2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Benz Gives its Crossover a Nosejob

Ever since its debut as a 2005 model year vehicle, the Mercedes R-Class has been one of Stuttgart's most controversial -- and questionably styled -- vehicles. Now with the 2011 R-Class, Mercedes is looking to change perceptions and jumpstart sales of the updated crossover, which is bowing at the 2010 New York show.

The 2011 R-Class range has been treated to a substantial facelift. Every inch of sheet metal forward of the A-pillars -- including the hood, fenders, grille, and bumper -- is completely new.

2011 Mercedes Benz R Class Side Click to view Gallery Using the recently updated GL-Class SUV as inspiration, designers abandoned the narrow nose of the original R in favor of a long, broad hood, which flows into a wide grille opening. Ovoid headlamps are abandoned in favor of rectangular lenses that flow into the curved fenders. LED running lamps -- one staple of the revamped GL -- lurk in the lower bumper openings in lieu of fog lamps. 17-inch, five-spoke aluminum wheels are standard, although a new sport appearance package adds AMG-designed 19-inch rims, along with smoked tail light lenses.

Interior revisions, however, are slightly less extensive. For the most part, the R-Class's cabin is left untouched, although it is now available with either a beige-on-brown or gray-on-black two-tone scheme. Six-passenger seating remains standard, although a 7-passenger arrangement, which replaces the second row of buckets with a split bench seat, is optional.

2011 Mercedes Benz R Class Rear Three Quarter Click to view Gallery For North America, the R-Class remains a two-model lineup. The 2011 R350 continues to utilize Mercedes-Benz's 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6. Diesel fans will likely want to spring for the R350 Bluetec, which uses the same 215 horsepower, 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 as the ML350 Bluetec and GL350 Bluetec. Both the gasoline and diesel engines are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which channels power to all four wheels via Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system.

Option packages and pricing for both 2011 R-class models are expected to remain similar to the 2010 model. Expect the revised 2011 R to roll off Mercedes-Benz's assembly line in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the next few months.

promo image 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Photo Gallery
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