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2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon Crossover

4MATIC 4dr 3.5L

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 21 MPG Highway

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  • $48,000 original MSRP
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2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon Crossover

Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon Crossover

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2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The new Mercedes-Benz R-Class is a bit like the platypus, the fur-covered, duck-billed, egg-laying mammal. It combines aspects of other vehicles without becoming one of them.

It looks like a very large station wagon, with four conventional opening doors and a top-hinged one-piece tailgate, but it's not a traditional wagon. It has permanent, computer-controlled all-wheel drive, but it's not an SUV. It has three rows of two bucket seats, kind of like a minivan, but it's not a minivan. It's a brand-new entry in a class the company calls grand sports touring, and there's nothing else quite like it on the market today.

Fortunately, the R-Class is better looking than a platypus. Its radically sloping roof and sweeping lines help disguise its considerable size. Longer than a Cadillac Escalade, the R-Class is truly cavernous inside and comfortably accommodates six tall adults in six well-accommodated bucket seats. It comes loaded with passive safety features designed to protect occupants in the event of an accident.

It's quiet and comfortable on the highway, and surprisingly responsive on winding roads. Initially, there will be only two models, the R350 with V6 power and the R500 with V8 power. The R350 is quite responsive, while the R500 is downright fast. Both are packed with all-wheel drive, electronic stability control and other features designed to help the driver maintain control.

Model Lineup

The R350 ($48,000) is equipped with the V6 and seven-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, four-wheel traction control, ABS, EBD, ESP, load-leveling rear suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels and tires. And it comes loaded with leather seating, birdseye maple wood trim, eight-way power seats, dual-zone air conditioning, the COMAND instrument panel and control system, folding second- and third-row bucket seats, rain-sensing wipers, multi-function steering wheel, eight-speaker AM/FM/WB/CD sound system, integrated garage door opener, and six cupholders.

The R500 ($55,500) adds the V8 engine, 18-inch wheels and 255/50 tires, speed-sensitive steering, six-disc CD changer, heated seats, burl walnut wood trim, three-driver memory system for seats, mirrors and steering column, tilt/telescope steering column, TeleAid security system, additional chrome exterior trim and tinted front and side glass.

The safety package is comprehensive. Every R-Class comes with frontal, side-impact, and side curtain air bags for all three rows. It has earned five-star crash rating in all directions. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), an electronic stability program (ESP), and all-wheel drive are all standard.

Option packages include Trim ($1750), Lighting ($890), Heating ($1190), Comfort ($1350), Entertainment ($1190), Sunroof ($1490), Airmatic air suspension ($1400), Panoramic Roof ($2390) Multicontour seats ($780), and AMG Sport ($4500). Individual options include Sirius Satellite Radio, Parktronic sonar warning, Keyless Go, heated seats, second-row video entertainment ($3000), second-row console, a power liftgate operated by the key fob, and three-zone climate control ($1050). The Premium package ($5,400) includes the Panorama roof (a five-and-a-half-foot glass section in two huge panels with electric shades for each), the Entertainment package, a power liftgate, DVD navigation and, on the R350, TeleAid.

In about a year, the R63 AMG performance version, with a 500-horsepower 6.3-liter V8 engine, will be added to the lineup, along with a new 5.5-liter four-valve gasoline V8 version replacing the 5.0-liter. And in 2007, Mercedes-Benz expects to add the R320, a 3.2-liter turbodiesel engine version, to the lineup, and an R400, a 4.0-liter V8 diesel for Europe. The factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will also produce a short-wheelbase version, nine inches shorter, for the rest of the world, as well as right-hand-drive versions.

Walkaround

This is a very large vehicle, but the radical design and its sloping roof and sweeping front-to-rear lines tend to minimize the size and accent its sportiness at the same time. Up front, the R-Class uses the sports car grille theme with the large circled star in the grille, multi-element headlamps, a sporty upper and lower bumper look, and a fast-sloping hood and windshield to get to a drag coefficient of only 0.31, remarkably low for such a large vehicle.

The R-Class is long. It's 14 inches longer than the M-Class sport-utility and 9 inches longer than the Cadillac SRX. It's longer than the big Cadillac Escalade, by more than 4 inches. It's almost as wide as the Escalade, but only slightly taller than the SRX due to its deliberately low ride height and ground clearance. The rear side doors are very, very long, almost as long as those on a Maybach luxury sedan. That makes getting into and out of the second and third rows easy, but may cause problems in tight parking areas.

Depending on model and options, there are four different alloy wheel packages to choose from, in five-, seven- and ten-spoke designs. The AMG Sport package adds a whole new front end look, 19-inch AMG five-spoke wheels and tires, and a new rear treatment.

Interior Features

The R-Class was designed from the beginning to accommodate six average American adults, not four adults and two kids. The interior is absolutely cavernous, with gobs of room in all directions, including third-row headroom and legroom that's more than adequate for a 95th percentile (6-foot, 4-inch) man.

In order to pull off the "Grand Sport Tourer" idea, every one of the six bucket seats in the R-Class has its own cupholder, seat adjuster, armrest, ventilation, lighting. The first two rows can provide an independent choice of listening and viewing entertainment. The sound system is capable of playing tracks from any MP3 player, using the player to select, and there is a $299 option that will let you put your Apple iPod in the glovebox and play it through the sound system using steering wheel controls to select track and volume, with track and playlist data displayed on the COMAND screen.

The floor layout allows 16 cubic feet of cargo behind the third seat, 34 cubic feet of cargo with the third-row seats down, and 85 cubic feet of cargo space with the second row of bucket seats folded. Mercedes says cargo lengths approaching nine feet can be accommodated inside. Each of the second-row bucket seats can be moved through four inches of longitudinal adjustment, and each has a reclining seatback for long-distance touring comfort. The seat slider/folder mechanism is brilliant in its simplicity and ease of use. Adjusting the steering column is done manually on the R350; the R500 gets power tilt and telescope that micro-adjusts to any driver's favorite setup.

