The R-Class has had a rough life. Not only did it suffer from odd, disproportionate styling, but Mercedes-Benz never really marketed the vehicle the way that it should have, choosing to position it as a "sports tourer," rather than the obvious upscale family hauler that it is. Dismal sales ensued. Makes sense, then, that the 2011 R-Class benefits from a slightly more comprehensive overhaul than the standard mid-cycle refresh usually entails.
Right away, we must say that the R-Class's new schnoz is a giant leap forward from drooping proboscis of the outgoing car. New, more chiseled headlamps accent a larger, more upright grille and a less angular hood. The revised lower fascia features the automaker's new quad foglight design – something we've already seen on the E- and GL-Class. Not much has been changed out back, save the standard mid-cycle enhancements (revised taillights and a tweaked bumper).
Interior changes are minimal, which is fine, since we've never really had a problem with the sports tourer people mover's cabin. Look for the typical array of Mercedes-Benz technology features, as well as a new AMG sport interior, which includes different seats, a better steering wheel with shift paddles, a new lighting package, and stainless steel pedals. As for powertrains, we expect the standard V6 engines – both petrol and diesel – to be offered. Us? We're secretly crossing our fingers for the return of the R63 AMG.