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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.
by R. Feeman
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