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by Tim Beissmann

Mercedes-Benz Australia has today launched the refreshed 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class, with a sharper front end and interior enhancements among the key changes.

The new model does away with the bulbous front headlights and awkward separate triangular lights near the grille, replacing them with a fully integrated, rectangular bi-xenon setup similar to the larger ML-Class.

The new grille is cleaner and more pronounced, while the squared-off theme continues to the lower air intake and the side cutouts, which house stylish strips of LED running lights.

The rear also benefits from a minor touch-up, with a new bumper, modified taillights, a diffuser and integrated tailpipe trim. The rear lights feature LEDs as well as fibre optic technology.

Versatility remains a strong point of the interior, with the three rows of seats able to be arranged in 2-3-2, 2-2-2, 2-3-0 or 2-2-0 configuration. Maximum storage capacity is a generous 1950 litres, and the automatic Easy Pack tailgate – operated by key or switch – makes filling it less fuss.

Eight airbags come standard, as do crash-responsive Neck-Pro head restraints, adaptive brake lights and a tyre pressure warning system.

The Comand Aps onboard system incorporates a high-resolution 16.5cm colour display, reversing camera, HDD satellite navigation, 4GB memory for MP3 files, SD card slot, DVD player and a 6-disc CD changer. All functions can be controlled by Mercedes’ Linguatronic voice activation.

Other standard features include 20in five-spoke alloys, blue-tinted thermal insulation glass and dark tint from behind the B-pillar, Burr Walnut wood trim and metallic paint.

The 140kW/440Nm 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine is carried over from the previous model, and is teamed with the latest generation of Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission.

Combined cycle fuel consumption is 9.3 litres/100km and CO2 emissions average to 246g/km. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 9.8 seconds, and the R-Class will pull all the way up to 210km/h.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz R-Class will continue to be offered in only one guise – R 300 CDI Short Wheel Base – and the price is unchanged from the old model at $92,200 (including GST and LCT, excluding on-road costs).




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