what is that car good for...? (The R-class is the most debatable vehicle from Mercedes-Benz since the S-class of the 1990s)

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a fashion item: Brabus
show their R-class

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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 them.

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.

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