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Mercedes-Benz R-Class

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  • For all you guys in Southern California, have you heard the radio advertisement by Nick Alexander BMW? "The R Class, ugliest Mercedes ever" I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It might be a great looking car, but it was not a reason to proclaim it on the radio advertisement.

    I personally like the R Class in Black. It looks like a hearse. Saw one on the freeway this morning and it looked great.
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    You mean you actually like this?:

    hearse look

    I'm hoping for just a little rear tweaking next year to stop the hearse comparisons and maybe get me into the showroom.
  • monty2222monty2222 Posts: 48
    My wife wants to turn in our 2004 C320 Coupe early, AND sell our minivan, to get the R. Any experiences yet with them, as for problems? Our dealer has one in each color. I liked the light blue (alpine rain) or silver. We will miss the minivan space though. Was going to look at the Infinity QX56, but their forum did not look too good about quality. Then there is Cadillac, which sounds nice. Wife prefers the MB nameplate though.
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    I am 4 months and 7000 miles in on my R350. Not a single issue with the vehicle. The best initial experience I have had with any of my 4 MBs. The wife and kids love the car, and it is a pleasure to drive.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is good to hear. Have you gotten any kind of survey about it yet?

    M
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    Not from MB, but from the usual 3rd party research outfits. I have given the R good marks.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I am glad to hear that. Ditto for me. My wife made it from Memphis to Huntsville, AL in 2.5 hrs. I don't think she would have done that in her fathers Chrysler T&C.
    It sure is easier to justify the purchase after a short period of ownership compaired to a test drive.
    It just keeps getting better.
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    As I tell those who ask me, this is by far the best MB of the 4 I have owned. The combination of ride quality, performance, flexibility, gas mileage and capacity is unique and unrivaled. Yes, there are some content/value issues, but there always are with MBs. Those detractors out there are the ones who "don't get it." Me, I just smile all the time behind the wheel. :shades:
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    Those detractors out there are the ones who "don't get it."
    Not everyone is meant to drive a Mercedes.
    There is a set of RR tracks near me with an intersection immediatly after. The tracks are about 8' before you take a right and elevated about 2' or so. In any event it drops off quick and you take a right. The other night I accelerated and passed a small sports car to get into the right lane. I guess he got peaved because he sped up to get behind me. Sucker! I snookered him across the tracks at 35 mph and laid on the brakes with the wheel cut. He followed my line and ended up sliding across 2 lanes of the road and, if there had been any, into opposing traffic. In those situations, you can really appreciate the substantial engineering prowess of a MB.
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    Not sure I understand this post, Benzster. Maybe I shouldn't ask, but sounds kind of silly to me and uncharacteristic of the kind of MB driver I have come to know, including myself. Even in my AMG I wouldn't pull a stunt like that. Just my opinion of course.. :surprise:
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    You are probably right. The point of my post is that the situation was not drastic for the handling dynamic of my vehicle (no tire squeal, drastic lean). But a simple slightly aggressive maneuver produced a much different response from a lesser designed or equipped vehicle. You may not realize that what seems non aggressive in an AMG equipped vehicle is way out of range in a Toyota Corolla. I have seen plenty of vehicles with rear impacts due to the fact that other vehicles just can't stop in the same distance. Someone pulls out in front of you and you brake hard, but the person behind you is just incapable of doing so in the same distance.
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    There is no doubt that Mercedes has a penchant for safety. I think my C32 had 8 airbags! and the braking/suspension/ESP, etc. made for an unbelievably confident car. I was rear-ended in my C32 by a van on a freeway who was unable to stop in time. I slowed due to traffic ahead and I could see this van in my rearview mirror going into full brake lockup. I had probably 10 feet between me and the car in front of me and as the van got closer I nudged the gas and when he hit me I then applied the brake and stopped both of us before my car hit the car in front of me! We both got out and there was only minor scrapes on the C32 bumper. I was shocked to say the least, but I think my little gas-brake maneuver caught the momentum of the van and harnessed it to some degree.

