Overview & Reviews
Part minivan, part station wagon, part "what were they thinking?" the Mercedes-Benz R-Class was several cars rolled into one. Although the R-Class wasn't quite as roomy as a minivan and only featured six standard seats (a seventh seat was optional), it was essentially a luxury family hauler for those who would never have considered owning a traditional minivan. Of course, the R-Class wasn't as versatile as a real minivan. Its large, wide-swinging traditional rear doors, for instance, weren't as family-friendly in a tight parking lot as a minivan's sliding doors.
Still, the R-Class was roomy, luxurious and available with a wide variety of engines, not to mention just about all of Benz's latest techno toys. Almost all R-Class models also came standard with all-wheel drive for extra traction in inclement weather. For those wanting a versatile used luxury vehicle that deftly sidesteps the perceived stigma of a minivan (or an SUV, for that matter), the Mercedes-Benz R-Class might make sense.
Used Mercedes-Benz R-Class Models
Produced from 2006 through 2012, the Mercedes-Benz R-Class was a large crossover wagon that during its run offered a wide choice of engines ranging from a diesel V6 to a powerhouse AMG V8. Most R-Classes came with all-wheel drive, as a rear-drive model was offered for just a single model year.
The most recent version of this model came in a choice of R350 (gas V6) and R350 Bluetec (diesel V6) trims. Both came with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission. A 2+2+2 seating arrangement (for a total capacity of six people) was standard, with a 2+3+2 configuration optional. The R350 was powered by a 3.5-liter 302-horsepower V6, while the R350 Bluetec had a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. The latter made only 210 hp but delivered an impressive 400 pound-feet of torque along with highway fuel economy in the low- to mid-20s.
Both trims came standard with 19-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat and Bluetooth connectivity. Upgrades included a panoramic sunroof, a power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a power liftgate, adaptive xenon HID headlights, a rear seat entertainment system, a navigation system and an iPod interface. Oddly, leather upholstery was not available on the R-Class -- Mercedes' admittedly nice MB-Tex premium vinyl was standard across the board.
In reviews, we noted that the R-Class was certainly roomy and boasted excellent interior materials. But while the rear doors provided a huge opening to ease getting in and out, they were very long and could result in plenty of dings in the mall parking lot. On the road, the R-Class was a bit like driving your own personal high-speed train: big, heavy and with an eerie way of making high speeds seem completely reasonable. Handling wasn't an especially strong point, as the R-Class didn't inspire much more confidence than a typical large luxury crossover. Neither engine produced especially impressive acceleration.
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class was introduced for 2006 in R350 and R500 guises that could only be had with six seats and all-wheel drive. Through 2011, the original R350 featured a 3.5-liter V6 that produced 268 hp and achieved worse fuel economy than the later V6. The R500 and its 5.0-liter V8 might have provided a welcome amount of extra grunt, but it actually produced the same 302 hp as the later V6 while swilling fuel at the rate of 14 mpg combined. All R-Class models had a seven-speed automatic transmission.
For 2007, the R320 CDI and R63 AMG debuted. The R320 CDI was similar to the later Bluetec diesel in terms of output, but it wasn't certified for sale in California-emissions states. The R63 AMG high-performance-tuned model was essentially a minivan on steroids, boasting a monstrous, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 that made 503 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes estimated that the R63 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. The R63 also handled better than the other R-Class trims thanks to firmer suspension tuning and larger wheels and tires.
Soft sales brought the demise of the two most powerful Mercedes-Benz R-Class models, as the R500 and R63 AMG were discontinued for 2008, the same year that a rear-wheel-drive R350 joined the lineup and optional seven-passenger seating (with a middle seat in the second row) debuted. The following year saw the 50-state-compliant R320 Bluetec diesel engine replace the R320 CDI, new audio and navigation systems debut and the short-lived rear-wheel-drive R350 leave the lineup.
For 2010, the diesel model became the R350 Bluetec and received a smidge more torque. The biggest changes took place for 2011, when a styling refresh saw a larger grille debut and the oddly shaped front lights give way to cleaner units that looked more like those used on other Benz models. New mirrors, wheels, taillights and bumpers rounded out the exterior remake, while new headrests, new wood accents and a revised instrument display updated the cabin.
The last year of production for the R-Class was 2012, which may be the most desirable for the gas-powered V6, as that year brought a new 3.5-liter gas V6 with more power (302 hp) and slightly better fuel economy than the older engine. That year also saw a few more standard features thrown in, including a navigation system and satellite radio.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 197.00
Multiple, Major Problems - 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By ewagg1111 - December 4 - 1:52 am
I bought my 2006 R Class brand new in January of 2006. I have enjoyed driving the car and agree it has been the best car that fits my lifestyle, children, and hauling. However, this car has been very expensive to maintain. I have invested nearly $15K in repairs for things that were not covered under warranty. I have had to replace both the front right and left struts for $4K. The SOS system which I never used for $1,700. The seals on the transfer case for $1,100. The Cam Shaft for $5K. The airshock suspension systems for $2,100. The list goes on and on. MB USA has never stepped up to assist in any of these repairs. I doubt that I will ever buy another MB again. Don't love the car that much.
