Mercedes-Benz continues to upgrade its R-Class. Through the introduction of the new R 280 CDI 4MATIC und R 63 AMG 4MATIC models, which will become available this autumn, the touring SUV’s product range will be expanded to five engine variants. As a result, the output range of the six and eight-cylinder engines will extend from 140 kW/190 hp to 375 kW/510 hp.
Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz will equip the R-Class with additional driver-support systems that will ensure even more driving comfort. Besides innovations such as the radar-based DISTRONIC proximity control system, the comfort-enhancing systems will include actively ventilated front seats, the LINGUATRONIC voice control system and a rear-view camera for safe and easy parking. The R-Class’s high level of long-distance comfort, which makes a significant contribution to driver-fitness safety, is documented by scientific studies conducted by DaimlerChrysler Research. The driver’s stress level as measured on the basis of the heart rate is significantly lower in the R-Class than in other comparable vehicles.
True to its role as a trendsetter Mercedes-Benz has created a completely new vehicle concept with the R-Class that combines exemplary travelling comfort and a high level of variability with a large loading capacity (up to 2385 litres), a sophisticated design, and the extremely high level of safety typical of Mercedes . As such, the 4+2-seater fulfils the wishes of today’s drivers for a car that is ideal for the family, recreation, travel and work - in short, for every use imaginable. In addition, the touring SUV can also be delivered in two body variants, which differ in their wheelbase dimensions (2980 millimetres or 3215 millimetres) and their lengths (4922 of 5157 millimetres).
Starting in autumn 2006, the diesel engine range available for the R-Class will be extended by a further six-cylinder engine, also equipped with third-generation common-rail direct injection. Besides the R 320 CDI 4MATIC (165 kW/224 hp), Mercedes-Benz will also be offering the new R 280 CDI 4MATIC, which has an output of 140 kW/190 hp. As a result, the R-Class can achieve a top speed of 210 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in only 9.8 seconds due to its powerful torque of 440 Nm (from 1400 to 2800 rpm). Combined fuel consumption is 9.3 litres per 100 kilo-metres, so that the new R 280 CDI 4MATIC can travel for more than 850 kilometres on a tankful of fuel.
In addition, the V6 diesel engine features a high-pressure pump (1600 bar), piezo injectors, and a variable nozzle turbine (VNT) turbocharger - thus ensuring low emissions and smooth operation. Standard equipment in the R 280 CDI 4MATIC also includes two oxidation-type catalytic converters and a maintenance-free particulate filter.
The six-cylinder unit is teamed up with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, which the driver operates electronically by means of the DIRECT SELECT lever on the steering column. The R 280 CDI 4MATIC is available exclusively with a 2980 millimetre wheelbase.
New AMG model with an output of 375 kW/510 hp
At the upper end of the R-Class engine range will be the new R 63 AMG 4MATIC, a 6.3-litre eight-cylinder engine with an output of 375 kW/510 hp and the kind of driving performance typically found in a sports car. The AMG model can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in only 5.0 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. The standard equipment for the R 63 AMG 4MATIC includes high-grade extras such as electronically adjustable AMG sports seats in front with multicontour function, nappa leather and seat heating at the front plus light-alloy wheels with SIZE 265/45 R 20 wide tyres, an AMG sports chassis based on AIRMATIC air suspension, and blue-tinted glass.
Standard equipment includes all-wheel drive and air suspension on the rear axle
Permanent all-wheel drive, the electronically controlled 4ETS traction system and ESP® together provide top-class driving safety and keep the R-Class on course, even in poor road conditions. These systems all come as standard, as is the air suspension at the rear axle. Mercedes customers also have the option of AIRMATIC all-round air suspension for all model variants (as standard on the R 63 AMG).
The touring SUV also comes with adaptive, two-stage front airbags, front sidebags and large-size windowbags as standard. In addition, all seats are equipped with seat belt tensioners and belt force limiters. Other Mercedes innovations that are available as options are the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system and the crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints.
Flashing brake lights for preventing rear-end collisions
A new standard feature of the R-Class is brake lights that flash rapidly during emergency braking. Mercedes engineers developed this technology to provide drivers with more effective warning of impending rear-end collisions than was previously the case. Studies show that drivers’ braking reaction time can be shortened by up to 0.2 seconds on average if a conventional brake light is substituted by a flashing red warning light in emergency braking situations. This means the braking distance can be reduced by about 5.50 metres at 100 km/h. The adaptive brake light flashes about four times as fast as a warning light.
