What Changed for 2009:
- New 50-state R320 BlueTec diesel model replaces R320 CDI
- Gasoline-engine R350 offered only with 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD)
- Pre-Safe preventive occupant protection now standard
- Sunroof joins standard-equipment list
- HD Radio and Sirius real-time traffic information newly available
- Optional rear entertainment system includes dual 8-inch screens
- Class II (3500-pound) trailer hitch and iPod/MP3 interface now available
The R-Class is Mercedes-Benz
's crossover utility vehicle, combining AWD and 3-row capabilities of a traditional SUV with the dynamic capabilities and styling of a sleek and modern station wagon. Launched as a new model in 2006
, the R-Class is built in Alabama alongside the Mercedes M-Class
The biggest news for 2009 is the replacement of the R320 CDI, which had a diesel engine that could not be sold in every state, with the new R320 BlueTec. Working with today's low-sulfur diesel fuel, the R320 BlueTec is available in all 50 states. Mercedes-Benz's Pre-Safe preventive occupant protection, and a sunroof, are both now standard on the R-Class. A new multimedia head unit features a more colorful display, according to Mercedes-Benz, and includes an in-dash 6-CD/DVD changer as well as Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. The available hard-disk drive serves the navigation system and can store up to 4 gigabytes of music. New options for 2009 include high-definition radio, real-time traffic information with the navigation system, and a Class II trailer hitch.
The 2009 Mercedes-Benz R-Class is covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with 24-hour roadside assistance.Model Lineup
The Mercedes-Benz R-Class is available in two versions for the 2009 model year: new R320 BlueTec (which can be sold in all 50 states), plus the R350 4Matic model with a gasoline V-6 engine. Both models come only with AWD. The R350 is no longer available with rear-wheel drive. Each R-Class is fitted with three rows of seats for seating up to 6 passengers. An optional bench-style second-row seat, new for 2008, brings seating capacity up to 7 passengers.
Standard equipment on the 2009 Mercedes-Benz R-Class includes body trim from AMG, Mercedes' in-house, high-performance tuning shop; fog lamps; 8-speaker audio system with auxiliary input jack and a 6.5-inch color display screen; leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel; cruise control; power windows; HomeLink garage door opener; variable-focus halogen headlamps; 8-way power driver's seat; Bird's-eye maple wood trim with aluminum accents; retractable luggage cover; rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers; rear windshield wiper; and heated exterior mirrors. The 4-spoke steering wheel has brushed aluminum accents. Mercedes-Benz's COMAND system can display maps and directions for an optional hard-drive navigation system, which can show real-time traffic and Zagat restaurant information. The R320 BlueTec rides on 19-inch run-flat tires, while the R350 gets 18-inch tires.
A Panorama sunroof is optional-it replaces the smaller, standard sunroof. Option packages add such extras as the Harman/Kardon audio system; front/rear obstacle detection; power tilt/telescoping steering wheel; memory system; power-folding mirrors; 3-zone climate controls; and a power rear liftgate. Entertainment and information systems include satellite radio, DVD-based navigation with voice recognition, and a rearview camera.Powertrain
While the various R-Class models may be very similar in design, they are very different in their powertrain engineering. The R320 BlueTec carries a diesel-fueled 3.0-liter V-6 engine that provides 210 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine burns the new "clean" or low-sulfur diesel fuel. It is linked to a 7-speed automatic transmission and employs Mercedes' 4Matic permanent AWD system. The R320 BlueTec is EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway. Mercedes-Benz claims a cruising range of 500 miles.
The R350 4Matic's 3.5-liter V-6 engine is rated at 268 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, again linked to the 7-speed automatic transmission. The R350 4Matic is also AWD-only, and gets an EPA estimate of 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway. R-Class vehicles have load-leveling rear air suspensions and ride on 18-inch wheels.Safety
Pre-Safe, Mercedes-Benz's preventive occupant protection system, is new for 2009. The system can sense an impending collision before it happens, according to Mercedes-Benz, and take measures to protect occupants before an impact occurs. That includes tightening front seat belts, and moving the front passenger to the position that offers the best protection. Side windows also will close and, if an impending rollover is sensed, the sunroof closes automatically.
All 2009 Mercedes-Benz R-Class vehicles employ an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) as well as 4-wheel traction control and anti-lock brakes. They also are equipped with Hill Start Assist to make sure they don't roll back while starting on steep uphill grades. Tire-pressure-monitoring technology also is standard equipment. R-Class vehicles are also equipped with front air bags for the driver and passenger, side-impact air bags for the second and third rows, and window curtain air bags that span all three rows.
As of this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) has not crash-tested the R-Class. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
) has conducted its own crash test, giving the Mercedes-Benz R-Class a "Good" rating (their highest score) for frontal impacts and an "Acceptable" rating for side impacts.Technology
Launched 70 years ago, the Mercedes-Benz 260D was the world's first production diesel car, according to the company. During the 1980s, as many as 80 percent of all Mercedes vehicles sold in the United States carried diesel powertrains. With the introduction in the U.S. late in 2006 of low-sulfur diesel, diesel engines started making a comeback. The new fuel contains less than 15 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur (compared to 500 ppm formerly). This new fuel allows the use of advanced emission control technologies including filters that trap particulate matter. The engine in the prior R320 CDI was based on the first common-rail direct-injection diesel engine, which Mercedes pioneered in 1997.
The R320 BlueTec features the latest diesel powerplant from Mercedes-Benz. Unlike its predecessors, it may be sold in all 50 states. The new BlueTec diesel system includes an oxidation catalyst and a no-maintenance particulate filter. A NOx storage converter combines with an SCR catalytic converter to reduce NOx emissions. An AdBlue system injects an aqueous urea solution into the exhaust flow, releasing ammonia that reduces NOx to nitrogen and water. The system injects the proper amount of AdBlue, according to engine load and speed. The AdBlue tank must be refilled approximately every 10,000 miles, the automaker says.