It appears like a frog scared to death, said a reader of a German magazine on the new
Mercedes R-class. But the crossover model isn't designed neither to meet European
demands nor likings. The German press didn't spot any real advantage of its concept.
Mercedes say it combines the best of an SUV, a van and a wagon, however the journalists
are of the opinion that the R-class is not good enough to be a replacement for any of
Altogether it seems there is just one aspect that adds a right to exist to the R-class in
Europe: Representing. As people here assume that those who
ride SUVs in towns will hardly leave the tarmac, their drivers are suspected to show off with
their big cars. The R-class, on the other hand, is more roomy and versatile than an SUV which
could increase the acceptance of an urban use of a car of its size. Nonetheless, in Europe
ordering the big crossover Benz will be very much a matter of lifestyle and fashion in most
cases, not of practical reasons.
Sales apparently don't meet Mercedes' expectations, not even in the USA. Rumours say that
Stuttgart are already contemplating some measures to make the car more attractive. A rear wheel
driven option and a seat bench in the second row - instead of two chairs - could make the crossover
car cheaper and more practical. One
problem remains: The look of it. Especially its front. It's good that Mercedes gave up on the
round double headlights but the R-class' solution seems to be a bad substitute just as the car is
a useless substitute for any other type of vehicle.
Yes, the R in Stuttgart's line-up is debatable. At least in the old world. It appears to be a car that
no one needs. But who needs a DB9 or a 911?! On the other hand, the short version is almost as big as a van and
it's just a four-seater! What the hell is that good for? Just for fun? The sub
title Sports Tourer might suggest this, but there's nothing with the R-class that convinces us of
extra enjoyment. It's neither
fish nor fowl nor nice. Anyway, the headline 'Fashion Victom' in fast-zi-nation remains
reserved however the R-class is damn close to that.