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2008 Mercedes-Benz R-Class Overview
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The Mercedes-Benz R-Class crossover SUV receives a number of styling updates for 2008, thanks to AMG, Mercedes' in-house high-performance tuner. All R-Class trims also receive 18-inch wheels for 2008. In addition, the automaker debuts an entry-level R350 rear-wheel-drive R-Class trim, providing an option for drivers who don't require a vehicle with full-time all-wheel drive. Finally, Mercedes drops the high-performance R500 and R63 AMG trims from the lineup.
The four-door R-Class "grand sport tourer," as Mercedes calls it, combines the ride and handling of a sport sedan with the functionality of an SUV. It rides on the same platform as the M-Class, although the R-Class features a much more streamlined, swept-back design than a typical SUV. The R-Class can seat up to six passengers (seven with an optional seat), and offers up to 85 cubic feet of storage space with the second- and third-row seats folded down. Owners can access the rear cargo compartment via a top-hinged tailgate.
In addition to the new R350 trim, the R-Class lineup for 2008 includes the R350 4MATIC, which comes equipped with Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, and the diesel-powered R320 CDI 4MATIC, also equipped with all-wheel drive. The AMG styling bodykit, added to all R-Class trims for 2008, includes a unique front fascia and sporty side skirts, among other features. Other standard exterior features include halogen headlights, front foglights, heated side mirrors, and dual chrome exhaust tips.
A 3.5-liter, double-overhead-cam V6 engine producing 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque powers the R350 and R350 4MATIC trims. The V6 features continually variable timing, which helps improve responsiveness and acceleration, according to Mercedes. The R320 CDI retains its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine, which generates 215 hp and 298 lb-ft of torque. Due to emissions regulations, the R320 CDI is not offered for sale in certain states, including California, New York, and New Jersey. In all trims, the engines link to a seven-speed automatic transmission with the manual-shift Touch Shift feature.
Inside, standard features include MB-Tex upholstery, wood trim, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, and a multifunction steering wheel. Electronic cruise control, Mercedes' COMAND (Cockpit Management and Date) entertainment and information system, and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, MP3 input jack, and speed-sensitive volume control also come standard. Safety features include side-curtain impact airbags, electronic stability control, and traction control. Options include an Airmatic Semi-Active Air Suspension system, which automatically adjusts ride height and offers four driver-selectable suspension modes.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.
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