DISTRONIC and other support systems for reducing driver stress
In the future, the R-Class will be equipped with even more cutting-edge technology for enhancing driving comfort. In order to provide drivers with effective support, Mercedes will be installing assistance systems from luxury-segment cars into the touring SUV. The most important of these systems is DISTRONIC proximity control, which uses state-of-the-art radar technology and fast computers to calculate the distance to the vehicle in front and keep the R-Class at a safe distance in line with the car’s speed. If the distance should shrink, DISTRONIC automatically reduces the flow of fuel or activates the brakes. As a result, this technology substantially reduces driver stress.
Another optional feature for the R-Class is the LINGUATRONIC operating system, which enables voice-control operation of the car phone, audio system and navigation system. LINGUATRONIC was invented by Mercedes and is not only extremely easy to operate but also helps boost road safety. This is because motorists can remain fully focused on the traffic situation, as they do not have to take their hands from the steering wheel in order to operate any of the associated systems.
To assist drivers when parking or reversing, the car comes with a newly developed camera that helps enhance safety and convenience. The camera is located on the tailgate handle strip, where it automatically switches on as soon as the driver selects reverse gear. The camera image appears in the COMAND display.
Also new as optional features of the touring SUV are the actively ventilated luxury seats for the driver and front passenger. These seats are equipped with five fans which take in cool air from the floor level and distribute it evenly over the seat cushion and the backrest. This mild stream of air helps cool off seat areas that have been warmed by the sun more quickly so that car occupants don’t perspire even at high external temperatures. As an option, motorists can improve the interior temperature even more with infrared-reflective laminated glass, which not only filters out the ultraviolet rays of the sun but also reflects the infrared light in the solar spectrum that heats up the passenger compartment.
Further new extras for the R-Class include a remote-controlled auxiliary heater and an electric steering wheel heating system. Motorists can set two different sensitivity levels for the car’s standard-fitted rain sensor.
In the future, the sports package will be separately deliverable for the interior or the exterior. The interior sports package encompasses a number of features, including electrically adjustable sports seats in front with an Alcantara/ARTICO man-made leather upholstery combination, a sports instrument cluster, sports pedals, and aluminium trim parts. In combination with the interior sports package, the trim is also available with anthracite-coloured poplar as an option. For the exterior Mercedes-Benz has put together a sports package consisting of chrome trim, a sterling silver and chrome radiator grille, tail lights in a dark sporty design, blue-tinted heat-insulating glass all round, and 19-inch sports wheels with 255/50 R 19 tyres.
Highest levels of driver-fitness safety in this vehicle category
Long-distance testing by DaimlerChrysler Research involving 15 motorists have shown that the physical and mental strain on a driver on long journeys in the R-Class is lower than in other cars in this class of vehicle. The car’s spacious design and all the comfort-enhancing engineering in this touring SUV help to take the load off the occupants , preventing stress and therefore having a positive effect of the driver’s fitness and alertness.
This means that comfort is not just all about a person’s feeling of wellbeing, it is also a safety factor. The driver is therefore better able to concentrate on the traffic situation and conserve his or her performance resources, and can then react safely and confidently in critical situations.
During the practical testing on the route from Berlin to Leipzig to Dresden and back to Berlin scientists recorded the drivers’ heart rates as a typical stress indicator, and conducted additional online surveys on the participants’ feeling of wellbeing. Detailed interviews before and after interviews before and after each of the five-hour drives rounded the test programme off.
Under identical driving and traffic conditions the drivers’ average heart rate for the entire distance was 81.9 beats per minute in the R-Class, and was up to 1.6 beats per minute lower – depending on the section concerned – than the figure measured in the other vehicles used for comparison. In the opinion of the experts, that is a clear indication of the high stress-relieving comfort provided by the Mercedes model. Moreover, the long-distance test also revealed that drivers in the R-Class felt most comfortable in the R-Class on a subjective level, too.
Driver-fitness safety is an important part of the all-embracing safety concept of Mercedes-Benz. As sub-area of Active Safety it concentrates on the medical and psychological aspects of driving and in this way makes a valuable contribution to accident prevention. Together with DaimlerChrysler Research, Mercedes-Benz has been conducting practical tests on driver-fitness safety for 25 years. No other motor vehicle brand devotes so much attention to this area of automotive development. The R-Class has benefited from the vast experience that researchers and development engineers have gained in this field.