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The Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a luxury SUV/MPV introduced by Mercedes-Benz for the 2006 model year. It is the first multi-purpose vehicle ever produced by Mercedes-Benz. It was first seen at the 2002 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 was built on the W251 chassis, and was originally assembled in Vance, Alabama. It was 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".[4]

Mercedes-Benz R-Class
2010 Mercedes-Benz R350L Grand Edition CDi Automatic 3.0 Front.jpg
ManufacturerDaimlerChrysler (2006–2007)
Daimler AG (2007–2015)
AM General (2015–2017)
ProductionJune 2005[1] – October 2017
Model years2006–2013; 2014–2017 (China)
AssemblyUnited States: Gary, Indiana (2005–2015; Mercedes-Benz U.S. International)
Mishawaka, Indiana (2015–2017; AM General)[2]
Body and chassis
ClassMid-size[3] luxury SUV/MPV
Body style5-door SUV
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
PlatformMercedes-Benz W251
RelatedMercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Engine3.0 L V6
3.5 L V6
5.0 L V8
5.5 L V8
6.2 L V8
Transmission7-speed automatic
WheelbaseSWB: 2,980 mm (117.3 in)
LWB: 3,215 mm (126.6 in)
LengthSWB: 4,922 mm (193.8 in)
LWB: 5,156 mm (203.0 in)
Width2006–08 & 2011–2013: 1,922 mm (75.7 in)
2009–2010: 1,958 mm (77.1 in)
HeightSWB: 1,674 mm (65.9 in)
2006–08: 1,656 mm (65.2 in)
2009–2013 LWB: 1,661 mm (65.4 in)
Curb weight2,130–2,375 kg (4,696–5,236 lb)
SuccessorMercedes Benz V-Class

The R-Class was offered in two wheelbases, 2,980 mm (117.3 in) and 3,215 mm (126.6 in), the latter being the sole offering in the U.S.

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

As of 2014, the R-Class was a China-only model, and was assembled by contract manufacturer AM General in Indiana from 2015 to October 2017.



Not all engines are available in all markets.

Model Engine Power Torque Transmission Top Speed 0–100 km/h (62 mph) Economy Emissions
R280 CDI 3.0 L, 72°V6 (OM642) 190 PS (140 kW; 187 hp) 440 Nm (325 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 209 km/h (130 mph) 9.7 secs 34.0 mpg[clarification needed] 219 g/km
R300 CDI 3.0 L, 72°V6 (OM642) 190 PS (140 kW; 187 hp) 440 Nm (325 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 209 km/h (130 mph) 9.7 secs 34.0 mpg[clarification needed] 219 g/km
R320 CDI 3.0 L, 72°V6 (OM642) 224 PS (165 kW; 221 hp) 510 Nm (376 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 221 km/h (137 mph) 8.8 secs 30.4 mpg 246 g/km
R320 BlueTEC 3.0 L, 72°V6 (OM642) 213 PS (157 kW; 210 hp) 542 Nm (400 lb ft) 7G-Tronic ___ km/h (___ mph) 8.2 – 8.6 secs 20.6 mpg ___ g/km
R350 CDI L 3.0 L, 72°V6 (OM642) 269 PS (198 kW; 265 hp) 620 Nm (457 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 234 km/h (146 mph) 7.7 secs __._ mpg 223 g/km
R280 V6 3.0 L, 90°V6 (M272) 231 PS (170 kW; 228 hp) ___ Nm (___ lb ft) 7G-Tronic ___ km/h (___ mph) 8.1 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R350 V6 3.5 L, 90°V6 (M272) 272 PS (200 kW; 268 hp) 350 Nm (258 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 229 km/h (143 mph) 6.9 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R350 V6 3.5 L, 60°V6 (M276) 306 PS (225 kW; 302 hp) 370 Nm (273 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 229 km/h (143 mph) 6.8 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R500 V8 5.0 L, 90°V8 (M113) 306 PS (225 kW; 302 hp) 460 Nm (339 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 217 km/h (135 mph) 6.5 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R550 V8 5.5 L, 90°V8 (M273) 388 PS (285 kW; 383 hp) 530 Nm (339 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 250 km/h (155 mph) 5.4 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km
R63 AMG 6.2 L, 90°V8 (M156) 510 PS (375 kW; 503 hp) 630 Nm (465 lb ft) 7G-Tronic 250 km/h (155 mph) 4.6 secs __._ mpg ___ g/km

