Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Specifications prices Modifications and Image  2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Although it has never really found a loyal following in North America, Mercedes-Benz’s R-Class serves as the brand’s multi-passenger flagship. With room for the whole family, this executive express crossover-wagon-minivan has long made a great vehicle in which to be hauled around in luxury.

With its doors wide open, Mercedes-Benz brought us within miles of the land of chauffeur-driven vehicles, New York, to sample the revised 2011 edition of its R-Class. Fine, we were in Hoboken, New Jersey, just up the block from the old Erie Lackawanna Railroad Terminal, where we swear we saw the ghost of Frank Sinatra.

But did Frank sing his praises about Mercedes’ R-Class?

Never a vehicle to walk out the local Mercedes-Benz dealer’s showroom in big numbers, it is still an intriguing piece of kit and one we think Sinatra would have liked.
The space provided behind the front seats is so generous that up to three child safety seats can be installed at the same time. If only four seats are required, the centre backrest can be folded down to serve as an armrest. Alternatively, the six-seater version features a console as standard in place of the centre seat. This also enables the Mercedes R-Class to shine with four luxurious individual seats.

The high-class interior - which seems even more spacious when fitted with the optional panoramic glass sunroof - makes use of new materials and colour combinations to enhance the high-class appeal and quality of this luxury tourer. At the same time they underline the sense of wellbeing which is so typical of a Mercedes-Benz interior. Available interior appointments include the upholstery combination of "Aspen" fabric and breathable, soft-touch ARTICO man-made leather.

Two-tone interior appointments are a new addition to the range: this is where the base colour almond beige can be combined with the contrasting shade mocha brown. Alternatively, the base colour alpaca grey combined with contrasting dark basalt grey is also available. Both colour combinations are used on the dashboard, steering wheel, centre console, seats, door linings and floor coverings. When choosing ARTICO or leather appointments at the same time - in this case the seats feature a new transverse and linear piping design - the piping is finished in a contrasting colour. As alternatives to the aluminium trim with a dark longitudinal grain or the chrome trim in silver shadow, it is also possible to order luxurious wood trims in high-gloss brown eucalyptus, high-gloss brown burred walnut or high-gloss anthracite poplar.

The telematics of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class impress with intuitive and user-friendly operation, high performance and great versatility. The luxury tourer is fitted as standard with the Audio 20 CD system with CD changer. This includes a 12.7 cm (5-inch) colour display, a twin tuner for better radio reception, speed-sensitive volume control, eight loudspeakers and a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies. A hands-free system with Bluetooth interface and an Aux-in connection for mobile audio devices such as an iPod are also integrated. On request, a Media Interface (UCI) is also available to connect an external music memory to the onboard electronics and the control system, so that music tracks are shown in the instrument cluster and the colour display in the centre console, and can be conveniently accessed using the keys in the multifunction steering wheel. The battery of the audio device is charged at the same time.

Passengers can also enjoy full, concert-hall surround-sound with the optional, latest-generation Harman Kardon Logic7 sound system. With a high output, a digital signal processor (DSP) and Dolby Digital 5.1, this ensures an outstandingly clear listening experience. As an optional extra, there is also a rear seat entertainment system with two large 20.3 cm (8‑inch) screens, a DVD player and two wireless headsets for greater freedom of movement, plus a remote control unit.
Expressive: the new front section is full of character

At the front end of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class, the bonnet, wings, radiator grille, headlamps and bumper have been completely redesigned. On request, in conjunction with bi-xenon headlamps, a chrome insert enhances the integrated LED daytime driving lights. The character of the Mercedes R-Class can also be underlined by an optional, strikingly contoured, chrome-look underguard.

The new bonnet has more marked contours, and is more arrow-shaped at the front edge. The wider, higher radiator grille is more steeply angled, while the bumper cladding is more striking, with clear-cut lines. The side recesses in the bumper, where the fog lamps and daytime driving lights are located, are spaced well apart and give the front section an impression of width. The lines of the side skirts are harmoniously continued forward in the updated wings and grille. The new, dynamic "face" of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class is particularly impressive. The newly designed headlamps blend perfectly into the front end, emphasising the horizontal lines. The "eyelids" continue the beltline along the flanks, and are arranged above the chromed headlamp tubes to produce an assertive, concentrated gaze.

Perfect proportions
Dynamism is also the order of the day where the side aspect is concerned. With the coupé-like lines of the window area, the luxury tourer distinguishes itself attractively from conventional MPVs. Eye-catching details of the clearly contoured flanks include the larger exterior mirror housings, which are set well away from the doors and are held by slim stems. The strikingly designed mirror housings in the vehicle colour have integrated indicator repeaters in the form of a stylised arrow. The new wheel designs are equally eye-catching: the range includes light-alloy wheels in 5-spoke, 5-twin-spoke or 10-spoke designs in sizes from 43.2 to 53.3 centimetres (17 to 21 inches).

Perfect finish: the rear section of the Mercedes-Benz R-Class
The rear section harmoniously continues the design idiom of the front, with a new bumper cladding, modified tail lights, a diffuser and integrated tailpipe trim emphasising the width with more horizontal structures, as at the front. The bumper also picks up the line of the side skirts, giving the effect of a continuous line running around the entire bodywork. Tail lights with LED and fibre optic technology, new exterior contours and horizontally arranged lighting functions lend the finishing touches to the rear section.
For North America, the R-class remains a two-model lineup. The 2011 R350 continues to utilize Mercedes-Benz's 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. Diesel fans will likely want to spring for the R350 Bluetec, which uses the same 215-hp, 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 as the ML350 Bluetec and GL350 Bluetec. Both the gasoline and diesel engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which channels power to all four wheels via Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.

Both R350 engines share the seven-speed automatic transmission. Do-it-yourselfers can row the tranny with plastic steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The R 350 rides on a suspension comprised of upper and lower control arms, coil springs, shocks and stabilizer bar in front and a load-leveling air suspension out back.

We found the hydraulic-assisted, rack and pinion steering to give very good road feel, especially given the vehicle’s bulk. With a fully loaded curb weight of 5,280 pounds, the BlueTEC achieves 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds. Shave off 231 pounds for the gas-powered version, and you’ll see a 0.6 sec improvement.

According to M-B, the 4Matic permanent all wheel drive is where perfect traction lives for all conditions. After pushing the R-Class through the winding roads of Westchester County, we were impressed at how, despite its size, the R never displayed any untoward behavior.

The comprehensive Mercedes approach to integral safety also applies in the new R-Class. This trailblazing safety philosophy goes well beyond compliance with standardised crash test regulations. It concerns itself with all aspects of driving - everything that is important for the safety of the vehicle occupants and other road users. The Mercedes safety concept divides these aspects into four phases:

    *Safe driving: avoiding danger, warning and assisting in good time
    *In the event of danger: acting in an anticipatory manner, e.g. with PRE-SAFE
    *In an accident: provide protection as needed
    *After an accident: avoid even worse consequences and make rapid assistance possible,,

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