Unreliable S - 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By mrsgrace - November 24 - 3:01 am
Purchased this car 2.5 years ago. The car was a 2006 with 45K miles. After only 2.5 years of driving this used car the Transmission tanked, just shut down. I was told by the mechanic at the dealer that a part inside was broken and it would cost $6,000 to fix - I thought i was getting a bargain purchasing this car for $19000 with only 40k miles, what a mistake. Prior to the transmission going the car randomly drops the left side suspension. Apparently the air shocks deflate overnight or while parked for a long time and it tilts to one side. Gas guzzler too, costs me $100 a week to fill it up!
Mom with Style - 2007 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By Maria - November 3 - 10:53 pm
I wanted to get a nice safe reliable car that had a lot of room but wasnt your typical "mom car" I had only seen a few of these so I wasnt sure about it. I test drove it and I loved it. Its spacious, its nice, safe and reliable.
If you have car seats - 2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By Plano, TX- Mom - October 29 - 10:06 pm
We came across the R350 when looking at the GL450. We have two car seats but needed a 3rd row periodically when my parents are staying with us. You can only access the third row from the passenger side in the GL (and most SUV's)which is difficult for my parents. We then looked at the R350 and you can access the rear row even with car seats in the 2nd row,from both sides. The 3rd row are real seats and have very good leg room and child seat anchors if needed. The ride & handling of the car are very good. We also got the P2 package which gave us some great options, mem seats, nav, HK stereo, hands free phone(w/bluetooth) etc. After looking at 6 vehicles, we are thrilled with the R350.
A car for all reasons - 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By jeff - August 4 - 11:50 am
The day after taking delivery we had 6 inches of wet snow, what snow. The 4 wheel drive was flawless as were the ABS brakes. I also have an S class and the ride of the "R" is at least comparable. What more could you want in a large sedan, SUV, station wagon all wrapped into one vehicle? It may not be the sexiest car on the road, but it is certainly the most functional.
Practical Luxury - 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By JB - July 31 - 2:20 am
16 Months ago the third child came along! We need a Minivan. I'm not gonna drive it! You gonna drive it? No way! Brought the ML in for scheduled visit and this "Huge Wagon" is sitting in the showroom. Wow!! Some what like a minivan. (Just don't call it one...the sales staff gets offended). It is so car-like you forget you've got the whole family with you!! The girls love to sit in the way back and look for birds and planes! The little man sits high in the second row and sees everything! I love the shift lever simplicity. Dash is elegant yet simple. Nav wonderful. Gas mileage is what I expected. Comfort and quietness among the best. If you can afford it, you cannot beat it!
MB lives up to its reputation - 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By Jeremy - July 17 - 4:36 pm
This vehicle is the first luxury car I've ever owned. I bought it under MB's CPO program in June of 09 with about 15k miles. This car is a dream come true! At first I was weary about the V8's fuel economy but I easily get 16-18 around town and 25 on the highways. Very Impressive for a car and engine of this size. It handles and brakes like a sports car! I haven't had it for long but no issues whatsoever thus far. The back seats have plenty of legroom and the panoramic roof is HUGE and never fails to impress my passengers. Overall I couldn't be more satisfied.
fantastic, safe, comfortable people hauler. Reliability issues - 2007 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By fgxtom - June 29 - 4:29 pm
I love this car. We took it on a 4000 mile family rip a month after buying it. It is the most comfortable people hauler I have ever driven or ridden in. For people hauling it can not be topped. It gets fair mileage. I had the Yakima swingman 4 bike rack on it with 4 large bikes. We still averaged 25 mpg at 70 to 75 mph. As I said this thing hauls people, but it has little room for luggage. You will either need a cargo hauler, or the carry all for a receiver. We crammed our stuff in duffle bags for our 7 day trip.
Looks great, rides great. - 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By Karl Z - June 16 - 7:40 pm
I love this car. I was going to get a C class but the incentives for this car made me take a look at it. This car may no have been successful seller but my wife and I love this car. It looks great and rides great too. The second row is designed to enjoy the ride. The chairs are great and the Panorama view makes it more enjoyable. I bought this preowned and had nothing major except for lightbulb replacement; however, I have read multiple complaints about quality. I just keep my fingers crossed since we are planning to keep this baby for a while.
Not bad - could be better - 2007 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
By exV70R driver - June 8 - 5:16 pm
I have 4 small children and I needed a car that would seat all of us. I must admit I wasn't thrilled with the looks of the car and considered it only because it would hold everyone in relative comfort and because the 2008s were on the way and the dealerships had boatloads to get rid of in late July. Having come from a Volvo V70R, I had to have the V8 and not the V6. While the R500 is a great choice for someone with 4 kids, it is nowhere near as responsive or fun to drive as the Volvo. To be fair, the V70R is the Sport version and the R500 has never pretended to be remotely sporty - unless you want to lay down 80 large for the AMG version. After all, its a glorified minivan/station wagon.