2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

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$5,233–$13,385 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
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Safety & Recalls
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Key Specs

of the 2008 Mercedes‑Benz R‑Class. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort
  • Interior space and versatility
  • Steering and handling
  • Automatic-transmission operation
  • Quiet engine, except when pushed hard

The Bad

  • Headrests impede visibility
  • Some windshield reflection
  • Slight road/driveline noise at times

Notable Features of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

  • Rear- or all-wheel drive
  • Diesel R320 CDI
  • Seats up to seven
  • Standard 18-inch wheels
  • Side-impact and side curtain airbags
  • Six-passenger seating

2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
For 2008, the R-Class lineup has two fewer models than it did in 2007, as the R63 AMG and R500 models have been discontinued. The gasoline R350 and diesel R320 CDI continue on. Both offer seating for up to seven. The Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX are among the R-Class' competitors. Introduced for the 2006 model year, Mercedes says the R-Class "grand sports tourer" is the company's first model to blend the merits of a sport utility vehicle, sports sedan and luxury wagon.

The R-Class evolved from the Grand Sports Tourer concept of 2000. Marketers promote the R-Class for its style, sophistication and luxury.


Exterior
Front and rear design cues are modeled after Mercedes-Benz coupes and sedans. Rounded and squat at the rear, the R-Class flaunts a relatively long profile, and all R-Class models have 18-inch wheels.

The unibody R-Class wagon is about an inch longer than Mercedes' flagship S-Class sedan. Two distinct sunroofs are optional: a conventional glass panel or a double-sized panoramic unit with a 5-foot, 7-inch glass panel. When opening the panoramic sunroof, half of the panel moves atop the other so headroom isn't affected. Powered roller blinds in this roof protect occupants from the sun.

Privacy glass is standard, and a single-lift tailgate is installed. The R-Class' fully independent suspension uses double wishbones up front and a four-link setup at the rear. A load-leveling rear air suspension is standard, and the driver can select fro...
Vehicle Overview
For 2008, the R-Class lineup has two fewer models than it did in 2007, as the R63 AMG and R500 models have been discontinued. The gasoline R350 and diesel R320 CDI continue on. Both offer seating for up to seven. The Lexus RX and Cadillac SRX are among the R-Class' competitors. Introduced for the 2006 model year, Mercedes says the R-Class "grand sports tourer" is the company's first model to blend the merits of a sport utility vehicle, sports sedan and luxury wagon.

The R-Class evolved from the Grand Sports Tourer concept of 2000. Marketers promote the R-Class for its style, sophistication and luxury.


Exterior
Front and rear design cues are modeled after Mercedes-Benz coupes and sedans. Rounded and squat at the rear, the R-Class flaunts a relatively long profile, and all R-Class models have 18-inch wheels.

The unibody R-Class wagon is about an inch longer than Mercedes' flagship S-Class sedan. Two distinct sunroofs are optional: a conventional glass panel or a double-sized panoramic unit with a 5-foot, 7-inch glass panel. When opening the panoramic sunroof, half of the panel moves atop the other so headroom isn't affected. Powered roller blinds in this roof protect occupants from the sun.

Privacy glass is standard, and a single-lift tailgate is installed. The R-Class' fully independent suspension uses double wishbones up front and a four-link setup at the rear. A load-leveling rear air suspension is standard, and the driver can select from three operating modes: Normal, Comfort or Sport. Dealer-installed roof rails are available.


Interior
The R-Class provides space for up to seven occupants courtesy of three pairs of seats. Space between the first and second row measures 34 inches, with 30 inches between the second and third row. An optional second-row console contains additional cupholders, and bottle holders are located in each door pocket. The seats have leather inserts, and brown bird's-eye maple wood trims the doors, dashboard and center console.

The four-spoke multifunction steering wheel features brushed-aluminum accents, and a new electronic gear selector is mounted on the steering column. The upper section of the two-tone dashboard arches over the instrument cluster, which holds two cylindrical binnacles for the speedometer and tachometer.

Weather-band reception is included in the standard radio, which has a single-CD slot and controls for optional satellite radio. An auxiliary plug in the glove box connects to MP3 players. Optional flat-screen monitors built into the back of the front head restraints can provide entertainment for rear passengers.


Under the Hood
A 3.5-liter V-6 in the R350 develops 268 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. The R320 CDI produces 221 hp and 398 pounds-feet of torque.

All the engines team with a seven-speed automatic. The transmission is able to skip as many as three gear ratios during downshifts to get the transmission in the proper gear. The R350 is now available with rear- as well as all-wheel-drive models.


Safety
Side curtain airbags protect occupants in all three rows of seats, and door-mounted side-impact airbags for front occupants are standard. A rollover sensor can activate seat belt pretensioners and the side curtain airbags. Antilock brakes and an Electronic Stability Program are standard, and a tire pressure monitoring system is installed.

Driving Impressions
The refined, versatile, luxurious R-Class yields a lush ride even when surfaces get rough. Few drivers could ask for a more satisfying luxury tourer for long hauls.

Handling is no less impressive. Steering feels just right for this new class of car, and it requires moderate effort with utterly satisfying response. The R350, with its V-6 engine, can scamper up grades almost as assertively, issuing only a little more engine noise.

Just a touch of driveline and road sound is evident, but the engine is nearly silent unless pushed hard. A nest of headrests impairs the rearward view, which is otherwise OK and helped by ample mirrors. The seats offer magisterial comfort and support, are wholly adjustable to suit one's physique, and remain appealing even after hours of driving. Reflections are evident in the steep windshield, but they're not too distracting. Cylindrical gauges are big and easy to read.



What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Love the space

by Awik from Prescott, AZ on July 15, 2018

This car might all of our needs. We're looking for a larger family vehicle that we could fit our two car seats in and still have some cargo room. This vehicle has fit all of that and more. Read full review

(5.0)

This is the most versatile car/SUV for the $$

by Heritage from Wichita, KS on September 4, 2017

This car has tons of room. All rear seats can be folded flat for hauling big items. The AWD is a bonus! Very easy to get around Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
marginal
Overall Side
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The R-Class received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker