By KBB.com Editors
For 2011 the Mercedes-Benz R-Class crossover utility vehicle has been given a fresh new face, the same sophisticated fascia that's shared with many of the manufacturer's other models. While the change may seem small, the alteration has given the R-Class a more unified look. Potential buyers may still be left scratching their heads over exactly what to call the R-Class, but the "sport tourer" offers plenty of passenger and cargo capacity for families who want a more luxurious way to get around town. The R-Class includes a seven-speed automatic transmission, standard all-wheel-drive and a choice of gasoline or diesel engines. Unsurprisingly, it's rather spacious inside, with feature-rich seating for six people and so much cargo space it bests the huge Cadillac Escalade.
If you can't quite stand the thought of owning a minivan but require an abundance of space and functionality, the R-Class is a winner. The interior offers three rows of luxury seating and a BlueTEC diesel engine option delivers impressive fuel economy without a power penalty.
Make no mistake, this is a huge vehicle. If you don't find yourself playing chauffer to the neighborhood on a regular basis, something smaller may be a better option. Navigating tight city streets or jousting in cramped parking lots can be difficult at best.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class has an entirely new front-end, complete with fresh fenders, a new hood and a redesigned front fascia. The look borrows heavily from the German automaker's new design language and the big people-mover wears it well.
Driving Impressions The 3.5-liter V6 powering the R350 is partnered with a full-time all-wheel-drive system and a seven-speed automatic transmission to create a pleasant, but not spirited, driving experience. The R350 BlueTEC...actually feels quicker, which is no surprise given the engine's abundance of low-end torque. We found that even on winding roads the R-Class smoothly carved through the turns while the seven-speed transmission delivered seamless shifts, with the shift logic always finding just the right gear when needed. Like many Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the R-Class has both Sport and Comfort suspension settings, and we found the Sport setting quite pleasing and agile. Stopping this heavy vehicle is also no problem with its big 13.8-inch front brake rotors and standard ABS and Brake Assist features. The R-Class also has an excellent turning radius, making it even easier to maneuver than many SUVs.
Second-Row Captain's Chair Seating
The comfortable second-row seats in the 2011 R-Class offer nearly as much room and comfort as those in the front, providing rear passengers a comfortable riding experience that's nearly unsurpassed.
Mercedes-Benz has made the R-Class available with a panoramic sunroof that stretches over six feet. The option does much to help passengers feel less trapped in the second and third rows.
What the 2011 R-Class gives up in functionality by opting for traditional hinged doors instead of the sliders of a minivan it more than makes up for in interior comfort. When equipped with the optional panoramic sunroof, the cabin feels more open and spacious than any of its competitors. Attractive maple interior trim and available third-row seats make the R-class as functional as it is attractive inside. Rear-seat passengers are treated to individual seat adjustments, cup holders, a middle console and an optional dual-screen DVD player.Exterior
Thanks to the new nose job, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class has developed a much more mature presence. Though the body remains identical to its 2010 predecessor from the front-doors rearward, the vehicle now looks as if it belongs in the Mercedes-Benz stable. An expressive, upright grille dominates the front fascia while wrapped projector lights give it a healthy dose of personality. Though the rear half of the R-Class still holds its awkward proportions, stylized body strakes and arching-rear glass give the illusion of an athletic shape.
Mercedes-Benz has equipped the 2011 R-Class with a long list of standard equipment, including the company's excellent 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. A power sunroof and dual-zone climate controls also make the list, as do stylish 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels. Inside, look for Bluetooth hands-free calling, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat and an in-dash CD changer connected to an eight-speaker audio system.
Though the standard-equipment list is lengthy, Mercedes-Benz also offers a substantial number of options. Those hungry for a little more style may chose 20-inch wheels while the tech-hungry can select gadgets like a harman/kardon LOGIC7 sound system, dual eight-inch LCD screens for the rear passengers, the keyless starting system and hard-drive-based navigation. In addition, the 2011 R-Class is available with a panoramic sunroof and tri-zone automatic climate controls. Diesel buyers may also opt for rear air suspension.
The R350's gasoline V6 is generally adequate but might be less spirited dealing with a loaded vehicle and a steep uphill climb. If you're not deterred by the thought of owning a diesel, the R350 BlueTEC's turbocharged V6 diesel engine provides great acceleration and superior fuel economy.
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19
3.0-liter V6 Turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3400 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24
By Rick on Tuesday, January 27, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My first MBZ was purchased new in 1975. Since then, I've owned 11 different models. This R350 Blue-tec is the finest one to date. It's quick, roomy, and well-built with great attention to detail. I get 21mpg all-around, which is pretty good considering the size and weight. I couldn't be happier. Since they have decided not to make these anymore, it's my intention to keep this great car through the forseeable future."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Ted on Sunday, December 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great highway car, good car for tall people."
Cons: "Not the cheapest to maintain"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The versatility of this vehicle is great. 4 very tall adults can travel in comfort and not cramped. The mileage is 30 with the diesel and the acceleration is the same as the gasoline engine. The ride is that of an "S" class and cargo that it can hold is great. Best vehicle ever made."
14 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Mark c on Sunday, November 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's ready for whatever your life style is"
Cons: "Repair cost, v6 is a little under powerd"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I've owned my R350 for 3 years now, and it has been a eye opening experience. I have never cared for or been a fan of German luxury but I can see where mercedes was going with this car ...it works for me......it fits my life style. It's a luxury car when you go out, it's a truck when you have to haul stuff from Home Depot , it's a snow mobile in the worst snow storm. It's a great vehicle to own but! ......you will have to be a little mechanically inclined. The first time the check engine light came on , the cost of the total repairs came out to $11,000. So I soon became a owner of a hand held obd scanner to read out the "check engine light" codes and look up how to fix it it myself and saved a lot of money doing it myself. Now the R350 is a lot easier to own. Unless your financially set to pay a mercedes Benz specialist every time that dreaded "check engine light comes on.....you better get familiar with the car. Ok, but overall I looked at plenty of cars and trucks and I still think that the R350 is the best car for me. Style ,function, and drivability nothing can beat it."
16 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By ATP on Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Like the hill assist and thats it."
Cons: "Spending too much money keeping this car running."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned the car for over 6 years and drove over 128,000 miles and I don't feel comfortable driving long distances. A faulty Engine Gas Exhaust Temp Sensor will kill the motor and your stranded on the side of the freeway until it cools down. There is some stray electrical issues and I am always replacing light bulbs. Bought it brand new, the sun roof window shade broke the first week (2 days to fix, thank God it was still under warranty). 40,000 EGT Sensor failed ($260 for Diagnostic, $220 part and $199 labor). 60,000 steering rack developed a serious leak ($4600). Replaced front headlights because of hazing plastic ($650). Transmission issues started 100,000 miles ($740). Whats next? I am completely disappointed and will never buy another Mercedes again."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Jack on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great for long road trips."
Cons: "Spare tire is an inflatable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Since the R-class styling was not very popular, I felt I got a lot of car for my money, especially since I very much like the practical, aerodynamic style. I had one $800 repair in 3 years. The interior is sedate, comfortable, and very quiet. The car handles well, and gets up to 30 mpg cruising at 75."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Shockster on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"This is my first Mercedes, and I love it, but was amazed at how much work was required. When I bought it at 60,000.00 miles it immediately needed shocks, suspension air bags, and new rack and pinion. Also the mechanical opener for the hatch had to be replaced. The seats are a pain to adjust for the cargo space."
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful