Sure, the Mercedes R Class looks like an ML on which another ML fell over and got slightly flattened, but the story doesn’t end there. For a long time, the Mercedes R Class sat up high in the tree as the only luxury MPV on the market. But did we need it?

Launched in 2006, the Mercedes R Class was built specifically for the American market because minivans really are popular there. So there was bread to eat and money to be made and the Germans thought they’d launch their own minivan in which the americans could fit into.


They quickly searched through the partsbins and decided – they used the ML and GL platform and created a minivan that’s basically a flattened GL. Did it sell? Until 2008 it sold about as well as the Germans expected, but in 2008 the crisis came and the R Class was just another opulent car that the crisis swept away. First of all, it’s an ugly car and at that sort of money you’re better off getting an ML or an S (GL only if you insist on 7 seats), and thirdly it’s a minivan and if you have a family and small children, you’re definitely not going to indulge them in an expensive minivan full of leather and wood and any other expensive surface that kids dirty up with their muddy sneakers from the puddle they ran on.

So why buy an R Class?

Because it’s one of the most comfortable cars on the market today, second-hand at least. Sure, it looks like Jeremy Clarkson, but it’s a damn comfortable car. Half or full leather seats, automatic transmission as standard, optional air suspension, 4×4 system standard, individual and/or massage seats if you want, basically it’s a more stable S Class for the simple fact that it’s longer. You just have to pour some cyanide in your eyes to stop seeing it. And even if you’re blinded, the car has enough assistance systems that it can drive without your assistance.



Mercedes R Class Engines


  • 3.5 V6 of 272 and 306 horsepower – The 272 horsepower is the famous M272 which has a rocker shaft issue and is to be avoided altogether because the repair will cost you about half the value of the car, so I recommend the 306 horsepower M276 version because that’s where the issue is solved.
  • 5.0 V8 of 306 horsepower – We start with the V8 engines because of course a minivan built for the US should come with a 5.0 V8 petrol and 306 horsepower.
  • 5.5 V8 of 386-horsepower – Or a 386-horsepower 5.5 V8 because why not. I’ve paired them together because they’re actually the same M273 just different sizes. Just like the rocker shaft issue is common with the M272 but at a smaller size. 
  • 6.2 V8 of 510 horsepower – At its time of writing this…thing, the R63 AMG was the rarest car Mercedes ever built. I didn’t necessarily understand why you’d order something like that but there were a few, and I’m not talking about maintenance because if you can afford it anyway, maintenance or money, in general, is irrelevant.



3.0 V6 with 211, 224, 258, and 265 horsepower – The most logical and common engine on the Mercedes R Class, this is the standard engine on all Mercedes barges and it’s good in its own right, too bad it breathes. Or at least it’s a shame it breathes in town because it will dynamite more than Coolio’s career. Yes, you have issues with the famous injector seals wearing out and spewing oil all over your engine. And the oil cooler which sits between the V. And you also have AdBlue on the BlueTec versions. So keep this engine out of town like we have to keep women away from Joe Pugliese. By the way, Joe Pugliese gave up smoking after sex because he had reached 3 packs a day.



Mercedes R Class General Issues

  • The main issue with the R Class is the maintenance. It has depreciated a lot, people found out it’s actually a flat ML and suddenly it was bought by people who could only afford to buy it, not maintain it. And just like that, many have driven them up to the first costly repair, and then sold them off. And it’s an expensive car to maintain.
  • Just like it is with a heavy car so it will have an appetite for tires and brakes just like Vinnie Jones has an appetite for punches thrown at players’ faces and Jeff Bezos has an appetite for other women except for his woman.
  • Good luck driving one of those around town because the Mercedes R Class must be or was their biggest car, even bigger than the GL bus. Mercedes R Class – a garage on wheels and I’m not exaggerating. In fact, an R Class in the Long version is 10.2 square meters or the equivalent of 2 rooms in our beloved England flats.



Mercedes R Class Verdict

It’s an obscure and damn comfortable car. You just have to be careful you don’t fall into the trap that many others have. It’s a cheap car to buy, but very expensive to maintain because it’s essentially a flattened ML. Is it worth buying one? Well considering it’s identical to the ML underneath and even inside, but costs 30% less, absolutely. Just be careful of the maintenance costs.




What engines do you recommend?

For petrol clearly M276-the 306 horsepower 3.5 V6 and for diesel probably the 224 horsepower 3.0 CDI although all are good except the BlueTec one. That one is bad.