The R-class’s strengths are its middle-row space and fully usable third row, but that’s about it
This face-lifted R-class is a more cohesive looking design that benefits from new headlamps, grille, bonnet and bumper – all reflecting the latest Mercedes-Benz lineage. But no matter how sophisticated the looks are, you still can’t get away from the fact that this does look like a shapely, low-slung van. This is true especially when you look at the rear three-quarters – the sheer length between the axles and the uninspired rear styling do nothing to hide the fact that this is essentially a people-mover.
It is based on the same platform as the Mercedes ML and GL 4x4s, which means the R-class is a monocoque and comes with 4MATIC, Merc-speak for a full-time, four-wheel-drive system. Suspension is by way of double wishbones up front and a multi-link setup at the rear and Merc’s AIRMATIC adaptive dampers. The car can be raised on its suspension to clear obstacles which is very useful when tackling speedbreakers. Enclosing all this is the massive body. At 5.1 metres, it is longer than the GL and quite a bit broader than an S-class. This substantial length and width adds a lot of weight and the
R-class weighs a pavement-crumbling 2230 kilos.
Surprisingly, the R-class doesn’t have the rigidity we expect from a Merc. Sure, the doors shut with a solid ‘thunk’ but over bad bits of road, the whole cabin shudders in a very un-German way.