The new dashboard and instrument panel is easy to use and looks great. It's more chronometer-like in its layout and design, with more chrome ring decoration than any other Mercedes model. This new sport tourer has huge amounts of glass front, side and rear, and that makes for a very open and airy environment inside, whether you get the tan, grey, black, or black and Alcantara interior scheme.

Driving Impressions

The new Mercedes-Benz R-Class does not drive like a truck. For starters, it's quick: The R500 is capable of 0-60 mph sprint times of 6.5 seconds and the R350 will do it in 7.8. Those are impressive numbers given the weight of the R-Class (topping 4,800 pounds for the R500). The engines take advantage of the seven-speed transmission, shifting to gain the full benefit of the heart of the torque curve. Relax and the R500 hums along at 80 mph at about 2500 rpm in seventh-gear overdrive. With this kind of acceleration and passing performance, it's more than competitive with most wagons and SUVs.

We drove both the V6 and V8 versions in central California. The V6-powered R350 is more than adequate for most driving, chauffeuring, and touring duties, but the V8 is a good deal more satisfying overall to drive, with more reserve power for passing and pulling, and rated to tow 2500 pounds.

The seven-speed is the best automatic transmission currently on the market, smooth, quiet and extremely flexible and useable. Mercedes has abandoned the conventional console-mounted floor shifter in favor of a tiny stalk on the right side of the steering column, supplemented by paddles on the back of the steering wheel. Shifting either way is a breeze. (It's similar to the 2006 Mercedes M-Class SUV, which shares a great number of parts and systems with the R-Class and is built in the same Alabama plant.)

The all-wheel-drive system works in the background whether you're on pavement, dirt, snow or ice, and keeps the car planted and pointed properly. It's engineered in such a way as to keep entry and exit height nice and low, not like a typical SUV.

We found the huge brakes to be especially reassuring on twisty, blind-corner country roads, where just a tiny dab of pedal brings the speed down very swiftly.

Massive amounts of high-strength steel are used in the body shell of the welded unibody R-Class, more than 65 percent of the body, which makes the body extremely stiff and lets the independent front and rear suspension do their jobs quietly and without interference.

The steering on the V6 is a bit more direct and more fun to drive than the speed-sensitive system used on the V8 version. Regardless of engine choice, the steering isn't overly assisted, and is nicely weighted at the wheel. While this new R-Class is a long way from a sports car at this size and weight, it is remarkably responsive and nimble.

At highway cruising speeds, the R-Class is extremely well isolated from the outside world, enabling easy conversation between and among all the passengers.

Classified as a truck and coming in over 6000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, the Mercedes R-Class is eligible for the federal tax break for businesses that still on the books, but that's certainly not the only reason to buy or lease one.

Summary

The all-new 2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class models are indeed grand sport tourers. All six seats are window seats. No center seating here. They feature lots of interior layout flexibility for people and cargo, and plenty of torque for hauling. They're big but garageable. The R500 is not a fuel economy champion at a projected 21 mpg on the highway, it seems to have more overall utility than one of the giant SUVs, and gets better mileage than most of them. It's very cool to look at, and even more fun to drive whenever and wherever there's lots to see and enjoy.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Jim McCraw filed this report from California.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$48,000
Model lineup:
Mercedes-Benz R350 ($48,000); R500 ($55,500)
Engines:
268-hp 3.5-liter V6; 302-hp 5.0-liter V8
Transmissions:
7-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, curtain airbags; electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, all-wheel drive, electronic traction control
Safety equipment (Optional):
Parktronic
Basic warranty:
3 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in:
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Mercedes-Benz R500 ($55,500)
Standard equipment:
dual-zone air conditioning, leather upholstery, power steering, power disc brakes, suspension, power windows, power locks, power mirrors, console, cruise control, message center, trip computer, eight-speaker AM/FM/WB/CD system, COMAND information display and control system, birdseye maple wood trim, eight-way power seats, folding second- and third-row bucket seats, rain-sensing wipers, multi-function steering wheel, integrated garage door opener; load-leveling rear suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels and tires
Options as tested:
Premium package
Destination charge:
775
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$61,275
Layout:
all-wheel drive
Engine:
5.0-liter sohc 24-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
302 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
339 @ 2700-4750
Transmission:
7-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
N/A
Wheelbase:
126.6 in.
Length/width/height:
203.0/77.5/65.2 in.
Track, f/r:
65.5/65.3 in.
Turning circle:
N/A
Seating capacity:
6
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.8/60.3/39.8 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
40.4/59.6/36.2 in.
Head/hip/leg room, r:
37.2/52.8/32.4 in.
Cargo volume:
85 cu. ft.
Payload:
N/A
Towing capacity:
N/A
Suspension F:
independent, double A-arms, coil springs
Suspension R:
independent, 4-link, coil springs
Ground clearance:
5.8 in.
Curb weight:
4845 lbs.
Tires:
P255/55R18
Brakes, f/r:
13.8/13.0 disc/disc with ABS, EBD in.
Fuel capacity:
25.1 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon Crossover

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Active Suspension System Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std
Rain Sensing Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Opt

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Telematics Opt
Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon Crossover

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Drivetrain 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Corrosion 4 Years/50,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance Unlimited Years/Unlimited Miles

Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

The MBCPO Limited warranty provides vehicle coverage for 12 months and Unlimited vehicle miles and begins at the expiration of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection Yes
Return/Exchange Program Yes. See dealer for details.
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible No

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon Crossover

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