Mercedes has given the R-Class a comprehensive update. The most obvious change is the adoption of entirely new frontal styling.
The R-Class, a large and practical SUV/MPV crossover has struggled a bit in the market despite having a lot to offer – a mixture of slightly misjudged specs, pricing and ugly frontal styling have held it back. Mercedes has tried to tweak the range in the past in an effort to improve things, but this latest programme of changes perhaps turns the R-Class into the car it always should have been.
There are now just two versions, both diesel powered – a 2WD 300CDI and a 4WD 350CDI (also available in long wheelbase form); both benefit from Mercedes' fuel-saving "BlueEFFICIENCY" technology, making them more economical than earlier R-Classes. The new front-end is a significant improvement. Previously the "R" looked like a big B-Class from the front, which undermined its comparatively elevated position in the Mercedes range – now it has a much more handsome look, which better matches the flowing, even sporty lines of the rest of the car.
The R-Class has also received a boost of sorts with the recent arrival of BMW's 5-Series Gran Turismo model; while this of course provides stiff competition for the big Merc, it also confirms that BMW to thinks there is a market for a large crossover too.