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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
In diesel dress, the epic 400 lb-ft of torque makes up for any horsepower shortcoming, and the crossover easily builds speed as a result.
Throttle response is languid, and the hills of northern Westchester County often had the transmission calling for more than one downshift to maintain speed.
For as long and as heavy as it is, the R-Class is a solid handler.
the highly refined oil-burner makes a strong case for consideration by anyone more interested in long-distance running
Kelley Blue Book
R-Class acts more like a station wagon than an SUV. The steering is impressively linear and accurate, though some drivers may prefer a weightier feel.
At 5,000-pounds-plus, the R-Class simply isn't all that exciting to drive, but it handles in a secure manner, with less pitching than taller or shorter SUVs, and performs well.
The steering is probably the low point of the experience; it has no real feel of the road and an unnecessarily hefty sensation at parking speeds, though especially in gasoline versions it’s weighted nicely for highway ramps and back-road corners.The 2012 Mercedes-Benz R-Class comes in two different models, each with its own powertrain. The R350 comes with a new 302-horsepower, direct-injected V-6 gasoline engine, while a 210-hp, 3.2-liter turbo-diesel V-6 is carried over in the R350 Bluetec.
Even though the new R350 Bluetec feels considerably stronger than before--and somewhat better on gas--we think that the Bluetec model is the way to go unless you detest diesels. The engine in the Bluetec model is clean and economical, with only a little diesel clatter when starting out. Plus, it has a strong, relaxed feel, and because of its 400 pound-feet of torque, it's not at all flustered by hills or full loads.In either case, the seven-speed automatic transmission churns through the gears smoothly, and 4Matic all-wheel drive provides all-weather reassurance. As we hinted above, the transmission needs to do a little more work with the gasoline engine, but it's up to the task.
The R-Class performs well in either guise, but we love the strong, relaxed demeanor of the Bluetec diesel.