8 October 2003

Mercedes-Benz’s new R-Class crossover will remain true to the concept car, as revealed by this first official sketch of the production version.

The estate/SUV hybrid, due to hit showrooms in Summer 2005 dumps the usual MPV five- or seven-seat layout in favour of a six-seat cabin.

The R-Class is based on the next-generation ML off-roader and will make use of its electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system and 7G seven-speed auto.

The sketch pictured here shows a design almost unchanged from the Detroit 2002 GST concept (pictured right), although the rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors and panoramic glass roof are gone, and the sweeping line that cuts down to a wide D-pillar is replaced by a more conventional design.

Production cars will echo the concept’s heavy focus on technology and Mercedes claims the R-Class will offer ‘highly intelligent engineering, which will be able to actively contribute towards preventing accidents’.

A range of six- and eight-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are confirmed, and Mercedes will offer two different wheelbases. The stretched version may be reserved for the American market, although even the shorter European version still measures five metres long.

Following a £387 million investment by Daimler- Chrysler, around 60,000 R-Class models a year will be built alongside the ML at Merc’s factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?