    Ok, I was lucky as He**, but to tell you the truth that C32 performed amazingly well. The Mercedes product is a superior product and I'm not sure the outcome would have been the same in something else. For me, Safety is still the key and we all know where Mercedes stands on that. I expect the R-class to be the Best-in-class with regards to safety and I'm sure it is.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I am always glad to hear about the safe outcome of an accident!
    The most incredible story for me to date is:
    An SLK was sitting in the turn lane and was struck from behind by a driver weaving to its left. They were attempting to go through the light to the left of a line of cars in the turn lane.
    It struck the SLK and knocked it through the intersection and into a brick wall on the other side.
    The engine was driven under the vehicle and away from the car. The trunk was nonexistent.
    All the airbags deployed and the driver was knocked unconscious. She walked away with minor cuts and bruising.
    The person who related this story was the gentleman who saw the incident and opened the car door. He made it a point to tell me that he feared the worst, but felt better when the door opened freely and the cockpit seemed intact.
    I think everyone has seen the video taken of the SL in Germany that flips at 130+ and slides on its roof until being tripped on the grass shoulder and flips back over on its tires. THE ROOF FINALLY POPS OFF AND THE GUY WALKS TO THE SHOULDER, SITS DOWN AND PUTS HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS!
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    And it is the main reason that I keep on driving MBs. IMHO there is no safer vehicle built, whatever other brands advertising/marketing campaigns declare.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Your opinion and the National Institute For Highway Safety may differ. No car company in this class (Audi, BMW, MB, Lexus, Infiniti) has a bad vehicle. They're all quite safe and get very high marks.

    But right now, Audi is the only brand that has (3) vehicles A3, A4, A6 that are all "double best picks" for both front and side impact. You may call it a marketing campaign, but it is based on reality.
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    Actually, I was referring to Volvo. I agree that there are many excellent, well-engineered and safe vehicles out there, including the ones you mentioned. (And many employ safety concepts and engineering that MB originated.)

    Test results aside, which differ markedly from real-world scenarios, MB remains my personal preference.

    Happy (safe) motoring. :shades:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
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  • I agree with the rest, that Mercedes is a very safe product. Yesterday I saw a SLK that was broadsided by a Suburban. The SLK was hit pretty bad, but no one was hurt.

    On the other hand, the on going nagging problems that they have has been a big problem for Mercedes. Alot of current owners are not happy with the electronic and transmission (which is also electronic) problems.

    Mercedes are very solid in real life crash. However, you cannot ignore others such as Volvo, BMW, Audi...even Hondas and Acuras are starting to step up to the plate when it comes to saftey.
  • Why?

    Because according to Automotive News (the Industry Bible), MB is subsidizing the R to the tune of $9000 per vehicle. $9000 !!

    Aside from the obvious ramifications of this unbelievable subsidy, MB recently admitted that the R class has been marketed to the wrong people. MB finds it is getting a younger family MINIVAN crowd who are interested but when they see the sticker, they are off to greener pastures.

    MB thought that the R would appeal to an older demographic looking for more spread-out room with SUV pretensions but car style. This proved to be wrong-headed.

    Automotive News asked how MB could have been so far wrong on this considering how much advance marketing research was expended on the R class.

    In addition, sales of the R class have been all over the map since its introduction. Not a good sign. Right now, sales are up, but who would expect sales to be down when a $60,000 vehicle is really being sold withthe equivalent of $40,000 monthly payment incentives.

    My prediction: The R class will eventually bomb out- In fact the market for vehicles in this class has been shrinking significantly in the last couple of years.
    Bottom line- expect to see the sticker drop next year on the R. :lemon:
  • I think your prediction and bottom line is on track. A case like that, it is best to lease than to purchase. Of course its just best to wait until Mercedes really comes out with a smoking deal. Will Mercedes come with a smoking deal or just drop the R Class all together? Only time will tell.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It is very interesting as to how the R didn't become a hit considering all the marketing and auto show hoopla that it had for nearly 3 years starting from the original Vision GST days. That said Mercedes won't drop the R, but they'll likely re-package it for 2007 with lower prices and more standard equipment and if that doesn't work they'll just have to make do. In the end it really won't matter as much as say if one of the E,C or S-Class lines were bombing upon introduction. The GL looks to be a hit and the M already is and there are signs that the R is becoming popular in Europe. MBUSI will just adjust production from the U.S. to other markets and then the GL will take up some more capacity. Not a dire situation, but a significant blow to Mercedes' SUV/Crossover effort for sure.

