From £43,330
It's fast, refined and luxurious, sure, but the R 63's definitely no sports car in MPV clothing

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz R-Class 2006-2012
The R-Class sounds like a jack of all trades; it's certainly the master of none

The Mercedes R-Class is "a wholly new motoring experience" according to its maker. But is it?

  • First Drive

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  • First Drive

    Mercedes R 280 CDI

    Cheaper entry-level R-class strengthens the big MPVs hand, but it's still a tricky car to understand

What’s new?

The inevitable conclusion of Mercedes’ every-engine-in-everything product planning – meet the improbable union of the vaguely MPV-ish R-class and AMG's 6.3-litre V8 motor. The result is the fastest six-seater in the world, performance constrained only by a 155 mph electronic speed limiter. The £74,115 price tag and 17.3mpg combined fuel economy are slightly less amusing.

What’s it like?

Better than expected, to be honest. The engine is very much the star of the R 63’s show – this is one of the world’s great powerplants - and the massive, linear performance is channelled through to the road surface very effectively by the R-class' four-wheel-drive chassis.

Autobahn cruising speeds are alarmingly easy to attain and, thanks to excellent cabin insulation, few cars feel more composed at mega-velocities. Off motorways and straight A-roads though, the R 63 suffers with roll-prone handling and lurid understeer in the wet. But then you knew you were going to read that somewhere in this review.

Should I buy one?

If you’re a millionaire with four kids, a second home in Geneva and a real life get-out-of-jail-free card for the French Gendarmerie, then it’s worthy of serious consideration. Otherwise, it's hard to rationalise how this car is really any more effective as a sports car than any other R-class in the range. In anything other than a very fast, very straight line, that is.

Mike Duff

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