Safety and securityEdit

The R-Class scored "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) front crash test.[5] But it was only 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

The R-Class was tested by Thatcham's New Vehicle Security Ratings (NVSR) organisation and achieved the following ratings:[9]

Theft Of:      
Theft From:      


2007 changes to lineupEdit

Pre-facelift R320 CDI L with the AMG pack

Mercedes-Benz announced in May 2007 that the R-Class range would be broadened.[10] Rear-wheel drive variants became available in addition to the four-wheel-drive versions, and more flexible seating options (5, 6, or 7-seat versions) offered, AMG styling and new 3.0L engine is available in the R280 (petrol) and R300 CDI (diesel).

2011 mid-generational refreshEdit

2011–2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class (US)

The R-Class received a redesigned front fascia, grille, side mirrors, taillights, and revised rear-end styling for 2011. The facelifted model was unveiled at the 2010 New York International Auto Show.[11] Also introduced at the 2010 New York International Auto Show was the 2011 R550. It was powered by Mercedes' 382 horsepower, 5.5L V8 used in the ML and GL550's respectively. The R550 was only available in certain markets for that model year. R Class production leader Mierk Vahner stated "The R Class had no eight cylinder model since 2007, and we wanted to bring that back". Once again, due to poor sales, the R550 was dropped from the lineup for the 2012 model year.


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.[12]

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.[13] 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),[14] it has sold poorly compared to the GLK and M-Classes.[15] Due to low sales, the R-Class was discontinued after the 2012 model year in the United States (Discontinued after 2013 in Europe) and was replaced by the second generation GL/GLS Class and the Mercedes Benz Metris.[16]

Calendar year US sales
2005 4,959
2006 19,168
2007 13,031
2008 8,733
2009 2,825[17]
2010 2,937[18]
2011 4,102
2012 3,896

R63 AMGEdit

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 375 kW (510 PS; 503 bhp) and 465 lb·ft (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 4.6 seconds. The R63 AMG features 4MATIC all-wheel drive like the ML63 AMG, with no rear-wheel drive option available, which was standard on most AMG models.

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 into chassis with poor handling dynamics.[19][20][21] Due to low sales, as the majority chose diesel-powered vehicles, the R63 was taken out of production after the 2007 model year along with several changes in the R-Class lineup.


  1. ^ "About Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. (MBUSI)". Orion International. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  2. ^ Nussel, Philip; Meiners, Jens. "Mercedes plans to move R-class production to AM General in Indiana". Automotive News. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Former R-Class Review".
  4. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Canada from waybackmachine". Archived from the original on 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  5. ^ "IIHS-HLDI: Mercedes R class". 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  6. ^ "IIHS-HLDI: Mercedes R class". 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  7. ^ "IIHS-HLDI: Mercedes R class". Archived from the original on 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  8. ^ "Safety | New Car Whiplash Ratings | Car Search | Thatcham MIRRC". Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  9. ^ "New Vehicle Security Ratings | Car Search | Car Results | Thatcham MIRRC". Archived from the original on 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  10. ^ "The Unofficial Mercedes-Benz Weblog". eMercedesBenz. 2007-05-10. Archived from the original on 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  11. ^ Ewing, Steven J. (2010-03-28). "Brawnier 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class leaked ahead of New York debut — Autoblog". Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  12. ^ "MBUSI to produce Mercedes’ first hybrid in wake of poor R-Class reception", article published January 15 in Tuscaloosa News,
  13. ^ "First Drive: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is better by a nose". Autoblog. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  14. ^ [W251 chassis]
  15. ^ "First Drive: 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class". 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Posts Highest Sales Month for the Year With 20,025 Vehicles Sold in... – MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/". New Jersey: 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  18. ^ "Highest Sales Month for the Year at 21,469 Brings Mercedes-Benz to an... – MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/". New Jersey: Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  19. ^ "2005 BMW M5 vs. 2005 Mercedes-Benz e55 AMG – Full Metal Rockets – Luxury Road Test". Motor Trend. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  20. ^ "2009 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class".
  21. ^ "First Drive: 2007 Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG 4Matic". 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2011-08-02.

External linksEdit