Throwback Thursday: Mercedes-Benz R-Class, What Went Wrong?
Our throwback Thursday will be special today as we will be delving into a lost and forgotten vehicle. As the vehicle was made so it disappeared and no one wants to speak of it again. That vehicle is the Mercedes-Benz R-Class minivan whose popularity died just after a few years.
We all know that there was a minivan made by Mercedes-Benz called the V-Class back in the day but it was considered too large and almost commercial in nature and was looking more like a bus than an MPV. This made Mercedes-Benz create something different as they were banking on the success of the A-Class and B-Class minivan.
Now enter the R-Class, a minivan/crossover/wagon (can’t categorise it) came on board in an already saturated market. No doubt the R-Class was a super-powerful vehicle and among if not the only minivan to have two V8 engines. Aside from the regular R350 that uses the 3.5 v6, it came with a 5.0 v8 and an AMG variant R63 with a 6.2 v8 with 503hp. No minivan has or will ever have that amount of power but Benz outdid themselves. The interior as all Mercedes-Benz is top-notch and loaded with all amenities coupled with very comfortable seats.
The question on everybody lips is how did it become discontinued? Now for starters, the price of the R-Class was ridiculous in comparison to what Toyota and Honda were offering. Yes, it is a Mercedes-Benz but will folks cash out that much? It had a decent run in sales when it 1st came out but by 2016 in Europe, only 3 were sold and the US sold just 4 in 2015. The mildly restyled model didn’t help at all. It also suffered identity crises as buyers and enthusiast could not place it (is it a minivan, a wagon or crossover). The rise of the crossover SUV put the nail the coffin and it was finally discontinued.
Was the R-Class a good minivan? Do you know anybody that owns one? Tell us in the comment section below.
May 15, 2020 at 18:08
I own an R63 AMG. I bought it to replace my Mercedes E320 wagon. The R Class has more seating, and when all the seats are folded down you have a larger flat space for hauling “stuff”. And when you push the gas pedal to the floor, you have an experience that no other minivan can offer! I love my R63.