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Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Broadcast date : 9th April 2006

The American Mercedes. That’s what you may well christen the R-Class – the new Merc cross-over vehicle that’s built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama – at the same plant where the M-Class sets sale for world markets.

The R-Class made its home-turf debut last October and goes on sale in Europe around now.

Like its M-Class brother, it’s a full-time all-wheel-drive machine and features a similar engine line-up – the 200 kilowatt V6 or the faithful 225 kilowatt V8.

The R-Class Mercedes has a few features we haven’t seen on Mercs for a while. Most notable is that the centrally-mounted gear-lever has given way to a steering column stalk – just like the old days when we used to refer to this system as a column shift.

The seven-speed auto ‘box – standard with both V6 and V8 engines – can also be manually shifted by steering-wheel mounted buttons.

The other unique selling point on the R-Class is its seating-for-six configuration, which makes this a long car – about 5,1 metres – but handling is sporty, thanks to big diameter, low-profile wheel and tyre combos, double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, and all-wheel-drive.

Optional is Airmatic suspension, which can also raise the ride height by some 50mm for rough roads.

The V8 will take you to a 100 in under 7 seconds and on to the regulation 250 km/h. In case that’s not enough an AMG R-Class version has just been announced at the Detroit show.

All in all, quite stylish, although, visually at least, we still prefer the Euro-elegance of the E-Class Estate.

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