    M
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    No one is more bummed about this than me(ok, well maybe the executives at MB are...). I followed this thing from day one and read every email, poured over the video teasers, etc., etc. and then the INTRODUCTION and PRICING arrived in a preview email with a "This is for-your-eyes-only because you have been following the R from day one and you should get your order in before the rush" message.
    It's been downhill ever since for me and alot of it has to do with what I thought was coming and eventually what arrived. I was looking for this beautiful, almost private jet-like interior with a seemless,flowing and unobstructed panoramic roof and all the goodies that go with it, so much so that it could never be compared to a MINIVAN and when I put down the big cash for this vehicle I would truly be in a situation wherein I knew I purchased another vehicle that truly EXCITED me. The excitement never happened and the minivan/crossover/pacifica comparisons just killed it for me. There isn't anyone I know(besides you folk here) that would look at a new R in my driveway and not make the minivan comparison. It is nothing special in the eyes of the consumer.

    The funny thing is I would have paid the premium for what I thought the R was going to be. I will not pay the going rate for what the R eventually came to be and I feel duped by Mercedes for getting me all excited about something that has yet to be delivered, in my opinion. It really is sad.

    I know for those of you who have purchased one it seems to work for you and that is fantastic. I just wish it was that dreamy, sexy, and ultra-comfortable cruiser Mercedes promised me. At this pont the price needs to be in the Toyota Sienna XLE Limited price range of $42,000 loaded with absolutely every option available from NAVI to the full entertainment package. In my mind that is the only way this thing will sell WELL.

    True story(as much as I think I can make stuff up like this, I really can't...)- The woman who cuts my hair got a new Pacifica this past week and when I was in her shop yesterday she pointed out the window at it and said "that is the closest I will come to owning a Mercedes". I said what do you mean? She said "well, it's built on a Mercedes chassis". I didn't know what to say other than "That's nice".... :(
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I understand what you're saying and agree with most of it. What can they do to "fix" the current R is the question. I think that if the upcoming repackage (rumors so far) of options, new V8 and diesel models will help some. Autoweek has an article about the R and how MB got the marketing wrong and how the've dealt with it so far. It is must unusual for a new Benz to not sell well so I'm sure they're burning the midnight oil in Jersey trying to come up with a better way to present/market this thing. The looks and interior, which have put many off are pretty much a done deal until the re-design which won't be until at least 2011...seems like forever at the current rate.

    M
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    I get Autoweek, but have not seen this article until you posted it. This statement from Turner reflects my sentiments exactly:

    "In this market people expect Mercedes-Benz to be luxurious, sporty and just about anything that the R class isn't," Turner says. "It's too expensive for the styling statement that is has."

    Funny thing is most MB owners will pay more for a high-grade product and I was willing to pay considerably more for a unique and high-grade product. Unfortunately, lowering the price is not a fix for me at all and I equate this to like buying something at OVERSTOCK.COM.

    Thanks for that article link merc1!
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    Someone (or more) in marketing at MBUSA should be canned over the R-class screw up.

    I don't necessarily agree with Turner (or you Chirp) that the R is not luxurious. Maybe not CLS or S class standards, but it certainly is in line with many other MB products. I do agree that it is not sporty, per se, but what vehicles of this ilk are? Certainly not SUV's (Cayenne, SRX and possibly X3/5 excepted.) For a people hauler -- and I have no pretensions that it is other than that -- it certainly is the best drive and ride I have experienced.

    I guess I am the correct demographic for the R: two young kids and the need for hauling flexibility. And when the pricing came into line, I was and remain, happy with the value.

