After being updated for 2011, the R-Class receives mostly minor changes for 2012. Its three rows of seats accommodate six occupants, but an optional second-row bench can take the place of two captain's chairs, increasing the count to seven. Though Mercedes has bulkier SUVs, the R-Class crossover is the company's most spacious model. All-wheel drive is standard. The R-Class competes with the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.
New for 2012
The R350 gains a new 302-horsepower V-6 engine with direct injection, and Mercedes' Comand multimedia system is now standard along with satellite radio. There are also some minor interior updates, and LED daytime running lights are now standard.
Many have perceived the R-Class as a minivan, though it doesn't have sliding side doors. Its rear end is more vertical than those of many crossovers, similar to a van's, but it pays off in interior space. The nose has more of an SUV look. Exterior features include:
- Nineteen-inch alloy wheels are standard
- R350 Bluetec has special AMG wheels
- Twenty-inch wheels come in the Sport option package
- Optional power liftgate
The R-Class provides roomy first- and second-row seats and a third row that's workable for adults providing the trip's not too long. Interior features include:
- Standard imitation leather
- Optional Nappa leather and memory seats
- Standard burl walnut trim
- Optional eucalyptus wood trim.
- Standard Bluetooth connectivity and a tilt/sliding moonroof
- Optional panoramic glass roof
- Optional rear entertainment system
Under the Hood
The R350 has a new 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with direct-injection technology. The R350 Bluetec uses a 210-hp, 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6. The diesel's power rating is characteristically low, but it makes 400 pounds-feet of torque versus the gas engine's 273 pounds-feet. Mechanical features include:
- Seven-speed automatic transmission
- All-wheel drive
The R-Class comes standard with eight airbags, including side-impact airbags for each outboard seat in the first and second row and also a pair of curtain airbags that cover the side windows for all three rows. Additional safety features include:
- Active head restraints for the front seats
- Mercedes' Pre-Safe system, which can sense an impending collision and take steps to improve occupant safety by tensing the seat belts, positioning the front passenger seat for optimum protection and closing the windows
- Available backup camera