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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - R-class

First look: R-class complete for New York show

Prestige family: The R-class extends the Mercedes-Benz model range with a 6-seater people-mover.

Mercedes-Benz's new R-class people-mover confirmed for Australia in around 12 months

1 Apr 2005

FOLLOWING its near-production showing in Detroit almost three months earlier, Mercedes-Benz’s new R-class made its debut in New York as the finished article.

Due on sale in Australia in around 12 months, the prestige people-mover – or Grand Sports Tourer, if one prefers the Benz description – is, at 5157mm, longer than the S-class limousine and able to hold six adults in relative comfort.

It uses three pairs of bucket seats and several air-conditioning outlets for the latter, and also devotes almost two-thirds of the vehicles overall length to the passenger compartment – proportions that conventional sedans are unable match, the manufacturer argues. The front and rear seats can be separated 920mm and the second and third rows up to 840mm, with the second-row seats able to slide fore/aft.

Generous headroom and shoulder room are built in, along with a decent amount of seat-fold cleverness in that the second and third rows can be folded down to create a flat luggage floor (and a volume of up to 2057 litres). Each of the four rears seats fold individually.

R-class will be sold with a series of engines and model designations, including R350 (denoting a 3.5-litre V6), R320 (with a 510Nm common-rail turbo-diesel V6) and R500, which has a 5.0-litre V8 that can send the vehicle from rest to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds.

All engines are partnered with Benz’s 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission and, overseas at least, permanent all-wheel drive and air suspension at the rear axle are fitted standard. All-round air suspension is optional.

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