    Bottom line is that while I think MB could have done much better with the R in terms of content/pricing and marketing, I still think it is an exceptional vehicle.

    Sorry, Chirp, but my friends' Siennas just don't match it on the drive/ride side. Of course, that's just my opinion, and for many the price difference between the two is so significant that the differences are moot.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    I would agree with most everyone on this subject. But....
    I think the ride is MUCH better than anything else with a similar configuration. The people that have driven/ moved it in the driveway, whatever, have all been extremely impressed. I have been around MB for 8 years now so I am numbed to interior levels somewhat. Others have said that it has a beautiful interior and is roomy and comfortable (the wife loves it so I am 1 to the good). Just look at a 98 ML compared to an 06 to see how far it has evolved.

    I have a CLK350 and feel it is the bottom of the line, but I received a very positive complement on the looks yesterday. I certainly fit the demographic, two kids, extra car pool riders, traded a MB wagon, drive to the lake/beach,etc.
    I am still in love. MB has soooooo many models, and with multiple levels of engine choice, it is hard to think that MB is thinking they can corner the market with any one car. In fact, I believe it is just the opposite (something for everyone). That is why the sales comparisons are of little interest to me. Example: Others have how many sedan choices? MB has 15 4 door models.
    I know what goes into the production of an MB. I have removed rear seats to compare how they are made. Did you know that BMW does not clear coat their trunk jambs for example. Remove the rear seat and flip it over on similar models of different makes. All these items are seldom brought into consideration but add to value. Services are not covered by MB, but 65% of every MB ever produced is still on the road at last check.
    So, where do we go from here???
  • albellalbell Posts: 185
    Where do we go from here?

    Just enjoy the ride, baby! And the kibbitzing. ;)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Funny thing is most MB owners will pay more for a high-grade product and I was willing to pay considerably more for a unique and high-grade product. Unfortunately, lowering the price is not a fix for me at all and I equate this to like buying something at OVERSTOCK.COM.

    This is true because Mercedes has never had a problem with selling cars at high prices when the car was worth it. The new S is a good example of that. It costs more than the W220 did when it came out and is selling better than it did and back then it was both the S430 and S500 doing the selling.

    If Mercedes had just kept this R closer to the original concept in styling and interior design they wouldn't be able to produce enough of them. Ok the fancy doors and wheels would have to go in order to get to production, but that interior was stunning as was the first concept, the Vision GST. Seems they lost "sight" of that.

    That said I've seen a few loaded R500s in that Alpine Rain color with the AMG package and they look good to me. Its the base models with the little wheels that don't looks so hot, IMO. I still the R can be fixed, but it may have to soldier on until facelift time for a real fix concerning the interior, but the price/equipment problem can be fixed for 2007 if MB gets serious about making this thing sell without so much "help".

    M
  • chirpchirp Posts: 194
    I have seen, sat in, but not driven the new S. I think it is da bomb. Mercedes did everything right in my opinion and they should sell every one they can produce.

    Once again, my disappointment comes from just what you have said about sticking closer to the concept and what they kept feeding me all along. I don't mean to rag on any of you who have bought the R at all and I hope I'm not coming across that way. I'm 51 with a 15 year old and a 9 year old and I thought I was in this targeted demographic.

    Maybe I need to see an R63 to get excited. I just don't know... Sorry, guys.
  • wopelwopel Posts: 92
    I am with all those that feel duped by MB with the R. I had waited anxiously for the R to come out. I also read every, everything I could find. I was soooo hopeful. Then I saw it, drove it, was disappointed with so many aspects. Frankly, I need a car like the R, and if it had been the car I was waiting for, I'd have paid full dollar for it. At this point, they will have to pay me to buy it! I drive a 98 E320 wagon, and it's wonderful. I had a 300td before that. I'm not new to MB and my cars have been mostly trouble free. We also have 2002 E class that has had a few problems - none of which would stop me from buying another MB.
    What was MB thinking when they built the R? If they had certain people in mind, and I think I was one of them, why did they not ask us? They must read forums - if not they should.
    Thanks for letting me vent!
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