Mercedes has added a diesel variant to its R-Class MPV lineup, the R 350 CDI (Long wheel-base). It is priced at Rs 58.9 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The petrol variant of the R-Class was launched last year.
Thanks to styling cues borrowed from the company’s saloon and SUV models, the ambiguously shaped R-class MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) does not crouch into the rather dreary minivan territory like the earlier model but makes its own luxury MPV segment with no other car to share space with.
The fully loaded version comes with bi-xenon headlamps, steel spring suspension in front and AIRmatic (Adaptive Intelligent Ride control) system featuring self-leveling air suspension in the rear to aid comfort and improve driving dynamics. The R 350 CDI is powered by a 2987cc V6 diesel powerplant.
The interiors is where the R-class scores; the highly flexible interiors can seat up to seven in various seating combinations. The third row is the most impressive – even better than the GL. The seats can be folded down to create a massive 2,385 litres of storage area. Leather interiors are available in two tones of contrasting shades, a leather-covered tilt and telescopic steering wheel, dual zone automatic climate control and a choice of high gloss wood trims. The R-class features a command system with an in-dash six-disc CD/DVD changer and a long list of entertainment options such as eight-inch screens for the rear passengers, a DVD player and wireless headphones.
The new R-class gets Mercedes’ latest generation 7G-Tronic automatic transmission that has a Direct Select lever on the steering column and shift paddles placed on the steering wheel. The new torque converter reduces transmission input when the car is at rest thus reducing fuel consumption.
In the Indian market, the R-class will not face any competition in its segment since it will be the only car, but it will cross paths with the Audi Q7 and the base Porsche Cayenne in terms of pricing. What works for the R-class are space, practicality and comfort of an MPV coupled with refinement and driving dynamics of a saloon car.