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).