Scoop: Mercedes R-Class Offered in China with New Twin-Turbo 3-Liter V6

It was round about 2010 or so that Mercedes-Benz started to realize the R-Class was a bad idea. It was pulled from the US market in 2012, and we all presumed it was going to die then and there. But that's not the case, as the quirky crossover/minivan had a new lease of life in China.
Mercedes-Benz R-Class Long 6 photos
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz R-Class LongMercedes-Benz R-Class LongMercedes-Benz R-Class LongMercedes-Benz R-Class LongMercedes-Benz R-Class Long
Demand for the R-Class is so high there that Mercedes are keeping it in production for just one market, which is unheard of. But the amazing part is that they gave it new engines too.

We checked the official Mercedes-Benz China website and found that two powertrains are being offered. The base R 320 4Matic gets a 3-liter V6 rated at 272 PS and 400 Nm of torque (295 lb-ft). It takes 7.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h and affords a top speed of 240 km/h.

The next model is the R 400, which has the same 3-liter displacement, but provides 333 PS and 480 NM of torque (354 lb-ft). It's the exact same engine fitted to the C 400 and E 400 models, right down to the power band. We think the less powerful mill is also a turbo one that's been de-tuned and, as far as we know, isn't available anywhere else in the world.

So not only does the R-Class endure the test of time, but it has also been given a couple of new engines. By current standard, 333 PS from a V6 is not amazing, but for the R-Class, it's a godsend. In 2005, the R 500 needed a 5.5-liter V8 engine to produce about 380 horsepower while consuming about 30% more fuel.

Production of the R-Class crossover will be moved from Alabama to contract manufacturer AM General in Indiana starting this summer. China is the only market to which it is sold, but Mercedes decided to keep production in America because the supply chain is already in place.

Currently, demand for these two R-Class models reaches about 10,000 units per year and company officials have hinted it will be kept for another seven years. That would translate to a total longevity of 17 years, one of the longest of any Mercedes. This goes to show you that just because something is ugly it doesn't mean people somewhere in the world won't like… a bit like Grumpy Cat and Phteven, the dog.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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