Mercedes-Benz R-Class R350 - Design Review
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Design Review of Mercedes-Benz R-Class R350
Last Updated at 11:33 am, May 20, 2013Rating :
Is it a car... Is it a van... Is it both?
Photography: Eshan Shetty
An early morning pop quiz! What’s more spacious than a big Mercedes Benz? Well, an even bigger Merc. Mercedes has recently introduced the R-Class in India. They claim it is the world’s smallest kingdome, obviously on wheels, and is the most spacious car they’ve ever built. Time then, to revel in the luxuries of the new R-class. And this time around, I even have a chauffeur so I get to enjoy more of its backseat.
The R-Class isn’t to be confused with the Mrcedes Viano van that was available in the country long time ago. In fact it is a completely different product line – more car-like than a van. It was primarily meant for the American market, but with almost all its models available in the country, Mercedes has brought the R-Class to India. At first sight, this looks like the most unlikely Merc for India as it remains an MPV at the heart. But then we Indians were never subjected to an MPV six times the price of a regular Toyota Innova and the R-class could be what (rich) Indian families were waiting for.
As you would expect from it, the three-pointed star on the front grille gives the R-class presence and guarantees attention by bucket loads. The car is huge in all respects but thanks to contemporary styling, it has a very dynamic profile.
The best part about the R-Class’s frontend is the pronounced bonnet which is not like the sloppy units we’re used to seeing on MUVs. The R-Class received an update for 2011 and now gets an e-Class inspired arrow-like front end. The eye-shaped headlamps look very stylish and stare you right in the eye. Then there is the big Mercedes grille, which is now finished in glossy black and chrome. The bold grille adds bulk to the front while the bumper with its large air dam and a skid plate underneath adds a bit of ruggedness. Thin strips of LEDs for daytime driving lights add sophistication to the design.
There is no hiding the bulk of the car when viewed from the side. The doors are large, especially the rear ones and have been made so to allow easy ingress and egress even for the third row. A slanting, prominent waistline adds some drama to the side profile. Chunky 18-inch multispoke alloys accentuate the looks even more.
The car has a nicely sloping roofline that goes really low at the back. This, and the sharp rakish quarter panel window at the rear do their best in hiding the big van that the R-Class actually is. In fact, it looks like a big shooting brake. Apart from that the petal shaped tail lamps add a touch of style but look very feminine. The nicely designed slim, chromed exhaust tips look hot.
To sum it up, the R-class is a distinctive looking MPV with a hint of sportiness and elegance at places. The core of the matter still remains the three pointed star that will earn you respect wherever you arrive in it.
First Published on 02:44 pm, July 15, 2011