available as optional safety systems.
And last but not least, power in the R350 CDI 4MATIC is reportedly getting a bump in power to 265 hp with reduced consumption and lower CO2 emissions. In real world use, the model’s said to average 27.5 miles per gallon. No other engines are mentioned as of yet, but we’ll of course keep you posted when the official press release and the full list of model changes is unveiled. In the meantime, you can view more photos of the updated Mercedes R-Class in the photo gallery below. And a special thanks to Markus Jordan for the tip.